Harvey Milk was a visionary civil and human rights leader who became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977.
Milk’s unprecedented loud and unapologetic proclamation of his authenticity as an openly gay candidate for public office, and his subsequent election gave never before experienced hope to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people everywhere at a time when the community was encountering widespread hostility and discrimination.
His remarkable career was tragically cut short when he was assassinated nearly a year after taking office.
While in office, Milk was responsible for passing a stringent gay rights ordinance for San Francisco. Milk also tackled other issues such as child care, housing, and a civilian police review board. The Harvey Milk Foundation notes:
Harvey Milk in Board of Supervisors chambers in City Hall at the budget hearings openings, 1978.
Prepare a 4–5-minute presentation that includes a summary of Harvey Milk’s accomplishments, specific types of civic engagement mentioned in the handout, and the impact he had on democracy in the United States.
Also, share your thoughts on whether you think Harvey Milk and/or two other civically engaged Americans of your choosing should be included in all U.S. high school history textbooks.
LGBTQ—abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning
Presidential Medal of Freedom—the U.S.’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors
“Harvey Milk Biography,” Biography.com, https://www.biography.com/people/harvey-milk-9408170 [31 July 2020].
“Harvey Milk Day Annual Event,” Our Center, http://www.ourcenterreno.org/harvey-milk-day-annual-event/ [31 July 2020].