Friday, May 23, 2008

Harvey Milk Bust Unveiled at SF City Hall
Yesterday, May 22, was Harvey Milk's 78th birthday and the slain gay rights leader and politician was honored at City Hall with the unveiling of his bust in the rotunda on the second floor, right outside the Board of Supervisors' chambers. One man was behind the creation of the bust and its placement in the seat of local government: Danny Nicoletta, gay hero. A close friend of Harvey's, Danny received many well-deserved accolades last night.

Over all, I have to say the ceremony and party for the unveiling couldn't have been finer. Lots of people in attendance, all in a jovial mood, rainbow flags and balloons hanging from the balconies, the proceedings displayed on two large screens so everyone could see what was happening, short speeches by politicians, warm love from the audience directed at Harvey's friends and colleagues, and a genuine spirit of family embracing City Hall.

With so much love and happiness throughout the evening, I'm hard-pressed to pick one incident that really made me smile and optimistic for American gays, but I'll settle on a single action. It was when about ten gay youths marched up the grand staircase, encircled the covered bust, and with a horde of photographers and people wielding digital cams recording their movements, slowly pulled the blue drape off the bust of Harvey.

Ah, the pivotal moment we'd all been waiting for, and instead of the politicians or movement veterans doing the honors, the task was given to gay youths, and the future.

Let's have a look at my photos from last night.

Stuart Milk, Harvey's openly gay nephew, waiting for the show to start.

The crowd to the left of the grand staircase.

Directly in front of the staircase, the crowd listening to speeches.

Supervisor Bevan Dufty, Mayor Gavin Newsom, Assemblyman Mark Leno (soon to be state senator), Supervisor Tom Ammiano, after making their remarks.

Friends and colleagues of Harvey basking in the crowd's adoration.

Hank Wilson, a friend of Harvey's, smiles for the camera.

Lesbian writer Jewelle Gomez, left, and tranny HIV advocate Cecilia, right, keeping the show running smoothly as mistresses of the ceremony.

Joey Cain, in polka dots, community organizer, and Danny Nicoletta, wearing a gardenia, sharing a laugh.

View from the top of the stairs, packed full with community members and the gay chorus.

The bust, moments before the drape was removed.

After unveiling the statue, gay youths gather around it.

No comments: