HRC Co-Opts Harvey's Camera Shop
(Milk's ashes, in a box wrapped with daily comics that he loved. Credit: Daniel Nicoletta.)
Did you know that gay icon Harvey Milk was cremated, and his ashes dispersed according to his wishes? Well, those ashes are revolting in disgust at the news from Washington today that the incompetent and wasteful Human Rights Campaign is taking over the lease of his former camera shop on San Francisco's Castro Street.
This latest perversion of genuine grassroots activism by the over-paid executives at HRC should upset anyone concerned with gay history and how it used by the group for Democratic Party purposes.
Harvey, who was known for engaging the community with public forums, such as his debates with John Briggs to defeat Prop 6, who also had no hefty price to be paid or velvet rope to jump over before anyone could enter his camera shop/community center, would be critical of HRC's elitism.
In taking over the lease of Harvey's old shop, HRC is showing us again how desperate they are to develop some bona fide grassroots credibility, by moving half a block in the Castro from their current "action center's" location. That move will not transform HRC into an effective advocate for the gays.
That center, BTW, has never been the site for an open forum or series of meetings by HRC's San Francisco local organizing committee. It's just a gift store outlet whose sole purpose is to take local gay dollars and ship them to DC, to pay for HRC's headquarters and robust executive salaries.
HRC co-opting Harvey and his old store is a shameful act, but what else is news under the gay sun?
(Trans and accountability activists protested at HRC's clothing outlet in San Francisco in July 2008. Credit: Petrelis Files.)