This past week was Harvey Milk Day. Milk was an amazing man, a flawed hero, a great gift and a significant loss. I wrote this short piece last November in his honor.
He was just another Lithuanian-American
Jewish boy who played football and joined the navy
a straight-laced actuary who loved the opera
and kept private matters private.
But then came San Francisco.
He said, “I finally reached the point
when I had to become involved or shut up.”
On Castro Street he flowered
turning to his neighborhood
unflinching in his call for civil rights
Ten months a Supervisor, till his
shocking death, November 27, 1978.
He said, “If a bullet should enter my brain,
let that bullet destroy every closet door.”
After the trial, the White Nights
the riots and the beatings
they laid his ashes to rest
beneath the sidewalk at 575 Castro.
He was my age, more or less.