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    The Day That I Became a Supporter of Harvey Milk

    By Roma Guy–

    It’s always special when someone who represents the best of a movement remains alive in us. Harvey Milk exemplifies such a remarkable individual.

    When I think of him now, both his dynamic personality and visionary leadership come to mind. What few people mention is that Harvey had a grand sense of humor, which surfaced in everything from headline-grabbing stunts against dog poop in public parks to tired campaign volunteers. 

    “Let me show you the holes in my second-hand shoes. I’m a Muni rider, so I walk a lot,” he teased us one day while sitting on the steps of his front stoop.

    I was not among his earliest of supporters, but was urged to do so by Gwenn Craig, Cleve Jones, Anne Kronenberg and others.

    I became a supporter the day that I attended one of Harvey’s first campaign rallies when he spoke loudly and insightfully about how our claim to our “gayness” was the way to build our collective gay rights and to gain the heart and soul of allies.

    His political openness to invite lesbian icon Sally Gearhart to debate Briggs in 1978 [California Proposition 6, known as the Briggs Initiative] was a big deal for activist lesbians. He claimed that our vision and success among ourselves was the path to fight for our right to be an integral part of the larger civil rights movement of the day, and that we needed to be there, “out” and out-standing advocates for “housing, the elderly and the poorest among us.”

    From that day on, I was in with Harvey, with every bone in my body.

    Harvey Milk remains one of our singular community movement building architects who continues to inspire us today in the broader civil and human rights movements.

    Renowned civil rights activist Roma Guy co-founded the San Francisco Women’s Building, San Francisco Women Against Rape, The Women’s Foundation and La Casa de las Madres. From 1996–2008, she served on the San Francisco Health Commission. She was appointed Co-Chair, along with the Director of Public Health and Sheriff, to the City/County and Community Jail Replacement Project 2016–2017, to develop alternative recommendations to incarceration, and she continues to work on this and other multicultural social justice issues.