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    Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza to Host Community Event in the Castro in Support of the Memorial at Harvey Milk Plaza

    On Thursday, January 25, 2024, from 6–8 pm, the Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza (FHMP) will be hosting a gathering at the historic Harvey’s restaurant space in the Castro neighborhood (500 Castro Street) for the community to come together and learn how they can help support the Memorial at Harvey Milk Plaza project. The event is free to the public and will include beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages, and light food. 

    FHMP contingent at the San Francisco Pride Parade
    Photo: Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza

    The community event will be hosted by noted activist Cleve Jones, along with legendary drag queens Juanita MORE!, Sister Roma, Honey Mahogany, and San Francisco’s inaugural Drag Laureate D’Arcy Drollinger. Special guests will also include San Francisco State Senator Scott Wiener, State Assemblymember Matt Haney, and District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman

    “We are so excited to bring the whole neighborhood together in support of this very important project celebrating Harvey, his legacy, and the history of the LGBTQ movement right here in the heart of the Castro,” Taylor Jordan, Co-Chair of Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza, told the San Francisco Bay Times. Fellow Co-Chair Andrea Aiello added, “The Castro and Harvey Milk mean so much to so many LGBTQ people across the globe. His message of giving others ‘hope’ is so important. It’s great to see all of this support for the memorial coming from the community.”

    FHMP at the Castro Street Fair
    Photo: Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza

    FHMP was formed in 2016, in response to San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) plans to install an elevator in the culturally sensitive Harvey Milk Plaza. FHMP was aware of the conversation about changes to the plaza that had been ongoing for over 25 years and sought greater community involvement in the redesign effort.

    “From the very beginning, Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza has understood that this project belongs to the community, and we have worked hard to create opportunities to involve community members in the planning for the new Harvey Milk Plaza,” said Brian Springfield, Executive Director of FHMP. “On January 25, we plan to celebrate with the community what we have already accomplished together, and to launch this new phase of community involvement, which is advocating for smart investment in this world-class civic space at Castro & Market that will lift up our struggling small businesses, help activate the Castro neighborhood’s public spaces, and foster a sense of belonging for all members of the LGBTQ+ community.”

    To date, the project has been supported through financial contributions from the State of California secured by Senator Wiener as well as private donations from the project’s Founding Friends and other individual donors. Construction costs for the new plaza, which includes commemorative features as well as transit and infrastructure upgrades, are expected to be covered through a public/private funding partnership.


    “I’m very happy with the new design because it is the result of many conversations with LGBTQ people of color, transgender leaders, youth leadership, and powerful lesbians,” said Castro LGBTQ Cultural District Manager, Tina Aguirre. “The imagery of us represented as critical parts of the LGBTQ movement is clear and important. The legacy of Harvey Milk is that of a multitude of voices from activists that effect change, from the days of Gay Liberation Fronts and radical lesbians to Black Lives Matter and Transgender leaders of today.” 

    “The balance between Harvey’s history and the movement’s history feels correct to me,” shared photographer Dan Nicoletta, who was close friends with Milk and worked at his Castro Camera store on Castro Street. “Harvey would have liked it.”

    “This design just feels right to me,” said Cleve Jones, author, activist, and cohost of the January event. Jones was a founding contributor to the San Francisco Bay Times. “The balance of hope and action, the call-to-action for activism, and the pieces that will allow visitors to feel seen and heard; this has many of the same qualities as Harvey himself. This belongs in the Castro, and we deserve it!”

    To date, the project has received support from many notable individuals, including Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, Mayor London Breed, Milk’s nephew and Milk family spokesperson Stuart Milk, Milk’s friend and campaign manager Anne Kronenberg, Academy Award-winning Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, Academy Award-winning Director, Writer & Producer Rob Epstein, and a number of San Francisco organizations including the Alice B. Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club, the Castro Community Benefit District, the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District, Castro Merchants, the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association, the Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association, and the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club.

    Published on January 25, 2024