SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — It’s considered one of San Francisco’s darkest days.
Wednesday marks the 41st anniversary of the deaths of former San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.
Milk, 48-years-old at the time of his death in 1978, became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the U.S., and the first in California, when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors just one year before his death.
As a city leader, Milk became an advocate for equality.
“Gay people, we will not win our rights by staying quietly in our closets. We are coming out to fight the lies, the myths, the distortions. We are coming out to tell the truths about gays, for I am tired of the conspiracy of silence, so I’m going to talk about it. And I want you to talk about it. You must come out,” Milk said during a speech, according to Milk Foundation, which was created in his honor.
Milk along with Moscone were killed on Nov. 27, 1978.
A former city supervisor, Dan White, killed Moscone and Milk after sneaking into San Francisco City Hall through a basement window.
White was upset over the mayor’s decision to not appoint him to a city board.
Former San Francisco Supervisor — and eventual congresswoman — Diane Feinstein found Milk’s body, saying “As president of the Board of Supervisors, it’s my duty to make this announcement: Both Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk have been shot and killed. The suspect is supervisor Dan White.”
The perpetrator was eventually acquitted of murder charges and instead, sentenced for manslaughter.
White’s attorney’s defense — he had eaten too much junk food that day.
The argument became known as the “Twinkie Defense.”
Months after Moscone and Milk’s deaths, White was sentenced to less than eight years behind bars.
After his release, White, 39, committed suicide.
In a tweet on the 41st anniversary of the city leaders’ deaths, House Speaker and San Franciscan Nancy Pelosi said the pair embodied the city’s progressive vision.
Milk’s nephew also posted on social media about his uncle’s legacy.
Forty-one years later, Milk’s contributions to San Francisco live on.
“Harvey Milk for over four years, has been giving hope to so many people. Not just members of our LGBTQ community, but people from around the world, who sometimes felt as if they didn’t have a voice,” Mayor London Breed said in July at the terminal’s dedication.