SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A march to remember the 44th anniversary of the assassinations of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone will also honor the five people killed at a gay nightclub in Colorado earlier this week, according to a press release from the Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza.
“San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were victims of hatred and gun violence 44 years ago this Sunday,” Friends’ Executive Director Brian Springfield stated in a press release Friday. “The mass shooting at Club Q that took five innocent lives in Colorado Springs is a reminder that there is still rampant gun violence and hate speech across America targeting the LGBTQ community and there is still work to be done to end this cycle of violence.”
Milk, one of America’s first openly gay elected officials, was gunned down in his office by former San Francisco Supervisor Dan White on Nov. 27, 1978, after having been in office less than a year.
Milk was native of New York State and a Navy veteran who had worked on Wall Street. He was a Goldwater Republican before he moved to San Francisco, acknowledged being gay, and started to work for equal rights. Milk was instrumental in bringing to defeat Proposition 6 in the 1978 midterm election, which would have forbade gays, lesbians and their supporters from being teachers.
White also killed then-Mayor George Moscone, who was succeeded by Dianne Feinstein. A native of the Marina, in his youth a largely Italian immigrant neighborhood, the father of four was the only mayor in the city’s history to have been assassinated, and one of only three to die in office. (Incumbent Mayor London Breed’s predecessor Ed Lee also died in office, of heart disease, in 2017.)
White was convicted of manslaughter and served five years before his release. He died by suicide in 1985. The socially-conservative former police officer resigned as a supervisor, representing the Excelsior neighborhood, several weeks before the killings; shortly after he discovered Moscone wouldn’t abide by his request to be re-instated, he killed the mayor and Milk, who represented the liberal Castro and Haight neighborhoods.
A march to remember the slain politicians has happened every year, starting in the Castro, since the night of the assassinations. This year it will begin at 7 p.m. Sunday at Harvey Milk Plaza, at Castro and Market Streets.
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“The fight for full acceptance and freedom isn’t over and members of the LGBTQ+ community everywhere deserve to feel safe in public spaces,” Springfield stated. “Sadly, time and again, we see this is not the case. FHMP is dedicated to creating a space that honors the legacy of Harvey Milk and serves as a community gathering space where anyone, regardless of who they are or how they identify, feels safe, accepted, and welcome.”
A gathering in the same spot last Sunday commemorated the killings at the Club Q nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo., earlier that day.