One of the darkest days in SF history will be marked with the annual vigil in the Castro honoring the legacies of Harvey Milk and George Moscone, both murdered 45 years ago today.
Today is the 45th anniversary of the assassinations of Harvey Milk and George Moscone, now household names with their honorary namings of the Moscone Center, and the revered gay rights icon Milk’s Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro, Harvey Milk Terminal at SFO, postage stamps and even a U.S. Navy ship named for him.
But it’s impossible to exaggerate how shocking it was that a former SF supervisor, Dan White, snuck a gun into City Hall 45 years ago and killed both the sitting mayor and a supervisor, and suddenly ended Milk’s trailblazing tenure as the first openly gay man elected to public office in the state of California.
As it is every year, the legacy of both men will be celebrated at a joint vigil Monday night at Harvey Milk Plaza.
"Sometimes it feels like a million years ago, sometimes like it was just yesterday," says activist and friend of Milk, Cleve Jones, in an Instagram post Monday about the vigil.
“The vigil will bring together community members, activists, and leaders to reflect on the impact and significance of Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone’s contributions to the LGBTQ+ community and civil rights movement,” the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club says in an Instagram announcement. “It will serve as a solemn yet celebratory occasion to remember their unwavering dedication to creating a more inclusive and equitable society.”
House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi put out a statement Monday saying, "45 years ago, in a moment of horror and heartbreak, San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were assassinated. We mourn these two beacons of hope whose transformational legacies continue to inspire our quest for LGBTQ+ equality, and freedom from gun violence."
The 7 p.m. vigil will also feature a candlelight walk, and performances by the Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band of San Francisco and the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. (That chorus actually gave their first public performance, Mendelssohn's "Thou, Lord our Refuge," at an impromptu memorial for Milk the night he was assassinated.)
Vigil commemorating the assassinations of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone 44 years ago. It is also a vigil for Club Q Victims and a rally against anti-LGBTQ hate. @KPIXtv pic.twitter.com/ajSHAB5eWx— Betty Yu (@bett_yu) November 28, 2022
The vigil will also commemorate the victims of last November's Club Q shootings in Colorado Springs, where five people were killed and 25 more injured at an LGBTQ bar, in what prosecutors considered an anti-gay hate crime. The one-year anniversary of that shooting was last week.
The 45th Annual Milk & Moscone Vigil & Candlelight Walk is Monday, November 27, at Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro.
Image: @1alyssakang via Twitter