Planning begins for 2nd Milk Day
by Matthew S. Bajko
Planning is already under way for San Francisco's second observation of Harvey Milk Day on Sunday, May 22.
Leaders of the Harvey B. Milk Foundation told the Bay Area Reporter they hope to expand on last year's celebration and include a broader range of people in the day's events. As for specifics, they have yet to be revealed.
"Yes, we are working on something," said Stuart Milk, the openly gay nephew of Milk, who added that as for details, "I can't tell you now."
Stuart Milk has asked Anne Kronenberg, who was Milk's campaign manager for his successful 1977 supervisor bid, to lead the planning locally.
Kronenberg, whom Mayor Gavin Newsom recently named to be executive director of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, said she would like to see a "major" Milk Day event take place in the city, similar to San Diego's citywide brunch held each year in honor of Milk or last year's Milk Day-timed gala in Sacramento.
"A major Milk Day event should happen here," said Kronenberg, who is also working with the group behind this year's Sacramento event.
Milk was the first out person to win elective office in a major U.S. city. He was killed, along with then-Mayor George Moscone, in November 1978 by disgruntled former Supervisor Dan White.
The state observance – it is not a state holiday – is timed to coincide with Milk's birthday. He would have turned 81 on May 22, 2011.
Last year the Milk foundation, which Kronenberg and Stuart Milk helped launch, canceled a lavish awards ceremony and dance party it planned to host in San Francisco the Friday night prior to Milk Day. The cancellation was blamed on a lack of timing to pull off the event.
A brunch held that Saturday morning was limited to 200 people due to space constraints, while in the Castro initial suggestions to have a neighborhood-wide street party were scaled back to just the block in front of the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy.
Instead, a dedication ceremony was held to lay a larger historical marker in front of the storefront at 575 Castro Street where Milk owned his camera shop and ran his political campaigns. The event attracted a sizeable crowd of nearly 1,200 people.