You Should Skip School If You Don’t Want to Know About Harvey Milk

If you are a student in California, your teachers might use today to teach you a lesson some parents might not be comfortable with: Some people are gay. One of those gay people, named Harvey Milk, once spoke up about his homosexuality, and still managed to get elected to public office. Eventually he was shot by someone who didn’t like this.

If your teacher is a bit more progressive you might hear about his work to include other minorities, unions, seniors and the disabled. There are a lot of great sources to learn about Harvey Milk including the Harvey Milk Foundation (who would have thought?), the films The Times of Harvey Milk or Milk, news footage in your local library etc… And since I trust you’re a good policymic reader, I’m going to focus on 7 awesome quotes from Harvey Milk himself that will showcase just how relevant his ideas remain today, and why California celebrates him as an important local leader who inspired beyond our state.

 
1. On Equality

“All men are created equal. Now matter how hard they try, they can never erase those words. That is what America is about.”

 
2. On Youth

“All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.”

 
3. On Compromising

“It takes no compromising to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no survey to remove repressions.”

 
4. On Hate Speech

“If I turned around every time somebody called me a faggot, I’d be walking backward – and I don’t want to walk backward.”

 
5. On Taxes

“Let me have my tax money go for my protection and not for my prosecution. Let my tax money go for the protection of me. Protect my home, protect my streets, protect my car, protect my life, protect my property…. Worry about becoming a human being and not about how you can prevent others from enjoying their lives because of your own inability to adjust to life.”

 
6. On Politics

“Politics is theater. It doesn’t matter if you win. You make a statement. You say, “I’m here, pay attention to me.””

 
7. Last Words…

“This is to be played only in the event of my death by assassination. I fully realize that a person who stands for what I stand for, an activist, a gay activist, becomes a target or the potential target for somebody who is insecure, terrified, afraid, or very disturbed themselves. Knowing that I could be assassinated at any moment, any time, I feel it’s important that some people know my thoughts. And so the following are my thoughts, my wishes, and my desires, whatever, and I’d like to pass them on and have them played for the appropriate people.”

“I have never considered myself a candidate. I have always considered myself part of a movement, part of a candidacy. I considered the movement the candidate. I think that there’s a distinction between those who use the movement and those who are part of the movement. I think I was always part of the movement. I wish I had time to explain everything I did. Almost everything was done with an eye on the gay movement.”

To listen to the full tape…

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