1. Today would have been Harvey Milk’s 83rd birthday.
2. To mark the occasion, San Francisco city officials organized a reenactment of his famous “You’ve Got To Have Hope” speech:
Activist Sean Chapin, along with Andrea Shorter, Randall Mann, Sister Roma, Courtney Walsh, and Aaron Wimmer, produced a powerful reading of Harvey Milk’s famous speech at the top of the Castro in San Francisco.
3. Chapin writes:
“What came to be called ‘The Hope Speech’ was initially conceived as a stump address, wherein Milk attempted to embolden a strong GLBTQ nationalism within the Castro, while also appealing for an alliance with other disenfranchised groups and straight folks,” wrote Jason Edward Black and Charles E. Morris III in their anthology An Archive of Hope: Harvey Milk’s Speeches and Writings (University of California Press, 2013). Milk would revise the speech and recite it several more times at various appearances, according to the introduction written by Black and Morris to the version they included in their book. It was a defiant speech about gay self-acceptance that included Milk’s call for LGBT people to come out of the closet and inspire others to do so. For as Milk said, particularly of LGBT youth, “And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world. Hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for a place to go if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be alright.”
7. Watch full speech:
8. Harvey Milk Day is organized by the Harvey Milk Foundation and celebrated each year on May 22.
9. Listen to a recording of Harvey Milk delivering his speech: