The name Harvey Milk has once again spread throughout the nation. His story, one hailed as a model of activism, created and continues to instill a unified spirit of engagement among the LGBT community. Last month, Michael discussed the marketing campaign behind the release of the movie. But aside from the movie’s stellar reviews and Sean Penn’s expected Oscar nomination, there is so much more to Milk.
For many, it is a textbook example of gay activism — one of perseverance, coalition building and outreach to minority communities, including African Americas, Hispanics, and Asian Americans. This strategic approach ensured an inclusive grassroots movement that engaged each individual, while enlisting key influencers as allies. Milk’s movement more than three decades ago united people who were seemingly worlds apart, all without the marvels of today’s technology. Through a concerted effort, he was able to mobilize and organize a community to promote the movement. Each moment mattered.
Today, Milk has left another message for hope and it has spread. As part of Milk’s legacy, we know governmental representation is pivotal to the equal rights movement of the LGBT community. On New Year’s Day, Portland became the largest U.S. city to welcome an openly gay mayor, Sam Adams. On a local level, people across the nation are utilizing social networks such as Facebook and MySpace to disseminate Milk’s message and organize in opposition of Prop. 8’s recent passage. The movie itself has created conversations about the community and activism. This conversation is the beginning of a movement, the beginning of change. Ah… the power of Milk.