From left, San Francisco City Treasurer Jose Cisneros, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mirian Saez, Mrs. Milk, Stuart Mlik
Photos by Bill Wilson © 2007-2008
House speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Bay Area leaders and representatives joined youth at the Treasure Island Job Corps Center yesterday to celebrate the life of Harvey Milk and unveil a bust of the former San Francisco supervisor.
The event came nearly 30 years after Milk and former Mayor George Moscone were shot and killed at City Hall by former San Francisco Supervisor Dan White.
In addition to Pelosi, speakers included U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and Milk’s nephew Stuart Milk, all of whom spoke about Milk’s commitment to social justice and the community.
“He came to everything,” Pelosi said, reflecting on when she was a volunteer for the Democratic Party more than 30 years ago. “All of it was important to him.”
Pelosi said the Treasure Island Job Corps Center was an appropriate setting for today’s ceremony because of Milk’s commitment to youth.
The center offers job training and education to 600 youth between the age of 16 and 24.
In addition to unveiling the bust at the event, officials announced a building on the center’s campus has been renamed the Harvey Milk Memorial Administration Building. The bronze bust, a replica of one placed at City Hall earlier this year, will be put in the building’s foyer.
Stuart Milk said, “The youth are really the hope and Harvey saw that and realized that early on.”
Earlier Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who was the first person to find Milk’s body on an office floor in San Francisco City Hall in 1978, reflected on the assassination.
“I remember it as if it was yesterday,” Feinstein said.
Speaking to members of the media at her San Francisco office, Feinstein said of Milk, “He was a character in many respects. He could be very funny. He could be very intense. He could be very loud.”
Feinstein, who was president of the Board of Supervisors at the time, recalled hearing the shots, leaving her office and finding Milk’s body before learning that Moscone had also been killed.
Feinstein said today White did not kill Milk because of his sexual orientation, but rather because he felt betrayed when he was not able to reclaim his seat on the board after resigning.
“What people don’t know is that Dan White and Harvey Milk were friends,” Feinstein said, adding they used to meet for coffee in the Castro nearly every week.
“Dan White was a troubled man under a lot of pressure,” Feinstein said.
Because of her position as president of the board, Feinstein became mayor after Moscone’s death. She was then elected to the post twice.
At today’s event, she called the two years after the assassinations the most difficult political years of her life.
“What it did to the city was divide it right down the middle,” Feinstein said.
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Bill Wilson is a veteran freelance photographer whose work is published by San Francisco and Bay Area media. Bill embraced photography at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR). Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past five years. Email Bill Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.