More than 39 years have passed since gay rights activist Harvey Milk was assassinated, silencing a voice that was only becoming more prominent in the California and national LGBTQ communities. Since 2009, thanks to petitions by activist Daren I. Ball and the Oscar-winning film by Dustin Lance Black, Milk's birthday, May 22, has been observed as a day of special significance in the state of California.
After moving from New York to San Francisco in 1972, Milk took advantage of a growing gay population and took up politics. Though his first three campaigns for office were unsuccessful, Milk won a seat on the city's board of supervisors in 1977 and became the first openly gay person elected to public office in the state of California.
Though he served less than a year on the board before being murdered by Dan White, Milk became a San Francisco icon and one of the most influential voices in LGBTQ politics in United States history. "What set Harvey apart from you or me was that he was a visionary," said Anne Kronenberg, campaign Manager for Milk's final run for office. "He imagined a righteous world inside his head and then he set about to create it for real, for all of us."