On January 15, I introduced legislation to add Harvey Milk’s name to San Francisco International Airport. Not just to “honor” him – but to move forward the civil rights agenda he lived and died for.
Harvey Milk wasn’t just San Francisco’s first openly-gay elected official. He was – and is – an inspiration for all individuals who are bullied, discriminated against, and abused. “You have to give them hope” is how Harvey said it. And that’s as true today as it was 35 years ago.
Marriage equality is at a national tipping point in the United States. Our own Proposition 8 is in the hands of an extremely conservative Supreme Court. Across the globe, being gay is against the law in 77 countries. I believe it’s the perfect moment for San Francisco to make our airport a beacon of hope by adding Harvey Milk’s name.
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, former Supervisor Bevan Dufty, Supervisor Scott Wiener and many others agree. Already, four of my colleagues on the Board – Scott Wiener, John Avalos, Eric Mar and Jane Kim – have become cosponsors. To succeed, we will need six votes on the Board and then a majority vote by the people of San Francisco.
Then there are those who oppose the idea. The bigots who say “if you name it Harvey Milk, I’ll fly out of Oakland” are easy to dismiss. But the San Francisco Chronicle has already belittled this effort as “the bad idea of the week” and scoffs at the notion that San Francisco ought to be acting with international gay rights in mind.
There are 80 airports named after individuals in the United States. Not one is named after an openly gay leader. I believe it’s time.
And if not here, then where?