Harvey Milk was the first openly-gay man to be elected to public office in the US in 1977. His most recognized speech, "You Cannot Live On Hope Alone," was given in 1978, shortly before he was assassinated. His words resonate particularly today as Californians debate a resolution to ban gay marriage.
To learn more about Harvey Milk, check out causecast.org/member/harvey-milk
And to learn about more causes, check out causecast.org
"Somewhere in Des Moines or San Antonio there is a young gay person who all the sudden realizes that he or she is gay; knows that if their parents find out they will be tossed out of the house, their classmates will taunt the child, and the Anita Bryant's and John Briggs' are doing their part on TV. And that child has several options: staying in the closet, and suicide. And then one day that child might open the paper that says "Homosexual elected in San Francisco" and there are two new options: the option is to go to California, or stay in San Antonio and fight. Two days after I was elected I got a phone call and the voice was quite young. It was from Altoona, Pennsylvania. And the person said "Thanks". And you've got to elect gay people, so that thousand upon thousands like that child know that there is hope for a better world; there is hope for a better tomorrow. Without hope, not only gays, but those who are blacks, the Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the us's: without hope the us's give up. I know that you can't live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. And you, and you, and you, and you have got to give them hope."
-Harvey Milk, 1978
Questions to Ponder with your family and friends:
1. What father figures in your life give you HOPE?
2. Why do some people not like that Harvey Milk is on a US postage stamp? What do you think?
3. Where are you working for HOPE and LOVE for all?
Marty Forth is a Canadian living on the Upper West Side with his husband, Patrick, and their 3-year-old son, Grayson. He is a licensed social worker who specializes in youth, teens and families and has worked for the YMCA for more than 15 years.
Photo: Marty Forth and family.