Giving Us Hope: Harvey Milk’s Top 7 Quotes

Happy Harvey Milk Day everyone! Harvey Bernard Milk was born 83 years ago today and he made history in 1978 when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.  Not only was he the first openly gay man elected to public office in California, but also the first non-incumbent openly gay man to win an election for public office in the United States.

During the 11 months he served on the board, Milk was responsible for passing what was, at the time, “the most stringent and encompassing” civil rights ordinances in the nation, outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation. His tenure was cut short by fellow board supervisor Dan White who assassinated Milk and Mayor George Moscone on November 27, 1978.

Though his life was ended, Milk’s legacy only continues to grow. The 1984 Oscar-winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk was recently chosen for preservation by the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry and the 2007 Oscar-winning film Milk brought his story to an even wider audience. In 2009, President Obama posthumously awarded Milk with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contribution to the gay rights movement. Later that year, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared May 22 as Harvey Milk Day in California.

Today , the Harvey Milk Foundation invites everyone around the world, from the Castro to Moscow, to celebrate Harvey Milk’s life story, message of hope and legacy of inspiring disenfranchised communities.

Check out Queerty’s picks for Harvey Milk’s top 7 greatest quotes.


“The only thing they have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right. Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us’es, the us’es will give up. And if you help elect to the central committee and other offices, more gay people, that gives a green light to all who feel disenfranchised, a green light to move forward. It means hope to a nation that has given up, because if a gay person makes it, the doors are open to everyone.” Source

Photo: SF Gate


“All men are created equal. Now matter how hard they try, they can never erase those words. That is what America is about.” Source

Photo: Milk Foundation


“It takes no compromise to give people their rights…it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” Source

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


“If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.” Source

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


“All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.” Source

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Harvey Milk meets Jimmy Carter, May 1976

“Hope will never be silent.” Source

Photo: Milk Foundation


“Every gay person must come out. As difficult as it is, you must tell your immediate family. You must tell your relatives. You must tell your friends if indeed they are your friends. You must tell the people you work with. You must tell the people in the stores you shop in. Once they realize that we are indeed their children, that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and all. And once you do, you will feel so much better.” Source

Photo: Villanova’s Report