Massive Civil Rights Movement May Actually Be Clever ‘Milk’ Marketing Campaign

We just went over to the brand-spanking new site Seven Weeks to Equality and honestly, we’re not sure what to make of it. From the front page:

“We call on all supporters of equality to sustain and intensify the nationwide campaign of mass protests and non-violent civil disobedience, for seven weeks, starting on November 27, 2008, the thirtieth anniversary of the assassination of Harvey Milk, and to then gather together in mass, from all corners of our country, in Washington, DC on the morning of Tuesday, January 20, 2009, to honor the inauguration of our President, Barack Obama.”

Well, that sounds like a nice enough, vague, feelgood idea– even though sustained, intensified protests seem to be coming along quite nicely on their own, without waiting til’ November 27th. Wait, isn’t that Thanksgiving? Is it such a good idea to kick off a campaign like this when many of us will be away from our homes, doped up on turkey tryptophan? Maybe encourage people to talk to their families or something, that could work. Also, the About Us section confusingly says, “We will march and protest until November 20, 2009, then halt all actions to observe the inauguration of President Barack Obama.” Huh?

But mostly, the site mentions Harvey Milk a lot:

“On November 27, 1978, gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk was assassinated in San Francisco City Hall. Thirty years later, his struggle continues…It has been thirty years since Harvey Milk gave his life in our struggle for equality. We will not wait thirty years more…We also call on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to heed the call of Harvey Milk, when he spoke thirty years ago on the steps of San Francisco City Hall: “You must come out, my brothers and sisters, you must come out…starting on November 27, 2008, the thirtieth anniversary of the assassination of Harvey Milk…Harvey Milk has shown us the power we possess when we make our voices heard…”

Did we mention that one half of the duo behind this cause is Dustin Lance Black, screenwriter of the soon-to-be-released Milk? Now, don’t get me wrong, Harvey Milk’s an inspirational man, but isn’t there something a little craven about centering a start-up political website around a guy you are currently promoting a biopic about? I know having massive protests in the name of Harvey Milk during awards season would be a neat trick, but couldn’t you have called for your campaign without wrapping it in a big bow of Milk, so as to avoid accusations that you’re co-opting a growing movement for personal gain? While Harvey Milk’s struggle was important, isn’t this our struggle?

I know, I’m a terribly cynical human being.