Pride: We Are Family

I first made and posted this video in 2016 — I was going to reprocess the images and add new photos to the video. Still, I decided to leave it because there is an Easter egg in this video, a moment that seemed curiously out of place at the time, but only evident as disinformation in retrospect.

The photos in the video were taken in 2015 when Pride celebrated the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.

I used “We Are Family”  by Sister Sledge because in the 1970s, ‘We Are Family” was an anthem for the Gay and Feminist movements.

In 1970, Gay Liberation said we are everywhere: all religions, races, and
nationalities.

“We Are Family” celebrates solidarity.

If I turned around every time somebody called me a faggot, I’d be walking backward – and I don’t want to walk backward.”
– Harvey Milk

We are everyone, and we will not go back.

Art by Rob Goldstein
Clarion Alley 2012 (c) Rob Goldstein

 

Photography and Video by Rob Goldstein
‘We Are Family” by Sister Sledge

 

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May We Each Find the Light, The Way out of Suffering, The Way Home

Photograph of ‘May We Each Find the Light’ (c) Rob Goldstein 2014-20120

Pride 2020: Harvey Milk and the Power of Hope

Imagine you live under a government that says who you are is shameful; you are a crime against nature.

Now imagine the courage it takes to stand up to that government and say, I’m proud of who I am.

Photograph of Havey Milk and his Partner Scott Smith in a plaque on Harvey Milk Plaza
A Photo of Harvey Milk and Scott Smith at Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco (C) Rob Goldstein

In 1955, when the Navy forced Harvey Milk to resign over ‘questions’ about his sexual orientation, being a homosexual was the worst thing a person could be.

Homosexuality ranked with pedophilia as equal in the public mind, and sodomy was a crime in most States.

Coming Out was dangerous and revolutionary.

Photo from San Francisco's Pride day 2017
Pride 2017 (C) Rob Goldstein

 “If I turned around every time somebody called me a faggot, I’d be walking backward – and I don’t want to walk backward. -Harvey Milk”

Harvey Milk was born May 22, 1930, in Woodmere, New York, to a family of Jewish Lithuanians.

His father served in the U.S. Navy as did his mother, who served as a “Yeomanette” in  World War I.

“As a youngster, Milk listened with his family to radio reports about the Warsaw Ghetto and the plight of Jews in Europe. There was  anti-semitism closer to home as well — nearby towns on Long Island were strongholds for the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party.” The Essential Jewishness of Harvey Milk

Copy of a Nazi Soldiers fighting rat like Jews.
Fascist movements always demonize immigrants and minorities.

“Jews know we can’t allow discrimination—if for no other reason than we might be on that list someday.” Harvey Milk

In 1972 Milk moved to San Francisco and ran his first campaign for the Board of Supervisors in 1973; he framed gay liberation as part of a fight for the rights of all people.

According to The Advocate,

“[Milk] molded the gay community into a united voting bloc, and his populist agenda—which attracted straight families, working-class voters, and senior citizens—gave him a powerful base.”

He lost his second campaign in 1975, but he established himself as the leading political spokesman for the gay community with strong political allies and a growing activist base.

When friend and ally, Mayor George Moscone appointed him to the city’s Board of Permit Appeals, he became the first openly gay city commissioner in the United States.

“I know you can’t live on hope alone; but without hope, life is not worth living,” Harvey Milk

A Photo from Pride 2015
A Photo from Pride 2015- (C) Rob Goldstein

Milk won his 1977 campaign, and on January 9, 1978, he took his seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Milk was clear about why he ran for office as an openly gay man:

“It’s not my victory; it’s yours and yours and yours. If a gay can win, it means there is hope that the system can work for all minorities if we fight. We’ve given them hope.”

– Harvey Milk, after winning a seat on the Board of Supervisors in 1977.”

Supervisor Milk introduced the Nation’s first bill to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the bill on March 22, 1978, and Mayor George Moscone signed it into law on April 11, 1978.

Harvey Milk spoke of the value of persisting in the fight to achieve the American ideal of equality:

“…we will not win our rights by staying quietly in our closets. … We are coming out to fight the lies, the myths, the distortions. We are coming out to tell the truths about gays, for I am tired of the conspiracy of silence, so I’m going to talk about it. And I want you to talk about it. You must come out.”  Harvey Milk

 

Art by Rob Goldstein
Forever Queer, Clarion Alley 2012 (c) Rob Goldstein

Harvey Milk served as a supervisor for almost 11 months.

On November 27, 1978, Supervisor Dan White assassinated Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone.

“I can’t forget the looks on faces of people who’ve lost hope. Be they gay, be they seniors, be they blacks looking for an almost-impossible job, be they Latins trying to explain their problems and aspirations in a tongue that’s foreign to them. I personally will never forget that people are more important than buildings. I use the word “I” because I’m proud. I stand here tonight in front of my gay sisters, brothers, and friends because I’m proud of you.” Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk is an American hero because he used his passion and his rights to break through a wall of institutional homophobia and caused the United States to become a more perfect Union.

In 2009 the Nation thanked him for it when President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Milk with America’s highest civilian medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, with the following citation:

“Harvey Bernard Milk dedicated his life to shattering boundaries and challenging assumptions. As one of the first openly gay elected officials in this country, he changed the landscape of opportunity for the Nation’s gay community. Throughout his life, he fought discrimination with visionary courage and conviction. Before his tragic death in 1978, he wisely noted, “Hope will never be silent,” and called upon Americans to stay true to the guiding principles of equality and justice for all. Harvey Milk’s voice will forever echo in the hearts of all those who carry forward his timeless message.”

The Obama White House Archives

What you get as a citizen of the United States are the tools you need to petition the government for change. The government may or may not listen to you, and if it doesn’t, you get loud.

Photograph of a sign that reads Silence - Death
Silence = Death 2019 (c) Rob Goldstein
A protest sign at the 2019 Women's March that reads our rights are not up for grabs
Our rights are not up for grabs, and neither are we – 2019,  (c), Rob Goldstein


Harvey Milk got loud, and his faith in the power of hope is still changing our lives.

Rob Goldstein 2020

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11 Beautiful Minds of The 20th Century

Eleven brilliant and courageous men and women.

1.

Pablo Neruda
July 12, 1904-September 23, 1973

Art by Rob Goldstein
Pablo Neruda Ricardo Reyes as a young man

I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.

~ Pablo Neruda

2.

Norma Jeane Mortenson
June 1, 1926-August 5, 1962

Art by Rob Goldstein
Portrait of Norma Jeane Mortenson

I am not a victim of emotional conflicts. I am human.
Norma Jeane Mortenson

3.

Harvey Milk
May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978

 

Art By Rob Goldstein

“All men are created equal. No matter how hard they try, they can never erase those words. That is what America is about.”
Harvey Milk, The Harvey Milk Interviews: In His Own Words

4.

el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz
May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965

 

Art by Rob Goldstein
Malcolm X


“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”
Malcolm X

5.

Nina Simone

February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003

Art by Rob Goldstein
Nina Simone

“I am just one of the people who is sick of the social order, sick of the establishment, sick to my soul of it all. To me, America’s society is nothing but a cancer, and it must be exposed before it can be cured. I am not the doctor to cure it. All I can do is expose the sickness.”
Nina Simone

6.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy
May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963

Art by Rob Goldstein
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal”, then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”
John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage

7.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 15, 1929- April 4, 1968

Art By Rob Goldstein
Dr. Martin Luther King

There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

8.

Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau
July 5, 1889 – 11 October 11, 1963

Art by Rob Goldstein
Jean Cocteau

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.
Jean Cocteau

9.

Frank O’Hara
March 27, 1926 – July 25, 1966

 

Art by Rob Goldstein
Frank O’Hara


“I wonder if the course of narcissism through the ages would have been any different had Narcissus first peered into a cesspool. He probably did.”
Frank O’Hara, Early Writing

10.

Simone de Beauvoir
January 9, 1908 – April 14, 1986

 

Art by Rob Goldstein
Simone de Beauvoir


Life is occupied in both perpetuating itself and in surpassing itself; if all it does is maintain itself, then living is only not dying. Simone de Beauvoir

11.

Jean Genet
December 19, 1910-April 15, 1986

 

Art by Rob Goldstein
Jean Genet

What I did not yet know so intensely was the hatred of the white American for the black, a hatred so deep that I wonder if every white man in this country, when he plants a tree, doesn’t see Negroes hanging from its branches.  Jean Genet

 

Disclaimer: To the best of my knowledge the images on this page are in the public domain.

Header photo, Portrait of Malcolm X, by Rob Goldstein (c) 2016

Blog post updated June 2020

 

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