“. . . let that bullet destroy every closet door in the country.” – Harvey Milk, speaking of his own future assassination & what our response to it should be. He was killed 34 years ago today.
My friend David Metille (muh till) posted this on Facebook. It is perfect.
34 years ago today, Harvey Milk was assassinated. He was only 48 years old, but he had managed to change the world.
From a taped recording made November 11, 1978 to be played in the event of his assassination:
“This is Harvey Milk speaking from the camera store on the evening of Friday, November 18. This is to be played only in the event of my death by assassination. I fully realize that a perso
n who stands for what I stand for, an activist, a gay activist, becomes a target or the potential target for somebody who is insecure, terrified, afraid, or very disturbed themselves. Knowing that I could be assassinated at any moment, any time, I feel it’s important that some people know my thoughts. And so the following are my thoughts, my wishes, and my desires, whatever, and I’d like to pass them on and have them played for the appropriate people.
I have never considered myself a candidate. I have always considered myself part of a movement, part of a candidacy. I considered the movement the candidate. I think that there’s a distinction between those who use the movement and those who are part of the movement. I think I was always part of the movement. I wish I had time to explain everything I did. Almost everything was done with an eye on the gay movement.
I ask for the movement to continue, for the movement to grow, because last week I got a phone call from Altoona, Pennsylvania, and my election gave somebody else, one more person, hope. And after all, that’s what this is all about. It’s not about personal gain, not about ego, not about power — it’s about giving those young people out there in the Altoona, Pennsylvanias, hope. You gotta give them hope.
The other aspect of this tape is the business of what should happen if there is an assassination. I cannot prevent some people from feeling angry and frustrated and mad, but I hope they will take that frustration and that madness and instead of demonstrating or anything of that type, I would hope they would take the power and I would hope that five, ten, one hundred, a thousand would rise. I would like to see every gay doctor come out, every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out, stand up and let that world know. That would do more to end prejudice overnight than anybody would imagine. I urge them to do that, urge them to come out. Only that way will we start to achieve our rights.
If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door in the country.”