Stuart Milk at UAlbany: Harvey Milk’s legacy continued
Thanks to efforts from the UAlbany Alumni Association, Stuart Milk on behalf of the Harvey Milk Foundation, was able to speak at UAlbany in the Science Library Standish Room to a crowd of people who wanted to learn more about the Milk legacy.
The evening included storytelling, Q&A, and refreshments.
Harvey Milk, Stuart’s uncle, was a human rights leader and the first openly gay elected state official in California, as well as one of the first in the United States. He encountered so many obstacles while growing up in a sexually closeted United States atmosphere, when the unspoken phrase was, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”
Being a ’51 UAlbany alumni and later being assassinated, it was important for Stuart Milk who is his nephew, to honor Harvey’s roots and impacts which blossomed at UAlbany.
Harvey was an active staff writer at the student newspaper and ran his own segment on current world issues regarding a lack of diversity in communities and how students can combat them following the aftermath of World War II.
After his death, he’s had buildings, schools and streets named after him, and many movies have portrayed his legacy and story. There is a Harvey Milk Ship in development that will go to 37 countries across both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean where it is currently illegal to be gay in order to celebrate the advancement of gay pride across the globe.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of LGBTQ+ activist Harvey Milk.
Stuart Milk started off the evening sharing many intimate stories starting from his childhood between him and Harvey. Some stories included silly coming-of-age memories such as when Harvey took Stuart to go see Jesus Christ Superstar and Stuart remembered being obsessed with meeting the minor drag star actor backstage, as opposed to the other major actors and actresses.
He remembers that Harvey did not berate him or tease him about it, rather, he was happy to fulfill his wishes seeing how excited Stuart was to see his idol. Stuart, who is gay, explained that Harvey knew about his sexuality before Stuart knew about it himself, and he felt so humbled to know that Harvey was always behind him to watch over.
After his death, Stuart said that he was humbled by his uncle’s efforts to increase visibility throughout the United States and continued his legacy at home and abroad as well.
Mr. Milk told the audience of numerous retaliations in major countries across the world where his team was met with heavy resistance while protesting. He explained how marches and protests like these have caused the murders of some of his closest teammates, and how he learned to accept the circumstances and continue on with his cause.
Many tears were shed around the room as some of these stories were graphic and hit home in the hearts of many. On behalf of Harvey Milk, Stuart Milk told the audience something that Harvey told him before he died, and this quote echoed throughout the night. Harvey once said, “You and all your differences will heal the world even if the world does not see that.” This means that it is not necessary to be recognized in the moment in order to be a powerful change in the world. Like Harvey Milk, a person’s legacy can be most influential after their death.