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Friday, May 23, 2008

Last Night: Harvey Milk Bust Unveiling at City Hall

Posted By and on Fri, May 23, 2008 at 8:03 AM

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By Edward Paik

Standing outside Castro Camera in downtown San Francisco a few decades back, Daniel Nicoletta took a photo of Harvey Milk he thought he couldn’t use.

The black and white portrait captured the gay rights activist - then running for city supervisor of San Francisco - with a face-splitting grin, his striped tie flipping and folding in the breeze.

“The tie was blowing in the wind,” said the freelance photographer. “It wasn’t technically the best.”

But last night, the Harvey Milk Memorial Sculpture was unveiled at the San Francisco City Hall with that same photo immortalized on a bust of the first openly gay politician in a city known for its vibrant GLBTQ communities.

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The ceremony took place on what would have been Milk's 78th birthday, and incidentally, nearly a week after the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.

The bust was unveiled from beneath a blue veil on the third floor rotunda of City Hall after speeches from Mayor Gavin Newsom, city supervisors, gay rights activists, family and friends. After the unveiling, the public (including many a man dressed in a dress) was able take the stairs to see the statue up close.

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City officials are said to be working toward establishing May 22 as state holiday in Milk’s honor. The biopic “Milk,” starring Sean Penn is currently in production and being shot on location in San Francisco.

The bust, complete with a smiling grin and the top of a blowing tie, serves as a reminder said Newsom said: “Justice delayed is not justice denied.”

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