the movement: It started in 1978…
On the evening of the assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, activist Harry Britt stood before the crowd of mourners gathered at SF City Hall and assured them, “Harvey was a prophet... He lived by a vision... Something very special is going to happen in this city, and it will have Harvey Milk’s name on it.” Years later, in 1995, in response to community concerns, the SF Board of Supervisors passed a resolution that there should be a “major civic space” to honor Harvey at the intersection of Market, Castro and 17th Streets. In 1997, a neighborhood group, Castro Area Planning and Action, and the Department of Public Works created a master plan for the area. This led to a design competition led by SF Arts Commission in 2000. The result of this competition came to be known as the “Pink Cloud,” as it featured a cloud of pink steam intended to hover over the intersection of the three streets. (It also featured a structure called “A House For Harvey” to be located in what is today part of Harvey Milk Plaza.) Later, a feasibility study found that creating a cloud of steam at the intersection wasn’t possible, due to wind loads.
Then, nothing happened for many years, until 2016, when SFMTA revealed plans to install an elevator in the middle of the culturally-sensitive Harvey Milk Plaza. The SFMTA plan, which was created without any public input, is what spurred into action the group of community members who later named themselves The Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza (FHMP). The first thing the FHMP did was to request, and be granted, an extension of the deadline for response, in order to create opportunities for the community to share their vision for what should be done with the site.
And now, it is that vision that is represented in the new renderings and fly-through animation. This is the community’s vision for honoring Harvey Milk in its purest form, the version of the plaza that will embark on a journey through what we know will be an iterative process of review and comment by various city agencies. Even as the project moves forward, and the design evolves, it will continue to respond to the four priorities expressed by the community in the four meetings held earlier this year, which are:
1. Honor Harvey Milk with a significant memorial;
2. Provide public space for the Castro community;
3. Ensure the plaza is accessible to all (aka “universal accessibility”); and
4. Address known deficiencies present in the existing design.
Join the movement
None of this is possible without you. Please join the movement to create this place for Harvey so that his story continues to engage and inspire. Your help will ensure that Harvey’s mission will live on–that the story of Hope will continue to be told.
Together, we will honor Harvey Milk.