In Recognition of the 25th Anniversary of the Assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk
Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to the memory of two of San Francisco's great and most beloved heroes.
A quarter century ago, on November 27, 1978, two of San Francisco's best and brightest were assassinated in a dark week for our city.
Still reeling from the Jonestown Massacre only days before--the worst mass murder-suicide in American history and the murder of Bay Area Congressman Leo Ryan--San Francisco was dealt a catastrophic blow.
Politically and personally it was a horrific tragedy. San Francisco lost two great progressive leaders, two champions of human rights.
George Moscone, our beloved Mayor, was a hero of the poor and the working class. A native San Franciscan, civil rights leader, State Assemblyman, State Senator, and Mayor, he devoted his life to serve his City of San Francisco, and his State of California. The devoted husband of Gina Moscone and father of four beautiful children, Jennifer, Rebecca, Jonathan and Christopher, he was taken from us in the prime of his life.
Harvey Milk, originally from New York, was a local merchant, the owner of a camera shop. As a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, he was the first openly gay elected official in California, and only the second in the nation. He was a neighborhood leader and a passionate advocate for seniors and all minorities.
Both men were exuberant, expansive, compassionate, and enormously popular political leaders. They were visionaries.
George Moscone and Harvey Milk instigated a historic transformation of San Francisco political life, pioneering an open, participatory government, accessible to all, especially those who never before had been included. For the first time neighborhood and ethnic community activists, and openly gay men and lesbians were appointed to positions of power and authority. The number of women in leadership positions expanded dramatically. No longer were public policy decisions the exclusive province of the wealthy and powerful.
George and Harvey transformed the political and social culture of San Francisco for all time. They were beacons of hope to people who had felt alienated from and neglected by City Hall. They incubated a new generation of talented public servants, who have gone on to secure San Francisco's position today as a national model of enlightenment and progressive values.
The twenty-fifth anniversary of the tragic events of November 27, 1978 gives San Franciscans an opportunity to reflect on the unique contributions George Moscone and Harvey Milk made to bettering the lives of us all. These extraordinary men continue to inspire us as we strive for a society that provides unlimited and equal opportunities for all our diverse citizens.
We never will forget George Moscone and Harvey Milk. We are grateful for their lives, and we honor their immeasurable contributions to our city, our state and our nation.