Human Rights Campaign Moves in on Harvey Milk’s Shop, Image


The Human Rights Campaign is moving into Harvey Milk's old camera shop at 575 Castro in San Francisco, the San Francisco Examiner reports:

"In addition to merchandise with HRC’s signature 'equal' logo, the store will offer items emblazoned with the words and images of Harvey Milk. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these items will be donated to local organizations that continue to carry on the legacy of Harvey Milk, such as the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy and the GLBT Historical Society, according to the organization."

Said HRC President Joe Solmonese: "It is Harvey Milk’s vision of hope that continues to inspire the work that we do at the Human Rights Campaign. We are the beneficiaries of his groundbreaking activism and are honored to be a part of the future that he envisioned."

Above, 575 Castro in its most recent retail incarnation, as gift shop Given.


  1. Peter says

    Clever of the HRC to try to wrap Harvey Milk’s legacy around itself. Unfortunately, the HRC has become a useless appendage of the gay community. Rather than opening gift shops they should try political action. They have been batting zero for several years now.

  2. Paul R says

    I don’t get this. There was an HRC store next door to Harvey’s old store for ages. I never, never understood the point of an HRC store (yay! I want to advertise my inefficacy using overpriced mugs and other products!).

    Anyway, it sounds like they just got a good deal on rent and decided to move locations while conveniently co-opting history and seeming relevant.

  3. Joseph says

    Really? All the HRC could think of to turn this into was an HRC gift shop? Pretty sad way to “honor” Milk.

    Hey, it could have been worse, given the HRC’s credit-stealing over the past year. They could have doubled back and taken credit for making Harvey Milk the civil rights leader he became… 😉

    My favorite line: “A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these items will be donated to local organizations that continue to carry on the legacy of Harvey Milk, such as the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy and the GLBT Historical Society, according to the organization.” They forgot to add “and a larger portion of the proceeds from the sale of these items will go straight to Joe Solmonese’s martini party fund.”

  4. walter says

    this would make harvey puke. hrc has no shame.
    do they think this will make everyone look away from all their failures? this organization makes me sick. if you shop there do you get invited to the cocktail parties?

  5. FunMe says

    I used to give to HRC … and all I got was a STUPID “EQUAL” bumper sticker and a gift shop!

    But did I and my fellow GLBT Americans get anything back related to EQUALity? Heck no! HRC was too busy paling around with Obama and his “champagne and caviar STFU” parties at the White House after every GLBT equality disaster.

    This store and its nice mural wall will do nothing to hide the fact that HRC is to blame too for the failures of the Obama administration. They let Obama hide behind their skirts when they insulted us with their DOJ filing against DOMA. They let Obama cover for them when he continued to fight against us.

    San Franciscans should be protesting in front of that store EVERY weekend until a more respectable organization who has actually fought for our rights is in there. I nominate GetEqual!

  6. Brix says

    Yea, what y’all said.
    I understand that if DADT is not repealed this congress, documents will be released exposing HRC. The gay version of Wiki leaks if you will. Then again, I’ve heard the docs will probably be released regardless. HRC = toast.

  7. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says

    Solmonese and the HRC are just a bunch of vile vampires. “…We are the beneficiaries of his groundbreaking activism and are honored to be a part of the future that he envisioned.” No, they just want to pocket the proceeds of Harvey’s face on a t-shirt. And forget any profits being shared, like all HRC ventures they’ll claim to be actually losing money and hide their books from any outside accountability while Joe Solmonese flies back and forth from DC to SF in first-class.

    The “Harvey Milk Memorial Gift Shop”, F**K that…..

  8. Bryan says

    Fine idea; appalling mural. Not only are LGBTQ people on the verge of becoming culturally inert, but we’ve embraced our own cliché so whole-heartedly that Saint Judy is rolling her eyes from beyond the grave.

    This reminds me of christianists worshipping the torture device that was used to kill their prophet. It’s so much easier to express outrage over someone’s death than to try to emulate the good they did in life.

    Do we imagine Milk would want to be remembered for the bullet in his head? He was a grouch with a sharp tongue. I’d love to hear what he’d have to say about having been posthumously assigned the righteously self-congratulating moral imperative of a professional victim.

    Sure, AIDS is going to kill me sooner or later, but anyone who memorializes me with an IV bag next to my face should prepare to be haunted by one seriously pissed off ghost.

  9. David Groff says

    What gall. HRC has no shame. They are commandeering the legacy of Harvey Milk even though they represent everything that Harvey fought against in our community (and that in the movie, James Franco swam against). Their collaborationist tactics make them laughable inheritors of Milk’s energy, vigor, and politics.

  10. justiceontherocks says

    Nanny, the only way to “change the status quo that is HRC” is to ignore them, deny them money, remind others how important it is not to fund their cocktail parties, and encourage competent people to do the jobs they fail at so badly. If you’ve got another idea put it on the table.

  11. Mark Mead says

    I did not think Joe S could sink any lower…how stupid was that!?!? Maybe they can sell the dog collar he wore in pride parades in Bostons….useless, classless and worthless….

  12. Tommy C. says

    Maybe my Democratic Representative in the House could do something about this cynical Politburo-esque attempt to rewrite San Francisco’s history a la Animal Farm. Oh, wait, she’s Nancy Pelosi and she owns the Solmonese Gang. We are fucked. And in the worst way possible. Can you spell “betrayal” as in “non-personhood?”

  13. PRE says

    I can’t stand the HRC as much as the rest of you, but you can’t blame them for the mural on the wall. That’s there from the previous shop, Given. It’s actually much more striking and effective in person – not creepy at all. Of course the HRC is still worthless, and they’ll co-opt the image, the man and his legacy.

  14. says

    Before you bitch about the HRC, using the image of Harvey Milk, For many years, I heard so very little said about the bar the bares Harvey’s name at 18th and Castro. The former home of the Elephant Walk. The landlord of the E.W., was the former landlord for Harvey Milk’s Camera shop, and raised Harvey’s rent so high… that Milk was forced to move. Paul Langley ALSO DOUBLED THE RENT OF THE ELEPHANT WALK to $12,000 … forcing them out of business, too. Years ago, when Langley was opening his bar, he wanted to buy some of my Milk images for his Harvey’s bar, However I refused to sell any to him . Over the years I have been turned off by HRC too many black tie events, at prices that few can afford. However… it’s good that they will moving into Harvey’s old location… it’s better than
    another franchise coffee house. I am sure the HRC,will bring back the Spirit that came in and OUT of 575 Castro during the 1970s.

  15. ratbastard says

    Saint Harvey. Demonize one religion or belief, then swap it out for another with equal or greater fervor, complete with it’s own saints, idolatry and dogma.

  16. FunMe says

    Sorry to repost, but hello SAN FRANCISCANS! Can you please start protesting HRC! They have managed to not only F*** up the gig in Washington in our quest for GLBT equality here in America, but they have also insulted us and our hero Harvey Milk.

    Can you imagine how ENRAGED Harvey Milk would be to hear that the lame HRC is taking over his old business location?!!!

    Tell them to have a MUSEUM that is FREE. Maybe then HRC can start redeeming themselves and start rebuilding the organization to do something about real EQUALity for GLBT Americans.

    HRC as far as I am concerns has major blood for the FAILURES of the Obama administration turning their back on us. HRC needed to criticize and push Obama to do something. Instead HRC simply provided a cover for all of Obama’s LIES, BETRAYALS, and BS.

    Man behind the curtain indeed.

  17. Chitown Kev says

    It was the HRC-type accomodationists/assimilations that were always Harvey Milk’s political adversaries.

    This is blasphemy.

    And that’snot a word that I use very lightly.

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