SF Candlelight Vigil Planned Wednesday to Mark 35th Anniversary of Milk-Moscone Assassination

A candlelight vigil is being held tomorrow night in San Francisco to mark the 35th anniversary of Harvey Milk and George Moscone's assassination at City Hall.

MilkMoscone1Write the organizers on Facebook:

Harvey and George were the brightest beacons of hope for San Francisco’s disenfranchised and displaced. But more than that, they represented the spirit of San Francisco, a city for anyone and everyone, welcoming to all, affordable to all, with justice for all. 35 years later, the time has come again for us to gather, one and all, to remember Harvey and George. More importantly, the time has come to make their vision of a city of hope come alive. Now more than ever, we have to give each other hope.

The vigil will begin at Milk Plaza at 7pm followed by a candlelight march down Market Street to City Hall. A performance by the Gay Men's Chorus, words of inspiration from Dustin Lance Black, and a recorded message from Harvey Milk will conclude the evening. 

ASL Interpretation and Spanish translation will be provided as well as accessible transportation from Milk Plaza to City Hall.


  1. Tom says

    Have heard that there was some sort of “Twinkie defense” of the assassin. What is a Twinkie defense?

  2. Mike Ryan says

    I wasn’t born yet but my neighbor, who is 68, was working for HUD at the time and the then Mayor’s Secretary, a woman name Cere Cupertini, had been in the job for many years. Dan White walked right passed her, hand in pocket holding gun, when Moscone was shot. She watched White cross the hall to Milk’s office and heard the gunshots. People were scrambling. This was in the early afternoon, probably before lunch, but by 5pm when he left the Federal building, opposite City Hall, the entire city had grown eerily silent and thousands of people were gathering everywhere, predominately gay people. By the time my neighbor got home there were crowds low-chanting “death to Dan White” and heading for City Hall. Gay people went mad with anger and tore up City Hall overturning police cars, starting trash can fires, ripping out plants and trees, bashing in the glass doors at City Hall. That night is still referred to as the “White Night Riots”.

    I mention Cere Cupertine because it was Feinstein who contacted HUD (they had been negotiating with HUD to replace Dan White with a HUD supervisor named Dan Horenzy) seeking a replacement for Cere who had walked out declaring she would never return to City Hall. Feinstein replaced Moscone (she was President of the Board of Supervisors) and it was Feinstein who asked for my neighbor to fill in temporarily for the absent Cere Cupertini. Cere retired and never came back. Feinstein pleaded with my neighbor to stay on permanently but he was a Federal employment, not a City employee and returned to HUD. He says, to this day, it was his biggest career mistake for years later HUD fired him for being openly gay. And yes, being openly gay in the Federal government can result in termination based solely on the fact that the employee is a homosexual. That’s why ENDA is so important today. It must eventually become the law of the land so than none of us can ever be fired from our jobs because some homophobic a**hole can decide to destroy your life.

  3. John says

    Mike Ryan – Harvey Milk was assassinated on November 27th, 1978. That night the queer community and San Franciscans responded with a peaceful candlelight vigil. The White Night Riots, however, took place on the night of May 21st, 1979, the day White had been convicted of voluntary manslaughter, the lightest possible conviction for his actions.

  4. Mike Ryan says

    Thanks for the correction John. Going back over my notes I do see that the white riots took place in late May of ’79. My neighbor had returned to HUD in January ’79 and from his office he could see the front of City Hall clearly. I note here that he “walked home in fear as the sidewalks filled with angry people heading for City Hall.” Must have been an awful scary time.

  5. Tom says

    Damn. Sure wish I could be in San Francisco for the candlelight vigil. Harvey Milk really did SO many wonderful things for gays like me that were not born yet when he was alive!

  6. Mitch says

    I was there when it happened. I lived in an apartment above Market Street, and remember looking out on the spontaneous march that night to City Hall. It was somber and powerful, this endless procession of candle light as people walked. There was a stunned silence, and yet a sense of unity prevailed. It was as if everyone was saying, without words, you cannot stop us.

  7. says

    Oh, puh-lease. Not another post about the White Knight Harvey Milk.

    Look, at first I thought he was a great man. I even got a tattoo of a famous line of one of his speeches.

    But then I learned that he never talked about transsexuals or transgenders or intersexed hermaphrodites and for some reason never thought that they were linked with gay people. In fact, he called it a stereotype to link the groups.

    After that, I was done with him. Now I get sick when I see these memorials. Srsly? Where are the memorial sites for the Black transsexuals who died working the streets, which is probably most of them? . . . I guess you have to be a white guy in a suit to get any love. Sad!

  8. says

    @Fake Kiwi: Give it a rest already, Rick. It’s pretty obvious that you’re posting under LK’s name. The only thing here that’s “sad” is that Harvey Milk died so that you could be free to be a chickensh*t closeted troll.

  9. says

    FuryofFirestorm, go off to troll land, troll! Everything I said is true. You will never see a single quote from Milk about transgender rights. You can go read Mayor of Castro Street and look in the index. You won’t find a single entry for transgender, transsexual, intersex or any of the other 17 letters that represent our people! This man fought for gay civil rights. How disgusting!

    So I stand proudly with my trans brothers who used to be sisters, my trans sisters who used to be brothers, and my hermaphrodite brother/sister hybrids. And I always will. And if that means opposing Harvey Milk and the entire gay civil rights movement and promoting ancient stereotypes about gay people, that’s what I will do.

  10. Eric says


    You’re an obvious troll, but…

    You do know that there’s a difference between sex, gender, sexual orientation and sexual behavior, right? For example, saying that Milk didn’t fight for the rights of transexuals is essentially saying that Milk didn’t fight for the rights of gay transexuals, which is totally incorrect. It’s like saying Milk didn’t fight for the rights of gay fighter pilots because he didn’t specifically mention fighter pilots.

  11. says

    Sadly,too often Mayor Moscone has been overlooked for his great contributions to the early gay rights movement. His first appointment to his administration was Harvey Milk to the board of Permits when he was elected in 1975. When the Milk Holiday was created, it should of included George Moscone. George was a true friend of the gay community,taking part in gay sporting events and fund raisers 2 years before Harvey was elected. I knew both as friends.

  12. BobN says

    Would it be so hard for Towelroad to adopt a commenting system that didn’t lead to the crap this one does?

    (And I say that as a huge fan of fake Rick)

  13. David From Canada says

    Harvey Milk was a very special man. So glad that they are remembering him with a candlelight vigil. God bless Harvey.

  14. Tyler says

    Rick can’t even be bothered to show respect towards one of our greatness heroes. Is he simply a troll or is he a monster?

  15. Mike says

    @Tyler –

    Says you, the guy who posted the most disgusting comment on this site, calling for people to commit suicide.

  16. ShawnSF says

    The original Vigil and White Night Riots are captured on film in the 1986 Oscar Winning Documentary “Life and Times of Harvey Milk”. It takes your breath away to watch the thousands of individual candels/people light up the night sky with their light. Amazing Film. MUCH better that Sean Penn version.

  17. Tyler says

    Mike, if I weren’t so sure you are a conservative troll, I’d be offended by that. I don’t think anyone of us wishes Rick would actually kill himself. But we do wish he would kill his online persona and get a life

  18. JustSayin' says

    Thank you Harvey.

    I remember when he was killed. I was 14. I was a precocious child, and asked why gay people shouldn’t have the same rights as everyone else. This resulted in loosing all my friends and becoming a social outcast, as well as a target for bullying and abuse by some of my teachers.

    I survived it, and I’m still around.

    Tonight there will be a candle burning at my house.

  19. Mike says

    Tyler – You did say that and it wasn’t limited to Rick and it wasn’t referring to suicides of online personae, but actual people whom you felt were on the wrong side of some issue. And I’d add that Kiwi does the same thing.

    It is just the wrong thing to say to any other gay person, no matter how big the disagreement over a political issue.

  20. says

    How telling that on the anniversary of Milk and Moscone’s assassination, this site’s miserable resident troll is not thinking about the progress they put into effect, the brilliant way they both helped change the landscape of California, and America and indeed the world.. he’s not thinking about anything to do with the advancement of equality and human rights. No. He’s thinking about *me* . That’s crazy. You’re more obsessed with *me* than with th advancement of LGBT Equality. Straight right-wing hack, no doubt. With a damning hard-drive and secrets buried beneath the floorboards.

    The internet is of course a place where crazy people come to vent their impotent fury at a world they have no place in.

    Thank God for people like Harvey Milk, and the brave men and women who took his messages to heart, and live them every day. I have what I have in life today because of Harvey and every nameless LGBT person who took it upon themselves to defy a culture of hatred and ignorance, live out loud, smash down those closet doors, and clear a path for me.

    the day i got my Harvey Milk tattoo.

    A candle for Harvey and Mayor Moscone – lit today, and burning in me forever.

    And, as before, tremendous respect and thanks to those of you who’ve opened the doors for me.

  21. DB says

    Everyone should read the book ‘Season of the Witch’, which covers San Francisco from the 1960’s through the 1980’s. Last week also was the 35th anniversary of the Jonestown massacre.

  22. says

    NO, Mr. Ryan, it is NOT totally legal for the federal government to fire an employee simply for being gay. Nor has it been since 1998 when President Clinton issued an executive order banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for federal civilian employees. One of Bush II’s agency heads said he wouldn’t enforce it but, remarkably, was effectively publicly rebuked by the otherwise heinous Administration when they issued a statement saying they WOULD respect the order. It still stands today, and was amplified by President Obama in 2009 adding protections for transgender federal civilian employees.

  23. Derrick from Philly says

    Thank you, Mr Bedwell.

    BTW, when is the anniversary of you escorting the great Eartha Kitt down in DC? I still think about it.

  24. says

    @Fake Kiwi aka Rick: How about you grow some balls and show your face (your actual ugly mug, not a copy/paste of the real LK’s) before you go around giving me diet tips, OK?

    BTW -It’s funny that you’re calling me a troll when anyone with eyes can go check out all our previous posts and see that i’ve never trolled ever and you’ve done nothing BUT troll.

  25. Benjamin says

    That’s a good response Little Kiwi. But I know quite a bit about Harvey Milk and it is simply true that Milk never used LGBT or any of the other alphabet soup variations and never suggested that gays and lesbians are tied to crossdressing and transsexualism. Whoever wrote that comment might be a troll or a jerk, but what he wrote is correct.

    So you really are not showing tremendous respect for Milk by pushing this idea that gay people aren’t complete and wonderful in and of themselves, and that they need crossdressers and transsexuals to complete them.

  26. says

    Wish I could go. I was there in 1978 – the whole thing was my introduction to the movement, having just moved to SF at age 18. The memory of the candlelight march will stay with me forever. A profound experience. The riots after the verdict were quite scary – that I’ll never forget either. RIP Harvey and George.

  27. Benjamin says

    Why are you ignoring me when I use this screen name? It’s not fair for you to ignore me like my family always has.

  28. greenfuzz says

    Wish I could be there there too. And I do think people tend to neglect Mayor Moscone during different tributes. RIP Harvey and George.

  29. ratbastard says

    S.F. was by almost all accounts a batsh*t crazy place in the 70s. Very high levels of violence. The Zebra Killings, the Zodiac Killing [60s into the early 70s; the original Dirty Harry movie based the serial killer on Zodiac], etc. And Zodiac may well have been a gay man from the midwest who moved to S.F. and operated a far left publication that among other things encouraged the ‘executions’ of white suburban teenagers. Google the ‘Zebra’ killings [radical far left black nationalist] and the Zodiac Killer to get a feel of what was going on in the Bay Area in the late 60s into the 70s. And I didn’t even mention the SLA and other domestic, leftist ‘radical’ groups terrorizing, bombing and killing people not just in S.F., but across the country.

  30. ratbastard says

    And don’t forget Harvey Milk, who certainly didn’t deserve to be murdered, neither did Mayor Moscone, was no saint. He deliberately outed a man as gay who had prevented President Ford from being shot by one Charles Manson’s followers. That man ended up committing suicide.

  31. Benjamin says

    Ratbastard, you are such a sc#m bag. I think that everyone should be free here to express an opinion and that we shouldn’t have an orthodoxy, but no one has the right to make up facts.

    The man who saved Pres. Ford was Oliver Sipple. At the time of the incident, he was in his thirties and was out to everyone except his parents. Milk refused to play it down. After the Ford incident brought it all out, he did have a rough patch with his parents, but he later reconciled with them.

    He died a full 14 years after the incident with Ford. He did not commit suicide.

    So for you to come on here and say “Milk deliberately outed a guy who then committed suicide” makes you a lying sc#m bag. Worse than Little Kiwi, and that is saying a lot.

    Also, the lead suspect in the Zodiac case is not a gay man. More evidence that you are a lying sc#m bag.

  32. ratbastard says


    From Wiki:

    “The national spotlight was on him immediately, and Harvey Milk responded. While discussing whether the truth about Sipple’s sexuality should be disclosed, Milk told a friend: “It’s too good an opportunity. For once we can show that gays do heroic things, not just all that caca about molesting children and hanging out in bathrooms.”[9] Milk reportedly outed Sipple as a “gay hero” to San Francisco Chronicle’s columnist Herb Caen in hopes to “break the stereotype of homosexuals” of being “timid, weak and unheroic figures”.[2][3][5] Several days later Caen wrote of Sipple as a gay man and a friend of Milk speculating Ford offered praise “quietly” because of Sipple’s sexual orientation. Sipple was besieged by reporters, as was his family. His mother refused to speak to him. Gay liberation groups petitioned local media to give Sipple his due as a gay hero. ”

    So cut the crap, Benjamin. And I’m not a “sc#mbag”. Sipple’s life deteriorated even faster after his public “outing”, than before. And the man did pretty much beg the media of his day and gay leaders like Milk to respect his privacy, which they didn’t. YOU ARE CORRECT IN THAT HE LIVED FOR MORE THAN A DECADE AFTERWARDS, but he essentially committed a slow motion suicide.

    From wiki:

    “Sipple’s mental and physical health sharply declined over the years. He drank heavily, gained weight to 300 lb (140 kg), was fitted with a pacemaker, and became paranoid and suicidal. The incident brought him so much attention that, later in life, while drinking, he would express regret towards grabbing Moore’s gun. Sipple, who was wounded in the head in Vietnam, was also diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic according to the coroner’s report.”. Sipple was USED, and his own personal wishes were ignored. What was done to him was not in his best interests. Ironically, in death he is still used. People like you, Benjamin, sound more like the real “sc#mbag”, and not me.


    Everything else I wrote about S.F. in that period of time [and other places across the nation and the world} is true. It was an ugly period of time in many ways.

  33. ratbastard says


    Moscone’s and Milk’s murders occurred about one week after the Jonestown Massacre/slaughter. Jim Jones and his cult were of course strongly associated with S.F. and S.F. politicians. From wiki:

    “The Peoples Temple also worked to get out the vote in precincts where Moscone received a 12 to 1 vote margin over Barbagelata.[6] After Peoples Temple’s work and votes by Temple members were instrumental in delivering a close victory for Moscone, Moscone appointed Temple leader Jim Jones as Chairman of the San Francisco Housing Commission.[7″