The iconic activist Harvey Milk is honored throughout San Francisco, from a terminal at SFO to art centers; San Franciscans today have many reminders of him and his work. One memorial, Harvey Milk Plaza, is being renovated to further honor him and what he stood for during his time as an activist.
The project is by the organization Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza, which was first formed in 2016 when talks of putting an elevator in the plaza sparked discussions about changing the plaza that holds such cultural significance.
Significance of Harvey Milk Plaza
The plaza sits at the heart of the Castro District, as well as a major transportation hub that connects the neighborhood to the rest of the city. A candlelight vigil was held in the plaza after Milk’s tragic death, along with many protests and gatherings throughout the years.
Reimagining the iconic space
The new project aims to honor Harvey Milk and represent the movement he was dedicated to. According to the landscape and urban design firm, SWA, which is collaborating on the project, the design “… includes features dedicated to visibility and representation of the wide spectrum of people encompassed by the LGBTQ+ community.” The goals for the renovation were sourced from feedback from the community, and four major categories emerged. Honoring Harvey Milk, a community gathering space, safety, and accessibility are all major components the community wanted emphasized with the new project.
The plaza was initially constructed as a Muni station and was unofficially given the name Harvey Milk Plaza after his death. It wasn’t until 1985 that Mayor Diane Feinstein officially named the corner of the intersection “Harvey Milk Plaza.” In 2017, the glowing sign “Hope Will Never Be Silent” was added to the plaza by Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza.
There will be a community event on January 25th from 6 to 8 pm to discuss the project, RSVPs are required for the event.