tv [untitled] December 2, 2012 11:00pm-11:30pm PST
assemblyman ammiano, [speaker not understood], moscone family, gay men's course, and all of you who are assembled herein, as i look around, i absolutely know that i had probably the greatest pleasure, other than the moscone children, of literally living with george moscone for so many years. mr. mayor, it was when we were in law school together, we were fellow janitors at hastings college of law. george moscone was amazing. he was just as aggressive about inclusionary activities. he was just as focused on sharing. and he had an immense pride in
the city and county of san francisco like no other. i suspect that much of my love of the city comes from my exposure to george in those very early years. george went through a considerable amount of evolutionary process politically. he allowed john burton to talk him into running for the state legislature. an unsuccessful effort for the state assembly. he went on to become, obviously, a supervisor in the city and county of san francisco. and in those days it was a different city. it was dramatically different. there was no such thing as a so-called progressive, david campos. there was no such thing as somebody in that category. george moscone, philip burton, represented that which we all now richly enjoy.
george went on to become a state senator. and in that capacity, scott, it was george moscone who shepherded the bill that removed criminal penalties between consenting adults in this state that cost people their positions as teachers, as doctors, as nurses, as lawyers in those days. it was a bill that we orchestrated together. and george did what has never been done since, and that is cause the senate to hookup in a 20 to 20 tie in the late dimely was flown in from colorado to break the tie to give us that bill. that set the stage, scott, for all the things that have occurred in this state, and ultimately in this nation on the issue. i must tell you that george moscone was extraordinary. (applause) >> and then george decided he
wanted to be the mayor of his city. and believe me, it was a ball having george as mayor of this city. mr. mayor, i never had so much fun. [laughter] >> as i did with george, enjoying every aspect, having been a son of the city, having been raised by a single mother here in this city, and having an extended relationship with the italian community and that heritage, having an extended relationship with a catholic community, in then probably the most radical person other than john burton in existence in this whole city. he became the mayor of this town. and he set the stage for everybody you see before you, every single zoll tear i person here on this stage is the end property of what moscone envisioned and what george moscone did.
he partnered up with harvey milk to continue that process in the halls of this incredible building. * their death on the same day and by the same hand was literally the end product of what had been an incredible team for achievement purposes in every single solitary category. and now when i walk around the city, whether it's in the embarcadaro, whether it's mission bay, whether it's sea cliff, or whether it's the outer sunset, whether it's hunters point bayview, whether it's the mission, whether it's north beach, whether it's the marina, i tell you in every single solitary space and place, i see what george moscone and harvey milk, in their existence, inspired in all of us and in the people. and, so, when we come in
remembrance, it is, in my opinion, to celebrate, to celebrate the lives of two extraordinary people, one whom i knew almost as well as i know my own brother, and that was george. and the other whom i worked with just as if he was my brother in the things that we were able to achieve together. and, so, tonight, san francisco, it's not a time to be sad. it is a time to celebrate because you are the beneficiaries of an incredible productive team that has caused san francisco to be what it is. when carol migden and the troops stepped up and said, "let's do the whole business of domestic partners," and we did it on the steps of the rotunda, that was george and harvey doing that, not us. that was george and harvey doing that. (applause)
>> and when mayor newsome called the whole world to look for a second time when he said, "people should be able to marry anybody whom they love," that was moscone and milk. literally being channeled through mr. newsome to do what caused san francisco to become the center piece of all aspects of openness, all aspects of what this nation should be about. and i tell you in celebrating, just on your own, think about your experience in san francisco. and i would be willing to almost bet that somewhere in that experience you'll find a piece of moscone and a piece of milk. and i must tell you that for me it's on a daily basis.
before coming here tonight, i told the mayor, i walked the embarcadaro. i do that quite often. i wander around san francisco. it's always amazing to me because as i wander around san francisco i'll see something or experience something that has come as a result of the most open, the most directed, and the most people-sensitive government anywhere in this world. and it comes as a result of two extraordinary people who gave their lives so that we can enjoy, and enjoy we must. thank you. (applause) >> thank you, mr. mayor. that was wonderful. i kind of messed up on the timing here. i apologize. but, so, i'm going to introduce
assemblyman tom ammiano next and then we'll have the gay men's chorus and we will go to jonathan. so, just before tom gets up, tom was one of harvey's volunteers for many campaignses. he walked precincts and he was a very brave person being a teacher at the time. and when no on 6 was an issue in our state and they were trying to use the state proposition, was trying to out law lesbian and gay teachers in our schools, tom, a gay teacher himself, spoke out and was the facebook, the picture book of that campaign. so, we aloe tom an incredible debt, and we thank you so much. * all owe (applause) [cheering and applauding] >> thank you so much. there is a note from willie brown that says, tom, be short. [laughter] >> i don't know, scott. every time i see you, i want to take off my clothes.
i don't know what that is. [laughter] >> you can read into that whatever you wanted to. i think you should see from the remarks that preceded me that one strong attribute of both these extraordinary men was a sense of humor and a sense of irony. i've often thought about the differences in their background and how they came together in that context that juxtaposition in history. you know, san francisco, as the former mayor and speaker mentioned, was very eclectic, electric at the time, women's movement, the lgbt movement, the civil rights movement, and, you know, things were happening, boys and girls. harvey's election i think made people take notice. i think that george's, george's proclivities were always in and around social justice.
i know that he was raised catholic. so was i. 16 years of catholic school has made me the man i am today. [laughter] >> and harvey influenced by jewish culture, you know, i don't think it's ever been explored enough. but if you talk to every brit, you know that harvey was a very, very much impacted by the holocaust. you know, if you remember, it happened in the '40s. it's only 20 years or so since he came onto the scene. and i think he was able to transfer, you know, that tragedy and that oppression into what was happening with gay people. he was very scrappy. i wanted to acknowledge two people who were very supportive of harvey milk and george moscone, and both of them have left us and that's howard wallace and hank wilson. (applause) >> what i loved about them was, what i loved about them was they knocked back a few and
really get into it with harvey about different issues. but the comic was always there. and i think that's the beauty of san francisco. i think that we were able to take that sense of social justice and blend it. and that day, that brutal, brutal day, you know, i can't imagine what the moscone family went through and is still going through, because this is something you don't get over. and, of course, the lgbt community in addition. you know, we've triumphed, we've said, all right, you might take away the messengers, but you're not going to take away the message. so, long live harvey milk and long live george moscone and long live san francisco. [cheering and applauding] >> thank you very much, assemblyman ammiano. i am now going to introduce jonathan moscone, who is the youngest son of mayor moscone
who was really just a young teenager at the time his father was assassinated. jonathan, i've heard you speak before. you're always so inspirational. so, i turn it over to you. thank you so much. (applause) >> thanks. i apologize, i had to write my speech so i was running out of time and i'm sorry that i directed such a bad production of wizard of oz for you at the turtle creek round in dallas. maybe you'll forgive me one day. listen, on behalf of my family gina and rebecca and jennifer and christopher, i want to thank you for inviting us to speak today. and although i am the only member of the family to speak today, i'm not speaking on their behalf. the truth is i just like to talk. [laughter] >> in fact, as i am happy to see so many people here as i do, as the comedian paula said, even if you weren't here, i'd still be up here talking.
but despite my tendencies towards reliving the admonishment of my fifth grade teacher sister grace who chastised me for having diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of ideas, i took a long while for me to say yes when stuart and ann asked me to talk a bit on the day that marks the death of george and harvey. and the reason became clear when i sat down to write my words. i'm exhausted by talking about death. i know that's not the subject of today's memorial, but it always happens on the day that george and harvey were shot. and i think i'm tired of remembering them on the worst day of their lives. i wonder that if indeed there is a heaven, and if george and harvey got in, or perhaps they made it to somewhere a little more hip, a little more happening. they might be sitting up there on november 27th of every year and think, oh, lord, not this again. i mean, it's hard for me to imagine that this would be the
day that george moscone and harvey milk would want to remember each and every year. don't get me wrong. i'm deeply touched that people remember my father and i do speak for my family in this regard. we are always and every day grateful that we live in a city that does not forget. but there's just something wrong in this notion that the day we remember our lost leaders is the most violent day of their lives, which in the case of my family was the most violent day of ours. it's almost as if we're giving the senselessness of these deaths way too much respect by centering our love and passion and memory and yearning on the day the beating hearts of these two men, hearts that were so brave, so unflinching, so immensely loving so full of life that they seemed larger than life, the day those beating hearts stopped forever. because, let's get this straight, george and harvey did not die noblely. there was no opera music. there was nothing heroic.
there was nothing romantic to be found in the loss of my dad's life. it was a senseless act. and i think why that is after all these years of loving to talk at these beautifully intentioned memorials, i can no longer bear to remember george on the day of his death. so, i think i'm going to start next year and for years to come to stop remembering november 27th and i'm going to turn back the clock a few days to george's birthday which is november 24th. and i'm going to remember that and i'm going to celebrate that and i'm going to memorialize that for the rest of my life. i'm going to ask my mother gina to remember the day that george asked her to marry him. i'm going to ask my sister rebecca what it was like to play tennis with dad, competing with him to win game, set and match. i'll ask jennifer what it was like to go to the opera with him. or chris how he and dad shared a love of talent, love and talent for basketball, making them heroes, if not studs on and off the courts. i'm going to remember the
nights george took me to my first r-rated movie, the longest yard, the original one. or when he bought an alpha romeo much to the delight of his children and ire of his wife. our vacations of sea ranch and houses with primer color doors, [speaker not understood] where we skinny dip as a family. i'm going to remember the night george when the mayoral election and we rode up portola and my father extended his arms out as if he owned this town, this town he loved with the fierce heart of his. or stopping at lorenzo's at the end of the columbus day parade for a drink. i'm going to start this kind of memorial next year on george's birthday. and by then, all of the moscone children will have looked past all of george's too brief life and see him as he was, as shakev supervisor aioto-pier's hamlet saw his father, as a man taken for all and all.
but unlike hamlet, i shall see the likes of him again. i'll see him everywhere, in every moment i hear willie brown speak. that was beautiful, willie, what you said. and the stories that my friend barbara tells of she and husband dick leaving the life of luxury in cleveland to run muni for dad. or of the dmv when a woman behind the counter looks twice at the name of my driver's license and looks up and tells me of the day she met george on the street or worked on george's campaign. or about the time in her life in our city's life when things seemed more touchable, more human, or just tells me that she's honored to meet george moscone's son. or on the first preview of the play that my dear friend tony wrote about george and me, a play called ghost life, and the first public performance up in ashlan, oregon. halfway through the second act, at long last, george shows up and the fractured city hall backdrop begins to fill with
floating lights outlining the golden gate bridge and we hear tony bennett sing his legendary recording of "i left my heart in san francisco." and then the character of george, sometimes mouthing the words, sometimes singing them quietly, moves towards john without looking, for he cannot look at his son. and he touches john's heart and then he moves away towards the city hall of john's memory and john set the stairs in the way that george did, cocky and sexy, cruel as all get out. and then the song ends. and i notice the woman sitting next to me crying. and after the play is over, after the standing ovation of tony's brave and beautiful play, as people start to leave the theater, this woman, she remains in her chair and it seems she cannot move. i gently asked her if she's all right. and she nods. and she says without looking at me because she couldn't look at
me, "i got to see my mayor again." so, maybe through art we can see again. about a month ago i braved going to the sf moment to check out the infamous bust of my dad and all i could remember growing up were the images of that controversial pedestal of gunshots and twinkies and don't think i didn't smile when i heard hostess went under. [laughter] (applause) but when i went to see the bust for that first time, a bust that i have to admit captured george's mile wide grin and dramatically imperfect teeth, i saw on the pedestal so many things that i didn't know were there. i saw the names of my brothers and sister inside a heart, my dad's favorite movie, quotes by him how much he considered being mayor, honor bestowed on him, and the things made possible for people who didn't have power, who didn't have voice, there was so much more
on that pedestal than death. and, so, i think it's time to reclaim george moscone from the narcissistic legacy or the senselessness of dan white or the well intentioned world of hollywood or the better intentioned world of theater. it's time to reclaim him from the places where the real george gets lost in the story of others, even in my own. and we gift him back to the city and to the people, to his friends and to his colleagues and to the citizens who are the fabric and texture and color of san francisco. so, all of us can stop looking at the death of george moscone and start to put him firmly in our hearts so we can see the likes of him in new community leaders, young artists, queer and colorful, innovators and students, all inside our magnificently and uniquely diverse and never-changing city. san francisco will never be what it was, nothing in life will be. but as i heard recently, we are always nostalgic for a time that never was and often wanting to avoid a future that
is inevitable. will change in san francisco as in everywhere is inevitable. and change can be beautiful. we are all of us the agents of change. as george and harvey were. each one of us is the story teller of our lives and the lives of the people we've lost. and that wasn't always the case, as willie mentioned. but because of the likes of george and harvey and so many others, all the way to our mayor ed lee, all of us have voice. all of us can tell the story. so, let's crowd source this thing. let's tell the real stories of george and harvey. stories of their hard work and politics and the families and loved ones who surrounded them, of the moments we met them on the street or on their campaigns, in the castro or north beach, the vacations, the arguments, the jokes they told, the wild times they lived through, the change they made, and the lives they lived.
thank you. (applause) >> thank you, jonathan. that was beautiful. i think this is a nice segue into the san francisco gay men's chorus who have been standing here patiently. i would like to introduce them and thank them so much for being here. they're going to sing "love can build a bridge for us." [cheering and applauding] >> [inaudible].
♪ i gladly walk across the desert with no shoes upon my feet to share with you the last bite of bread i had to eat and all -- and i would swim out to save you in your sea of broken dreams when with all your hopes are sinking let me show you what love means ♪ let us build a bridge [speaker not understood]
♪ let us build a bridge don't you think it's time don't you think it's time let us stand together [speaker not understood] we can do anything anything anything keep believing in our hearts [speaker not understood] love can build a bridge ♪ [speaker not understood] ♪ [speaker not understood] don't you think it's time, don't you think it's time love can build a bridge [speaker not understood]
♪ ♪ yes, it's time ♪ [cheering and applauding] >> you have two men who were never afraid to be who they were, even if it meant being different, even if it meant going against the grain. and i think that oftentimes as historic figures become part of the mainstream, we forget that what's so unusual and so unique about george moscone and harvey milk is the fact that they were not afraid to go against the mainstream. and i think that's something that often gets forgotten. and one thing that i want to say, especially when it comes to harvey milk and what he represents to me -- and i say
this not only as a gay man, but as a gala -- gay latino man -- for me harvey milks legacy was not so much about lgbt rights, though that was part of it. for me harvey milk was about civil rights and the rights of all people and the recognition that we as minimum bier of the lgbt community are connected to other communities, and that we cannot be for lgbt rights if we're also not for the rights of other groups. that we cannot be -- (applause) >> -- only about the lgbt community. that if you believe in gay rights and lgbt rights, that you necessarily have to be for the rights of immigrants. that you necessarily have to be for the rights of women. that you necessarily have to be for the right for anyone who is disinfranchised in society. that to me is the essence of
that legacy. * and why it's a legacy that transcends, transcends the lgbt community in terms whatv harvey milk was about. so, as an openly gay latino man, i am grateful for that legacy. and i am grateful that harvey milk, that george moscone, have become a beacon of light and hope not only for the lgbt community, but for so many communities throughout this country. and not just this country, but the world. and, so, that is what's so special, is that it's a legacy that transcends san francisco and it's truly a worldwide legacy. so, it is my honer to be here tonight. i also want to acknowledge a couple of people that are in the audience. * honor we saw the acknowledgments of the mayors, of the members of the board of supervisors. i also see former supervisor bevan dufty who is in the audience that represented the castro district that was also represented by harvey milk. (applause)
>> i see our city attorney, dennis herrera who is here and whose office has been fighting for the rights of our community to marry the person they love. (applause) >> so thank you, dennis. i see donna who is another institution in the lgbt community. [cheering and applauding] >> so, in closing, i want to say that the way that i remember george moscone, the way that i remember harvey milk is to simply be true to who i am and to not be afraid to be who i am, even if it means doing and being something that is unpopular at times. thank you. (applause) >> thank you so much, supervisor. i wanted to acknowledge our co-sponsors today, the san francisco -- san francisco. the harvey milk foundation which was started by stuart milk and myself, worked to put this on in partnership with the
san francisco harvey milk gay democratic club, gay and lesbian democratic club, the harvey milk civil rights academy and of course the gay men's chorus who are performing here tonight. so, on that note i'm going to turn this over to my dear friend stuart who is harvey's nephew and someone himself who has been speaking out all around the world for civil rights and equality for all. stuart? [cheering and applauding] >> thank you. it's very interesting thanksgiving this week. i was mentioning to the moscone family did not fall on this remembrance. and therefore, the milk family, we were all together and we actually had a little bit more joy because we did have a week that separated it. it's a