Dixie Darr

Hope Will Never Be Silent

In Learning, spirituality on June 29, 2017 at 6:00 am

In 1984, I saw the tragic documentary, The Times of Harvey Milk, (now available on YouTube) and was heartbroken at the story of his triumph and assassination.
A few years later, the movie returned to a local theater and I recommended it to my friend, Joe, a political junkie who had worked tirelessly in the Chicano rights movement and had even seen friends murdered for the cause. It seemed right up his alley.
“No,” he said, almost physically recoiling at my suggestion. “No way.”
His reaction confused me, but I came to realize that to Joe, it was a movie about a gay man. That’s all. I will never know why that frightened him so much because I don’t have friends like him anymore.
My sorrow over the documentary kept me from seeing Milk when it came out in 2008. I just didn’t think I could watch those devastating events again.
Now, thirty-plus years after the documentary, I decided maybe I could handle the movie in the comfort of my own home with a box of Kleenex nearby and the ability to hit pause whenever I needed to stop and breathe for a while.
I watched it last night. While the documentary showed a factual overview of the events, the movie gave a more intimate perspective. I felt excitement and exhilaration as the campaigns grew more successful although my anxiety increased as it drew to the end because I knew what was coming.
It is shocking to realize how little the arguments of the religious right have changed in forty years. How many more innocent people will become martyrs for the “sin” of loving someone?
The joy-filled Pride celebrations all over the country this month give me hope that at the very least we’re making progress. In the words of Harvey Milk, “Hope will never be silent.” It isn’t enough, but it’s something.

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