Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza (FHMP) is a Castro Neighborhood organization committed to maintaining and improving the public space named in honor of the civil rights icon.
San Francisco’s Harvey Milk Plaza, at the heart of the Castro District, is sacred ground for LGBT civil rights history. FHMP is undertaking this current effort to reimagine and reinvigorate this public space into a fitting and lasting tribute to the plaza’s history and namesake, so that Harvey Milk’s legacy may continue to educate and inspire generations of visitors. The new plaza will call to visitors and inspire them to create change in their own lives and their own communities. FHMP want to build a place where hope will live, forever.
"No matter what the world has taught us about ourselves, we can be beautiful and we can get our thing together ... Harvey was a prophet ... he lived by a vision ... Something very special is going to happen in this city and it will have Harvey Milk's name on it." – Harry Britt, 1978
In July 2016, SFMTA reached out to Castro CBD and Castro Merchants to as part of outreach efforts around the planned accessibility upgrades project. Members of these two organizations, along with other city employees and community members, coalesced to discuss the idea of improvements at Harvey Milk Plaza. This group became the Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza. One of the first initiatives was a pair of community meetings to held in January 2017 to workshop ideas around the plaza and gauge community support. Collectively, the feedback gathered in these initial community meetings indicated the community's desire to make significant improvements to the current space, which seems out of step with the importance of the individual for which it is named. For 37 years, this plaza has served millions of people as a transit hub, a pilgrimage destination, a gathering spot, a source of inspiration and a beacon in the community. As the plaza approaches its 40th anniversary, FHMP is filled with great optimism for an improved plaza that functions on all levels, including the mission of honoring Harvey Milk.
Initial organizational meetings of FHMP included volunteer community leader Gregg Cassin and representatives of the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District, Castro Merchants, representation from then-Supervisor Scott Wiener’s office, the Horizons Foundation, and the GLBT Historical Society. Andrea Aiello, Executive Director of the Castro/Upper Market CBD, has chaired the initial meetings. FHMP as an organization, is evolving. The engagement with the local community, city agencies and others are critical components to fulfilling a shared vision for Harvey Milk Plaza. We are keen to include a vast network of stakeholders in this process, we hope you will participate in this journey with us!