San Francisco International Airport (SFO) opened its $2.4bn Harvey Milk Terminal 1 on July 23. It is the world’s first airport terminal to be named after a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Harvey Milk was the first openly gay elected public official in California. He served on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors for eleven months before he and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated in 1978.
Airport director, Ivar C Satero, stated: “Harvey Milk Terminal 1 sets a new benchmark for the airport experience, and serves as a tribute to the life and legacy of a pioneering civil rights leader. For millions of people around the world, SFO is the first impression of the San Francisco Bay Area, and Harvey Milk Terminal 1 showcases what makes our region great: a spirit of innovation, a focus on the environment, and most importantly, a commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion. I hope travellers around the world are inspired by the story of Harvey Milk in the terminal at SFO that bears his name.”
Nine days before he died, Milk recorded an audio will to be ‘played only in the event of his death by assassination’: “My election gave somebody else – one more person – hope. After all, that’s what it’s about. It’s not about personal gain. It’s not about ego. It’s not about power. It’s about giving those young people out there…hope. You gotta give them hope.” – Harvey Milk
The focal point of the new terminal is the exhibit, Harvey Milk: Messenger of Hope, honouring the civil rights leader and his impact on LGBTQ+ rights. Spanning nearly 394ft (120m), it includes 100 dramatically blown-up images of Milk – many crowdsourced from the public – as well as art, mementos and ephemera.