About 100 people turned out on the eve of Harvey Milk Day to commemorate a dark day in San Francisco’s history: the 40th anniversary of the White Night riots. LGBTs took to the streets May 21, 1979, after a San Francisco Superior Court jury convicted disgruntled ex-supervisor Dan White of voluntary manslaughter in the killings of Milk, a city supervisor, and then Mayor George Moscone. Police responded by raiding a Castro gay bar. The event began with a rally at Harvey Milk Plaza, followed by a march to City Hall, where 40 years ago people smashed windows and set police vehicles on fire, angry that White had not been convicted of first-degree murder. As the marchers made their way down Market Street, large photographs of Milk and Moscone were displayed. A number of chants were shouted in unison, such as “Two, four, six, eight, smash the church, smash the state,” a chant that was also said in 1979, according to Tommi Avicolli Mecca, along time queer activist. The marchers also chanted on more topical issues facing the community today, such as “Housing is a human right,” and “Our bodies, our selves, our right to decide,” a reference to the strict abortion bans recently passed in Georgia, Alabama, and Ohio.
by David-Elijah Nahmod Wednesday May 22, 2019 for the Bay Area Reporter.