SALT LAKE CITY — In a unanimous vote, the city council voted to rename 900 South as “Harvey Milk Boulevard” after the murdered gay rights leader.
The vote came after about an hour of public comment on Tuesday night, with members of the community split over the idea. Some who testified against the measure said they would support renaming streets after local heroes, while one man said naming the street was “contrary” to his personal beliefs.
Supporters said Harvey Milk inspired the modern LGBT rights movement and continues to inspire people. Troy Williams of the LGBT rights group Equality Utah noted that even Salt Lake City government — which has two openly gay men on the council and a lesbian mayor — is a result of the progress inspired by Milk.
“Salt Lake City is one of the gayest cities in America,” said Bryce Hurst, who spoke in favor of the bill and called Milk “a personal hero.”
Milk, who was a San Francisco supervisor, was among the first openly gay elected officials in America. He was assassinated in 1978. Salt Lake City Councilman Stan Penfold, who proposed the name change, got emotional as he spoke ahead of the vote about Milk’s legacy.
“Harvey Milk imagined a brave world where everybody — everybody — had value and civil rights,” said Penfold. “I like to imagine that world, too.”
Penfold told the crowd that 900 South would continue to be called that — but “Harvey Milk Boulevard” would be another name for it. He said the LGBT rights group Equality Utah would be raising funds to pay for the new street signs so taxpayers would not have to pay for it. Click here for details on the fundraising goals or to donate.