Saturday, October 11, 2008

Big Shoes

The first person I met when thinking about applying to graduate school at New College of California was Harry Britt, the former San Francisco Supervisor appointed by Mayor Dianne Feinstein in 1979 to the seat vacated by the assassination of the legendary gay activist Harvey Milk. As luck would have it, in 1987, Harry narrowly lost out in a Congressional race to Nancy Pelosi.

I doubt that Harry would ever have risen to become Speaker of the House, but there are measurements of worth that surpass that type of power, and I'd prefer to call Harry Britt a friend over Nancy Pelosi any day.

With the documentary about Harvey Milk coming out soon, I thought about the courage it took to step into his shoes immediately after his murder in San Francisco City Hall, as well as the devotion Harry showed toward his students over his long tenure at New College. I'll always be grateful he made me feel so valued and welcome there.


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