Milk, the independent film about the life of slain gay politician/activist Harvey Milk was one of the most talked about films of 2008. It earned Sean Penn his second Academy Award for Best Lead Actor, and writer Dustin Lance Black his first little gold man for the film’s powerful screenplay. During Black’s acceptance speech he spoke about how much of an inspiration Harvey Milk was to him as he came to terms with his own sexuality. If you were positively impacted by the film in some way, you now have the opportunity to share your story, and give thanks to those who made the film possible.
As Black put it backstage in an interview after his acceptance speech, he felt that this appearance on the Oscar stage was an opportunity to “pay it forward” to millions of people — especially teenagers living in fear of what might happen if they come out:
“For me, the whole thing was always to… pay it forward. You know, Harvey gave me his story… Oh, I’m going to cry [pauses to compose himself]… Harvey gave me his story and it saved my life. And I just thought it’s time to pass it on… The only thing I really knew I wanted to say was to tell those kids out there that they’re going to be alright.”
Cleve Jones whom was portrayed in the film by Emile Hirsch, worked for years to get the life of Harvey Milk produced for the big screen. Now that his dream has been brought to fruition thanks to Black, several people wanted to say thanks to those who succeeded in getting the movie made. After the Academy Awards there was such an outpouring of love from fans, and individuals whom are struggling with various issues due to their sexual orientation. If you were touched by the film and the life of Harvey Milk you can send a letter of support to Sean Penn, Dustin Lance Black, and Cleve Jones by visiting the Courage Campaign website.
To refresh your memory, take a look at Black’s acceptance speech during the 81st Annual Academy Awards.
Also, Cleve also gave the keynote speech at the first Camp Courage in Los Angeles and plans to attend the Fresno training on March 7-8.