American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"Milk" (2008)


Harvey Milk Speaks at the Gay Freedom Day Parade

Audio AR-XE mp3 delivered by Sean Penn


My name is Harvey Milk, and I'm here to recruit you.

I want to recruit you for the fight to preserve your democracy.

Brothers and sisters, you must come out.

Come out to your parents.

Come out to your friends, if indeed they are your friends.

Come out to your neighbors. Come out to your fellow workers.

Once and for all, let's break down the myths, and destroy the lies and distortions -- for your sake, for their sake, for the sake of all the youngsters who have been scared by the votes from Dade to Eugene.

On the Statue of Liberty it says: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be1 free." In the Declaration of Independence it is written: "All men are created equal" and "are endowed" "with certain inalienable Rights."2

So, for Mr. Briggs and Mrs. Bryant and all the bigots out there: No matter how hard you try, you can never erase those words from the Declaration of Independence. No matter how hard you try, you can never chip those words from the base of the Statue of Liberty.

That is what America is.

Love it or leave it.

1 Original quotation states "breath free" rather than "be free." The entire line originated from a poem entitled "The New Colossus" by  Emma Lazaurs

2 Partial quotation, notably missing religious reference to God. To wit: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...."

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