(CNN) — As of this week, Terminal 1 at San Francisco International Airport will henceforth be called Harvey Milk Terminal 1. Milk, who was the first openly gay person elected to public office in the state of California, served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for eleven months, before he was assassinated in 1978.
The naming effort was the brainchild of David Campos, a former member of the Board of Supervisors, who introduced legislation that failed to pass back in 2013 to rename the entire airport after Milk. It’s appropriate for San Francisco at this time to recognize that members of the LGBT community are equal members of our society and to recognize the work of this hero,” Campos said in 2013. “It sends a clear message of hope and civil rights, not just here but abroad.”
Terminal 1 at San Francisco International Airport will henceforth be called Harvey Milk Terminal 1.
In 2017 one of Campos’s former aides, current Supervisor Hillary Ronen, picked up the mantle, this time to name Terminal 1 after the slain supervisor.
The news around the previous effort resulted in a tidal wave of messages opposing the renaming, and there were reported death threats. “He came up with what he thought was a non-controversial idea to name all of SFO after Harvey Milk,” Ronen said at a San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting in July 2017. “Us aides thought it would sail through with little fanfare. That didn’t quite work out.”
Nine of the 25 gates planned in the newly-renovated terminal are now in operation. The maiden flights were Southwest #2293 bound for Las Vegas, and JetBlue #16, headed for New York’s JFK airport. The renovation, which cost $2.4 billion, is ongoing, with all gates scheduled to be open by 2020. The terminal will serve both domestic and international flights.
Inside the terminal, travelers will encounter a new art exhibit: Harvey Milk: Messenger of Hope. The 380-foot installation is a tribute to Milk’s legacy and LGBTQ rights. It includes historic images, campaign signs, press clippings and quotes. Passengers will also find renovated seating areas, including a sequence of floor-to-ceiling window-facing lounge chairs that evoke mid-century modernism as well as retail and dining outlets.
The design team behind the project, Joint Venture, focused on both visual distinction and sustainability, and hope to receive USGBC LEEDv4 Platinum certification.
SFO refers to the just-opened Harvey Milk Terminal 1 as “a uniquely San Francisco experience … showcasing what makes our region great: a spirit of innovation, a focus on the environment, and most importantly, a commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion.”