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MCTS, Community Partners Announce Pride Month 2021 Celebrations

MILWAUKEE — Officials from MCTS, Milwaukee County, the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Downtown BID #21, Milwaukee Pride, and other partners gathered for an event at Cathedral Square Park on June 1 to help kick off Pride Month and unveil some of the exciting ways the community is coming together to celebrate.

Click here to watch video of the full press conference!

The month of June is observed nationally as Pride Month for the LGBTQ+ community. Pride Month honors the 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York City, which marked the beginning of the modern movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ+) Americans.

This year, since Milwaukee’s annual PrideFest is not able to take place in June like it normally would, local municipalities and organizations are finding additional ways to celebrate and promote diversity, inclusion, and respect for all.

Some of the creative displays that residents can look forward to seeing over the next few weeks include:

  • MCTS Pride Bus: The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) is rolling out its first-ever ‘Pride Bus’ starting June 1. The 40-foot-long bus features a colorful design, the phrase ‘MCTS Rides with Pride’, and the hashtag #PrideMCTS. The bus’s normal paint scheme has been replaced with a rainbow design featuring inclusive colors – like black and brown to represent people of color; as well as pink, white, and powder blue in a nod to the Transgender Pride flag.
  • The Hop: The City of Milwaukee’s streetcar, The Hop, is wrapping one of its three-piece, articulated cars with an inclusive rainbow ribbon, Pride-themed Hop logo, and special messaging to help celebrate diversity and remind passengers -- as well as residents, employees, and visitors of the downtown community -- of the important occasion. The design will also promote “Massimals MKE: Rainbow” at Cathedral Square Park.
  • “Massimals MKE: Rainbow”: The five polar bears that inhabited downtown Milwaukee’s Cathedral Square Park this past winter are back for the summer – and this time, they’ve received a colorful makeover! Artist Jason Scroggin of Scroggin Studio is behind this refreshed public art installation – presented by PNC Bank – which makes for a great Pride Month photo-op.
  • "True Colors" Mural Installation: The boat landing stairs along the Milwaukee River, behind the Marcus Performing Arts Center’s Peck Pavilion, will be transformed into a temporary art installation called “True Colors”, by artist Josephine Rice. The beautiful display, supported by Northwestern Mutual, will debut the first week of June.
  • Landmarks Lighting Up: Several local landmarks and businesses will light up in rainbow colors at various points throughout the month, including: the Mitchell Park Domes, Hoan Bridge, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee County War Memorial Center, Northwestern Mutual, US Bank Center, 600 EAST Wisconsin, The Pfister Hotel, Lakefront Brewery, and others.

“The new bus design rolled out by MCTS this Pride Month speaks to the first focus area of Milwaukee County’s strategic plan to achieve racial equity: intentional inclusion,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “Intentional inclusion means, in part, creating and nurturing an inclusive culture. The creative design on this bus serves as a reminder that we are committed to building inclusive spaces for all our residents – regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, race, or religion. I’m proud that the MCTS team shares these goals wholeheartedly and is committed to ensuring that our buses are a welcoming space for all passengers and employees.”

“We’ve worked hard – and continue to work hard – to make sure our friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors in Milwaukee’s LGBTQ+ community feel supported,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “Pride Month is an opportunity to reflect on the progress that’s already been made – and the challenges still ahead in the effort to achieve equal justice and opportunity for all. I’m particularly pleased to have both The Hop and MCTS be leaders in this effort, as public transit’s role in advancing equity and providing equal access to opportunity and advancement is critical to our community’s continued growth.”

“As we continue to build a more inclusive downtown, we are so proud to partner across the community to celebrate Pride Month with exciting initiatives, including lighting our landmarks in rainbow and adding colorful art installations to our public spaces," said Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21.

“I could not be happier with the collaborative spirits of my colleagues at Milwaukee Downtown, MCTS, Milwaukee County, and the City of Milwaukee,” said Wes Shaver, President of Milwaukee Pride. “This opportunity to work together, collaborate, and amplify LGBTQ+ visibility throughout our community is truly remarkable.”

PrideFest, which normally takes place at Henry Maier Festival Park, had to be called off in June 2020 and June 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers are still considering whether this year’s event can be held at a later date. In the meantime, PrideFest’s Health & Wellness area – which is normally available to festival goers along the lakefront –  has gone digital in the form of an online directory connecting people to important resources that support living a healthy life.

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