MILWAUKEE — With Milwaukee's PrideFest canceled for another year due to the pandemic, you may notice some colorful additions around the city.
The Milwaukee County Transit System and local officials kicked off Pride Month by giving a Pride-themed makeover to a MCTS bus and The Hop streetcar at Cathedral Square Park on Tuesday.
Section by section, a crew wrapped the MCTS's first-ever “Pride Bus.” It features a colorful design, “MCTS Rides with Pride” written on the side and the hashtag #PrideMCTS. One of the city’s The Hop streetcars was also wrapped in an inclusive rainbow ribbon and a Pride-themed logo to help celebrate diversity.
Both vehicles include updated Pride colors: along with the colors of the rainbow, it includes black and brown for people of color, as well a powder blue, pink and white to include the transgender community.
“So, now that the whole pride flag together feels like everybody's included, this is for everybody, nobody's excluded,” MCTS employee Brianne Mueller said.
Mueller is also the artist behind the rainbow design. She hopes this 40-foot-long symbol provides a message of inclusivity.
“I know how it feels, like you don't quite belong,” she said. “So I'm hoping that [this is a] symbol of, you are welcome here. You're safe on the bus, we support you.”
“I grew up in a small town and as a queer person in a small town, you definitely feel weird and out of place, so it's not bad to get paid to make a rainbow bus,” Mueller added. “[It] feels really cool.”
The color fest doesn’t stop there; the white polar bears added to Cathedral Square Park this past winter are staying for the summer, with new splashes of color. Artist Jason Scroggin of Scroggin Studio is celebrating the LGBTQ+ community with “Massimals MKE: Rainbow,” presented by PNC.
“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.”
Additionally, several local landmarks and businesses will light up in rainbow colors throughout the month, including the Mitchell Park Domes, Hoan Bridge, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee County War Memorial Center, Northwestern Mutual, US Bank Center and more.
“I'm so happy with how this turned out,” Mueller said. “[...] Everyone deserves a safe place, where they feel welcome in Wisconsin. And it’s definitely a cool and very surreal feeling.”