The city of Madison unveiled its first “Rainbow Crossing,” — a rainbow crosswalk — Thursday, where State Street and Capitol Square meet.
The ribbon cutting event for the new crosswalk took place at 4 p.m. Thursday, just before the Madison Night Market had its final event, an article from KVOW said.
Former alder Lindsay Lemmer, current alder Patrick Heck and city staff pushed to create a rainbow crosswalk in Madison for years in an effort to honor and celebrate members of the LGBTQIA+ community, according to the City of Madison website.
Friends of the Madison Art Commission raised the funds necessary to see the project out, according to the City of Madison website.
The project has been officially filed since February 2020, but was derailed by COVID-19, Madison Arts Program administrator Karin Wolf said.
Now that it has been completed, she sees it as a symbol to members of the LGBTQIA+ community that Madison is a welcoming place for them, Wolf said.
“It’s a cultural signifier that Madison is a welcoming and inclusive city, not only for our LGBTQIA residents, but for visitors as well,” Wolf said.
Rainbow crosswalks are visible in more than 20 cities across the nation, and symbolize inclusion, according to an article from OnMilwaukee.
Four decades ago, Wisconsin was the first state to codify gay rights, allowing protection to gay and lesbian residents for housing, employment, credit and public accomodation, according to the Milwaukee Public Library.
As of 2019, 3.8% of Wisconsin residents above 18 years of age identified themselves as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, according to the Movement Advancement Project website.
The rainbow crosswalk will serve as a monument to the growing LGBTQIA+ community in Madison, Wolf said.