I, like many others in the community, was delighted to see the Pride-themed art crosswalk at Tejon and Colorado. However, I was disappointed to learn that it will only be installed through Monday, July 15. As one of your Mayor’s Young Leaders and a recent transplant to Colorado Springs, I am disheartened that our celebration is only one weekend long, when every major American city celebrates Pride for an entire month.
As evidenced in our pride celebration at America the Beautiful Park, Pride is good business. Companies such as UCHealth, State Farm, Progressive and The Mining Exchange were front and center in America the Beautiful Park. In other cities, Fortune 500 companies spend $10,000-$35,000 on floats to show their commitment to equality and millions more in marketing to the LGBT community and their allies. Furthermore, Millennials — a demographic of great interest to the future of our city — overwhelmingly support LGBT issues.
If we are to retain Millennials who choose to move here while attracting new businesses and employees, we must actively demonstrate that we have moved past our reputation as ground zero for the “Hate State” movement. That requires work, and may be uncomfortable to some. However, a rainbow art installation on one crosswalk for two weeks seems like a beautiful, if temporary, way to show that Colorado Springs has become an inclusive and welcoming community to all.