Community members display their own version of pride, light up Main Street Bridge in San Marco

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On Friday night, community members gathered to display their own version of pride -- by lighting up the Main Street Bridge in San Marco with rainbow colors.


This comes after the Florida Department of Transportation said all state bridges must be lit red, white, and blue all summer long for Governor Ron DeSantis’s Freedom Summer.

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Saturday kicks off Pride Month. And for years, the Acosta Bridge was lit with rainbow colors during June. But since that won’t happen this year, people found another way to show their pride.

Seventy people held flashlights of the six different colors of pride to illuminate the rainbow on the Main Street Bridge.

“This is an awesome experience,” participant Rebecca Thacker-Sanchez said.

“It feels really fun actually, I feel like we’re writing history today,” participant Andres Santandreu said.

Light display organizer, Matthew McAllister, says tonight’s event was about showing how freedom and diversity can coexist together.

“Celebrating freedom is great, exercising it is better,” McAllister said.

RELATED STORY: Red, white, and blue display on Acosta Bridge means no colors for ‘Pride Month’ or other events

McAllister put this event together in a matter of two days because he said it’s important to show solidarity.

“This notion that it’s either freedom or diversity is nonsense,” McAllister said. “So, what we hope to show tonight -- this is not a protest. It’s really a celebration. It’s a celebration of diversity, and an exercise of freedom.”

The Acosta Bridge is right across from the Main Street Bridge, and McAllister says both color displays side by side are meant to be a symbol of unity.

“It is about freedom, so let’s show our freedom, and let’s show our colors, and let’s show up with pride,” Thacker-Sanchez said.

“I think we can all fit in, and we all need to kind of make room for each other,” Santandreu said.

Dozens of people gathered at the Friendship Fountain to watch the light show.

“It is the freedom that gives us the ability to express our Pride,” participant Lauren Marble said. “Without that freedom, we wouldn’t be here celebrating.”

RELATED STORY: INVESTIGATES: FDOT, JTA could be on collision course over Acosta Bridge lights ahead of Pride Month

Thacker-Sanchez said she felt liberated participating in the event.

“We are Americans, we are LGBTQ+, we’re all of it,” Thacker-Sanchez said. “And we are united side by side as it should be.”

While community members kicked off Pride Month on the Main Street Bridge, they will be ending it with a March on the Acosta Bridge on June 29.

Meanwhile, the Acosta Bridge will be lit red, white, and blue up until Labor Day weekend.

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