Demonstrators march across Acosta Bridge to support LGBTQ+ rights, protest Freedom Summer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Right now, the Acosta Bridge in Downtown Jacksonville is lit up red, white, and blue for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Freedom Summer Initiative. However, around 8 p.m. Saturday, demonstrators marched across the bridge wearing rainbow colors in protest of the initiative and to support LGBTQ+ rights.


Supporters said the LGBTQ+ population continues to grow and while they have made progress in Florida, many argue there is still a lot left to fight for.

Protesters said it discriminates against summer celebrations, like Pride and Juneteenth.

Councilmember Jimmy Peluso said despite FDOT’s decision, Jacksonville is making history.

“We’re not going to allow Tallahassee to make anyone here feel like they don’t belong. Everyone in this city pays taxes. Everyone in the state pays taxes. Everyone is equal in the law except when it comes to this suddenly,” Councilmember Peluso said.

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

Organizers and supporters say the LGBTQ+ population is growing, and Pride Month is about expanding services and care.

“There’s a lot of love and acceptance here in Jacksonville. Not everyone here is a part of the LGBTQ community, but they are our allies,” said Amy Glassman, protest organizer.

One protester, Ed Tooker said months like Pride are important for people to be more outspoken and help those that need access to LGBTQ+ care.

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While many showed up against the state’s rule, Action News Jax told you when the Freedom Summer initiative was announced, some argued the initiative was inclusive.

“How on earth can anyone get mad about our bridges being red, white, and blue? There is nothing more inclusive and American than patriotism,” Jacksonville City Councilmember Rory Diamond said.

Back in 2021, Action News Jax reported the first march across the Acosta Bridge that took place after FDOT told Jacksonville to remove the rainbow colors because it went against its permit. The march has continued during Pride Month ever since, just with a different this time.

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