After a record-breaking Mid-South Pride this year, there’s even more LGBTQ+ recognition happening in Memphis. In its first official decision, the newly formed Public Art Committee has unanimously approved the petition for a rainbow crosswalk to be installed at the intersection of Cooper & Young.
This effort has been led by openly gay city council candidate Jerred Price, who has been petitioning for the sidewalk since November of last year. We spoke to Jerred about his motivations:
“I went to Atlanta Pride every year and saw that they had one–this was right after Pulse happened. I asked myself, why doesn’t Memphis or Nashville have one?”
Later that year Jerred began drawing up concepts and researching where exactly the crosswalk might go in Memphis. He began to look into census data and found something truly remarkable–that Cooper Young had the largest concentration of same-sex identifying households in the entire Southeast. Thus, he had found a perfect location for the crosswalk– an inclusive and diverse community, home not only to many LGBT residents and gay friendly businesses but also our LGBT advocacy center OUTMemphis.
He began pursuing this cause wholeheartedly thereafter–going to city engineering and city legal to obtain the documents and permits he needed. In April of 2019 he started the petition on Change.org to gather signatures and local support for the project. He also reached out to the Cooper Young Community Association (CYCA) whose board unanimously approved the proposal and began working alongside Jerred.
After multiple committee meetings, public notices, and communications with business owners and residents, the petition has been officially approved. Jerred and the CYCA have tentatively planned for the sidewalk to be completed by the end of October! This crosswalk will be the first in the state of Tennessee to be installed–as Jerred put it, ” Memphis is now leading the state in LGBT recognition and advocacy.”