Milwaukee Pride, Inc.
Press Release

Milwaukee Pride responds to Orlando tragedy

PrideFest honors victims and families with tribute events

By - Jun 12th, 2016 12:13 pm

Milwaukee Pride, Inc. wishes to express its absolute sympathy after last night’s heartbreaking hate crimes in Orlando. Our love and support goes to the victims, survivors, their friends and families, and hope that all can find peace in the wake of this horrifying event.

“We are furious about this senseless violence,” said Wes Shaver, president elect of Milwaukee Pride, Inc. “This act of terror sought to silence our community during a month of national LGBTQ celebration. We will not and cannot allow ourselves to be silenced.”

As the only LGBTQ festival in the world with permanent grounds, PrideFest Milwaukee has enjoyed heightened security since its arrival at the Henry W. Maier Festival Park in 1996.  Three levels of security, including Milwaukee Police Department, Summerfest and PrideFest staff, patrol the grounds from open to close each year.

“Unlike some pride festivals, our grounds are open only to ticketed guests who pass through our front gates,” said Eric Heinritz, executive director of Milwaukee Pride, Inc. “All personal items are subject to search before entry, and we do not allow carry-ins. While some may find these rules inconvenient, our first and foremost priority must be the safety of our guests.”

While there is no threat to PrideFest Milwaukee, the PrideFest production team responded immediately to the Orlando incident.  Since 7:30 a.m., this all-volunteer team has been meeting with local, state and federal agencies to provide the highest level of security possible.

  • Today, the festival will introduce full metal detection at the admission gates and increase security staffing across all areas, for the added safety and peace of mind of all visitors.
  • In addition, the festival plans a tribute event at 4:00 p.m. at the Miller Lite Mainstage.  Following a short presentation, PrideFest will honor a moment of silence for Orlando victims throughout the entire festival grounds.
  • Today’s performers are encouraged to honor the tragedy during all scheduled performances.

“Today is a day for LGBTQ community solidarity,” said Michail Takach, communications director of Milwaukee Pride, Inc. “While thoughts and prayers are welcome, action is required. Today is a day to come out, to be seen, and to be heard, in honor of those whose day was stolen from them. Today is a day to remember where we started and why we started.”

“Come together at the Milwaukee Pride Parade in Walker’s Point.  Come together at PrideFest at Milwaukee’s lakefront. Come together with our Proud Partners throughout Wisconsin.”

“Wherever you are, today is a day to celebrate your right to live proud.”

Questions? Please contact us at
Festival information available at

#Orlando 4:00 P.M.

#Orlando 4:00 P.M.

About Milwaukee Pride
The mission of Milwaukee Pride, Inc., is:

  • to educate both the general community and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer (LGBTQ) communities about needs, issues and various aspects of the LGBTQ culture;
  • to provide a forum to celebrate the history and accomplishments of LGBTq people;
  • to create an environment for networking and outreach for services and community opportunities for LGBTQ people and their families and friends; and
  • any other activities exclusively for charitable, educational, and research purposes, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code.

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