Southwest Freeway, City Hall displays will also commemorate Pulse Nightclub massacre on June 12.
By Lourdes Zavaleta
Seven bridges over Houston’s Southwest Freeway will again be lit in rainbow colors during Pride Month this year.
The bridges will be lit in rainbow colors on June 12 to memorialize the Pulse Nightclub massacre, and from June 18 through 24 for Pride Week, according to longtime LGBTQ activist Dennis Beedon, who submitted the request.
“In honor of Pride, this needs to be continuously done,” says Beedon, whose request for rainbow-colored lights was also approved in 2017. “We are all part of collective society, regardless of color, race, creed, or sexual orientation. The lights are a reminder of that.”
Beedon, a former member of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s LGBTQ Advisory Board, says he was at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando two weeks before the 2016 shooting that left 49 people dead. Last year, he asked the Montrose Management District to light the bridges in rainbow colors as a memorial to the Pulse victims, and to mark Pride.
The Montrose bridges were first lit as part of a freeway widening project completed in 2001. After the original lights burned out, the Montrose Management District rallied community support to install LED fixtures, and the bridges shone again in 2016.
Since then, the bridges have been lit in special colors for holidays, historical events, and city celebrations.
The bridges went dark for a brief period in January 2018 when the Montrose Management District could not pay its utility bill. Donations from Mayor Turner, Reliant Energy, and the community restored the lights.
Beedon, who is originally from Chicago, currently lives with his partner of 20 years in southwest Houston. During his 40 years in H-town, Beedon has worked for the Assistance Fund, volunteered for the mayor’s office, and helped coordinate events for Pride Houston. Now semi-retired, Beedon works in HIV/AIDS funding, and will complete two other projects to commemorate Pulse this June.
He donated a brick that reads “Pulse 49” to be placed Tinker Field History Plaza, a former ballpark that was reconstructed in Orlando to honor baseball legends as well as local and national heroes of the civil rights movement.
On June 6, at Montrose Boulevard and California Street in Houston, Beedon will erect rainbow-colored signs reading, “The Pulse Massacre should be forgiven but not forgotten.”
“Pulse is personal for me and all of my cohorts, fellow members of the LGBTQ community,” Beedon says. “That day, 49 people were massacred. Many dreams were destroyed.”
Houston will also be showing its LGBTQ Pride in other ways this month. For the second year, Pride Houston has installed 32 rainbow-colored banners along the downtown parade route, on Smith and Milam streets from the Rusk to Clay intersections.
And City Hall will again be lit in rainbow colors on June 12 to commemorate Pulse, and on June 22 and 23 for Houston Pride.