ACLU of Wisconsin rework states flag for Pride

As LGBT people across the nation celebrate Pride Month and work to change public perspective, the ACLU of Wisconsin is taking a new look at the Badger State’s flag by unveiling an alternative version at pride festivities in Milwaukee and Eau Claire. 

By appearances, the front is an official Wisconsin flag – with a sailor and a miner flanking a shield.  But on the back, it’s revealed that the sailor and miner are actually holding hands.  With the upgrade, the ACLU is sending a strong message that the organization is committed to defending the rights of all Wisconsites. The state’s motto of Forward” on the flag further plays into the ACLU’s commitment of progressing civil liberties.

The work was created, pro-bono, by global marketing agency VML. Miniature versions of the flag were recently handed out along  the Milwaukee’s pride parade route and at a booth at Eau Claire’s activities. The flags will also be available at Walworth County’s Pride Fair on Aug. 19 and at Madison’s OutReach Pride Parade & Rally in Madison on Aug, 20.

About the Campaign

Kristin Hansen, ACLU of Wisconsin Development Director told us:

“We’re just thrilled that Sean and the folks at VML reached out to us. We love Wisconsin, and we think marriage equality, and love in general, makes our state stronger and a better place to live. The most common reaction, by far, is a puzzled look of “it’s the state flag, nice, but what’s the big deal?” Then we turn it over. Their eyes open wide, they throw their heads back, and laugh. “That’s awesome! Can I have two?” Last night at an event a woman held it up and said, “They’ve been waiting since 1848 to get married!” The ACLU deals with serious issues every day – it’s nice to be a little sassy once in a while.”

Sean Burns, Executive Creative Director at VML, who created the work told us:  

“I’ve been an ACLU member for years, and I’ve always appreciated the work they do.  So this was certainly a passion project for me.”

“In Wisconsin, the state flag is so ubiquitous. My hope was that once we revealed our version of the back side of the flag, people would never look it the same way again – but that they’d equate it with togetherness and unity.”



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