The People’s Flag of Milwaukee – Is it Right For Milwaukee?
Whether you live in the city or not, you’ve probably seen the People’s Flag of Milwaukee fluttering in your neighborhood. This flag has become the symbol of pride in Milwaukee. Initially, it was a result of a grassroots campaign. It started when a group of people decided to redesign the city’s flag. The group met with everyone they could think of, including artists and designers. After gathering over 1,000 submissions, the team narrowed it down to five finalists. These five designs were then voted on by the public.
Ultimately, the design that won was Sunrise Over the Lake. The Sunrise design features a rising sun over a reflection of Lake Michigan. In the reflection, light blue bars represent the three rivers that run through the city. Also, the golden barley stalk on the left represents the city’s brewing history.
The design also features an entirely new symbol. The “M” Star is a bold symbol that stands out. It’s edgy and colder than the sun, but it’s also a representation of the city’s culture. Other symbols include the Indian head in the center, which is a representation of Native American origins. And the gear in the center symbolizes industry.
Since the announcement of the design in June, the People’s Flag has spread across the city, and more and more companies are adopting the design as their own. You can see it on a variety of items, from coffee mugs to bike helmets. If you’re a fan, you can contact your local Common Council representatives to ask for official recognition of the design.
However, many alders and legislators are not too thrilled about the flag. Some say the contest was not fair, and that the selection process did not include enough diversity. Others say the design doesn’t reflect Milwaukee’s current civic identity.
The Milwaukee Arts Board recommended that the city move forward with a new flag design, but the Common Council has been hesitant. Alderman Russell Stamper expressed doubts about the campaign’s ability to reach the masses. Another alder, Robert Bauman, fumed that the campaign didn’t include neighborhoods important to the city’s demographics.
But, if the council’s decision is to adopt the flag, it will have to go through a committee. And the committee is already packed with divisions. If the debate gets ugly, it’s only likely to be counterproductive.
There are now three mock ups of the design, each with a different element. They include the Milwaukee Bucks, the Milwaukee Police patch, and a new streetcar. A full website has been created devoted to all of them.
But, at the committee meeting on Thursday, May 11, supporters of the People’s Flag hoped to overcome one of the hurdles. They hoped to get the issue passed by the Common Council, but they were disappointed. While Alderman Rainey supports the flag, several alders questioned whether the campaign was inclusive enough.
The People’s Flag campaign has become a popular cause. The campaign launched in 2016 and has received more than 1,000 submissions, which were whittled down to five finalists. Once the People’s Flag is adopted, it will have to go through a full vote before Common Council. That vote will take place this summer.