As part of Philadelphia’s reform agenda, the City will lead engagement sessions with the community and employees. It will also begin a review of sculptures, landmarks, and names of public spaces.
Community engagement subcommittee and sessions
Community Engagement subcommittee and engagement sessions
Foster conversations between institutions and residents to address structural racism and racial inequity issues in the city
Since June 2020, the City’s Pathways to Reform, Transformation, and Reconciliation have hosted and sponsored 21 public events aimed at public safety, police reform, community wellness, community empowerment, and reconciliation.
Subcommittee to identify community conversations needed
The Community Engagement subcommittee facilitates the work of the Steering Committee to discuss, plan, and organize events with the Philadelphia community.
Citywide Racial Equity Strategy
The Pathways Steering Committee’s shared findings and recommendations are supporting the Administration as it continues to implement the racial equity, diversity, and inclusion strategies laid out in Executive Order 1-20, which Mayor Kenney signed in January 2020.
Among other things, the Executive Order formalized the Administration’s citywide Racial Equity Strategy, which sets forth a shared framework to embed racial equity as an explicit governing principle—a lens all City departments and agencies will use to assess how their operations and policies, impact all Philadelphians, including historically-marginalized communities. Under the Executive Order, all City departments will be required, by the end of 2023, to conduct Racial Equity Assessments and create Racial Equity Action Plans. Departments will complete these assessments and action plans in a phased approach, beginning with the first cohort of departments in 2020.
Public Landmarks Review
Review public holidays, art, landmarks, and monuments
Statue removals and Crown mural installation
On June 3, 2020, under an executive order from Mayor Kenney, the City removed the Frank Rizzo statue from the front of the Municipal Services Building. Three weeks later, the City initiated a public process for possible removal of the Christopher Columbus statue in Marconi Plaza. This motion was approved on August 12, 2020 and placed in temporary storage. The removals were supported by the Steering Committee, as these statues long stood as symbols of systemic oppression, bigotry, and the legacies of racial inequality for communities of color.
Further, the Pathways Steering Committee supported Mural Arts Philadelphia to recognize the voices of the summer’s protestors through the installation of a mural named Crown by local artist Russell Craig in front of the Municipal Services Building. Crown is a response to the summer 2020 protests against police brutality, supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, and the ongoing fight to end systemic racism and inequality.
The Landmarks and Monuments Review
The Landmarks and Monuments Review is a public-driven process to ensure that the City of Philadelphia’s values of inclusiveness, integrity, and respect for the diversity of its citizenry, visitors, and history is reflected in its monuments and public art, as well as in the names of its City-owned landmarks. The Landmarks and Monuments Review will set the criteria and a process to rename or change any landmark or monument that does not align with these values. The process will also ensure that the future naming of landmarks and the commissioning of new public art and monuments reflect these values. This process is led by the Office of Arts and Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE).
- Held meetings with the Pathways Steering Committee, the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Streets Department, Managing Directors Office, Law Department, Department of Public Property, the Records Department, Mayor’s Office, Philadelphia Department of Planning and Development, Philadelphia Historical Commission, and the Philadelphia Art Commission to develop a draft of the criteria and process for the Landmarks and Monuments Review.
- Reviewed how cities and universities are addressing confederate monuments, the history of Philadelphia street names, and best practices in community engagement to inform the City of Philadelphia’s Landmarks and Monuments Review process.
- Worked with the Office of Information Technology to develop a comprehensive database of the City’s monuments, public art and each park, recreation center, street, playground, etc. to be considered on the Landmarks and Monuments Review Process. This represents approximately 7,000 City-owned assets.
- Launched a more robust community engagement process to commission new public artwork to reflect the diversity of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods.
- Testified at a public hearing held by City Council’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Committee on the Landmarks and Monuments Review Process and received input from members of City Council and the public.
- Provided an opportunity for public input on the Landmarks and Monuments Review process on creativephl.org through May 30, 2021.
On January 27, 2021, Mayor Jim Kenney signed Executive Order 2-21, which made two changes to the list of City Holidays. The City of Philadelphia will once again recognize Juneteenth (June 19) as a holiday; and, for the first time, the City holiday celebrated on the second Monday of October will be recognized as Indigenous Peoples’ Day rather than Columbus Day. These changes, instituted via Executive Order 2-21, will be in place at least through the end of the Kenney administration. The City will also continue to pursue including these changes permanently as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreements with the four municipal worker unions, which expire this year.