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.
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.
The Community Engagement subcommittee facilitates the work of the Steering Committee to discuss, plan, and organize events with the Philadelphia community.
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.
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).
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.