(Photo via twitter.com/aubreyjwhelan)
Last night, hundreds of people marched down Broad Street for the Philly is Charlottesville March and Rally event organized by the interfaith group Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower and Rebuild (POWER).
The march aimed to denounce white supremacy and the racism displayed at last weekend’s deadly protests in Charlottesville, Va.
If you want to get a good sense of what the Philly rally was like, check out Tuesdays with Toomey’s livestreamed video that shows the march in its entirety as well as the speeches hosted at Arch Street Methodist United Church shortly after the march.
— Helen Gym (@HelenGym2015) August 17, 2017
There were a number of issues brought up during the event, such as the need for raising the minimum wage to $15 or calling on Mayor Jim Kenney to fulfill his promise in putting $1.5 million into a Philadelphia police advisory committee after concerns of his administration’s new three-year contract with the Philly police union not doing enough to address disciplinary reform.
Another issue tied with the Philly is Charlottesville movement is the call to remove the statue of former mayor and controversial figure Frank Rizzo at Thomas Paine Plaza. According to Billy Penn, that will take more than Kenney saying that there will be a “conversation” about its future.
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Apparently, the city’s Art Commission, which is its nine-member design review board, makes the ultimate decision when it comes to removing any statute. But such a decision can only be made after a proposal to do so comes from Kenney’s administration, specifically within the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy.
A statement to Billy Penn from Lauren Hitt, communications director for Kenney’s office, said the city would first look into gathering opinions and ideas from the public before any proposal is made. It seems the city may want to make a decision soon though — police could be seen this morning blocking the statue as protesters were beginning to gather around it.
As for ideas to what could replace the Rizzo statue, if it is removed? Trust that there are plenty out there.
Overheard at #PhillyIsCharlottesville: "Why don't they just replace the Rizzo statue with, I don't know, a Wawa?"
— Julie Zeglen (@juliezeglen) August 17, 2017