October 03, 2018
Update: The petition made an enthusiastic jump in the late afternoon, and as of Wednesday at 3:45 p.m., there are 815 signatures. A new goal is set at 1,000.
A new petition started Wednesday morning is calling yet again for the Frank Rizzo mural in the Italian Market to be taken down. But this one makes an original suggestion how to replace it, too.
The change.org petition is asking for Rizzo to be replaced by none other than the city's new bonafide hero, Gritty.
The Philadelphia Flyers' new mascot got a rough start because, I mean, look at it. But public opinion has swelled to embrace the kooky character in the two weeks since he was unveiled. Turns out he's quite likable. And in the words of this new petition, the thing is "Wild, ecstatic and a little rough around the edges," just like the "fighting spirit of our city and the joyous hope for its future."
The petition, started by the Serious Rap Podcast — whose most recent episode on Spotify is called "Gritty Runs the City" — had nearly obtained half of its signature goal of 100 two hours after the petition was posted.
"The presence of this mural (as well as the foreboding statue of Rizzo at 15th & JFK) not only reminds us of Rizzo's brutal legacy it also highlights the deep disconnect between the city we want and the unfortunate reality of the city that many of us have had," the petition states.
"Enter Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyer's beloved, furry mascot. In the two weeks since his introduction, the city has fallen in love with Gritty and his goofy, slightly manic persona. Wild, ecstatic and a little rough around the edges, Gritty embodies the fighting spirit of our city and the joyous hope for its future. This is why we propose that the Frank Rizzo mural be replaced with a Mural of Gritty!"
This is definitely not the first time protestors have called for the demise of the Rizzo mural at Ninth and Salter streets in South Philly. In March, Mural Arts was asking for the public's opinion on whether or not it should keep, alter, replace or remove it altogether.
In November 2017, Mayor Jim Kenney announced the Frank Rizzo statue, which prominently looms over Thomas Paine Plaza near City Hall, would be moved to a different location. But in August, Philly.com reported the statue would stay put for at least another two to three years.
There has been a lot of back and forth on the mural and statue, but little movement. And especially no notable suggestions for Rizzo's replacement until now.