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September 22, 2017

Top 100 submissions on what to do with the Rizzo statue

They're funny. They're crass. They're serious. What citizens told the city to do about the controversial monument

Opinion Rizzo Statue
Frank Rizzo statue cleaned Patricia Madej /PhillyVoice Staff

The spray-painted phrase "black power" was removed from a statue of former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo after a vandal defaced it in August 2017.

When the long-simmering controversy over the statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo reached the screaming phase this summer, city officials invited the public to offer suggestions for the monument’s future.

Over the course of three weeks – late August to September 15 – more than 3,600 submissions were received online. (A lot of them are repeats or messages that cut off in the middle, but that’s how many lines were on the never-ending spreadsheet provided by the city.)

After the city’s Law Department redacted personal information from those public submissions, PhillyVoice perused them and, hoo boy, what a time that was.

Many were standard “keep it where it is!” or “it has to go!” responses. 

A slew suggested other locations including the Roundhouse, FOP Lodge 5 headquarters, the Police Academy, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the African American Museum, the Mummers Museum, Marconi Park, FDR Park, the Rizzo Rink or near the Rizzo mural in South Philadelphia.

Some are well thought out; others are most assuredly not.

What follows is a round-up of the noteworthy suggestions that may (or likely may not) help the city decide to make a proposal to the Art Commission, which has final say over the matter.

They have not been edited for spelling, grammar, capitalization, clarity or message … because what fun would that be?

Also, I took the liberty of bolding my 10 favorites ... because that's a lot of fun.


• Please replace the Frank Rizzo statue with a statue of Harambe.

• Give the statue back to Rizzo's family. Move the Rocky statue to where the Rizzo statue used to be. Put a statue of an artist where the Rocky statue used to be.

• Line it up with the Rocky statue, so it looks like they're high-fiving. Then relocate both in the bottom of the Schuykill.

• Chase Utley statue. I have no idea how much it will cost.

• If this isn't a Joel Embiid statue you are doing it wrong.

• If you want the "Rizzo" statue to remain, create a statue to be placed next to him off the nude black men lined up to be frisked during his Chief of Police reign and Mayor. Growing up in Philadelphia was a HORRIBLE time when he was in office/position! If not, take it down!

• Leave his boots/shoes and take down the rest of the statue. The same thing was done to the Stalin Monument in Budapest.

• Well i think the city should build or find a buildings put all of statues that city found in it and make name called "a people accomplishments museum in philly" and charge people to go see it and this it out of public eyes and make monetary.

• I think that you should leave it where it is, but add a second statue that depicts someone spray painting the Rizzo statue. Or, add a plaque directly in front of the statue that details Rizzo's greatest racist hits to add historical context.

• The statue should be left where it is. And another statue or monument should be erected next to it. One of a civil Rights leader or of someone who stood up to Rizzo directly. This should be used to unite and symbolize that all people of different belief can live peaceful together.

• It should be removed and replaced with a statue of Gloria Casarez.

• I'm a retired phila police officer & would like to see a four person bench where people & tourist can take pictures. It would be Floresent during day light hours and lighting up at dusk with solar lights. The back-rest will be high (above head level) reading "PEACE & LOVE FOR ALL". I can help design it, if need be.

• Giant statue of Jesus like the one they have in Rio.

• Frank would make a splendid boat anchor.

Replace the statue with one reading "Black Lives Matter." Sincerely, a white South Philly resident married to an Italian, who agrees. Don't put racism and police brutality on a literal pedestal.


• How about a giant poop emoji!!! That should sum it up perfectly!

Lets add a curly hair wig making him resemble Rizzo from "Grease." That way we can appropriately continue spreading the values of conformity through a figure who sings and dances!

• #MEGA Make Eagles Great Again. Force 11 win season. Cap interceptions. Make law that they score more points than opponents! Allow max. 1 QB sack per game. Min. 3.5 yards per rush average.

• How many lawn jockeys can you make out of one oversized Rizzo?

• Change the features of Rizzo to better resemble either Hall or Oates and then add the other member of the duo next to him.

• Put Rizzo statue in Kenneys office and put mayor Kennedy in time out chair in the day care.

• I'm sure someone at 2nd and Shunk will be willing to host it out front of their house next to the Virgin Mary.


We should replace it with a sick-ass Ben Franklin holding a skateboard while being struck by lightning and f***ing a french hooker.

• I think we should take the statue down and we should put it up jim Kennys fat a******.

• Shoot it full of bullet holes and turn it in to a fountain.

• Leave the statue the hell alone. Tell the p**** liberal crybabies to go home.

• Leave the f***ing thing alone.

• Leave it where it is and protect it from the a-holes who want to erase this GREAT city and GREAT country's past. Rizzo is a part of Philly. Don't give in to the dillusional and radical left.

• We know what will happen in this black city. I'm sick of the whining of our special citizens, and our kiss Ass politicians. Move this statue we're out of this city soon anyway. What this city needs is another Frank Rizzo.


• Keep it right where it is you Crumb bums!!!!! (Writer’s note: This entry appeared on seven separate occasions, so for the purpose of tallying entries it will count multiple times.)

• The statue SHOULD remain where it is. Do not succumb to violene or threats. Just think if that happened in 1776. Where would we be today?????

• Leave it alone ...never give in to terrorism


• The statue needs to stay. Since when does the city government break in favor or virtue signaling social justice warriors? If your intent is to move or remove the statue, please detail why. Please prove to me the "racist" and "bigoted" policies and ideals that Mayor Rizzo held. Thank you

Leave it. He didn't own slaves, he wasn't a tiki-torch carrying Nazi.

• I think the Rizzo statue should stay right where it is! In my opinion we have a lot of people who are pissed off that their presidential candidate didn't win and now enerything bothers them. Stand up to these sore losers.

• I think that we are crumbling as a society to the whims and crying of a few who really have no place complaining and are for the most part just seeking attention.....leave the statue and all other statues and memorials where they are and let's learn from them for the future. One Nation under God has left our society and this is the reason for all the issues we are having now. Let's get Bible reading back in our schools and become the Patriots we should be for this great Nation of ours.

• Rizzo was a controversial figure, but still left his mark. Furthermore, after the vandalism, giving in and taking it down would send the wrong message and ecourage more lawless defacers.

• The statue represents Philadelphia history. Who is next William Penn? How about crosses, The Virgin Mary or Jesus statues ? They might offend Jewish people or Muslems. Rizzo was tough but the city was safe. LET US SOLVE CRIME IN PHILLY AND STOP WAISTING TIME DISTROYING OUR HISTORY.

• Leave the Rizzo statue where it is, start worrying about CRIME and cleaning up the filthy streets in Philadelphia!!! And stop the bulls*** of whose life's matter!! All Life's Matter!! This is suppose to be the city of Brotherly Love!!

• in 1979 my father had frank rizzo over our house for dinner. I remember being very nervous & excited at the table, seeing and listening to this, what looked & felt like to me as a very powerful human being as we were eating, I felt the need to move the large bowl of salad my mother prepared to another part of the table, because i didn't like it there. he looked at me and said with his deep passionate voice, 'leave it where it is,’ I respected his wish i didn't touch it I left it where it was .you cant just move things because you dont like where they are is the moral of the story. leave the statue where it is .

• I am close friends with a history teacher who has been getting more and more frustrated every year. He works at a public school and they have continually ordered him to teach less and less "controversial history". Slavery, the holocaust, the civil war, the constitution are all barely touched upon. We are now seeing the results. A generation of Americans that don't know true history. Due to that, the information they get on historical events is from social media and they believe even the most outlandish falsehoods. Now they are actually erasing true history. Good or bad our it's our history that guides us into the future. If they continue to do this, within just a few decades there could be an entire generation that makes the same horrible mistakes our ancestors made. We need to be educated of our past, history needs to be treated with respect.

Don't let the terrious win. You can"t give into there demands. Or it will never stop. Leave the statue where it at. Show them we're not going to be bullied. We're the city of brotherly love. And we love Rizzo.

• I'm sick and tired of this all out assault on Italian Americans. Leave the statue where it is!!

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Black Lives Matter activist Asa Khalif organized the protest of the Frank Rizzo statue at Philadelphia's Municipal Services building on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016.


Put Rizzo down in packer park to satisfy all the jabronis.

• Attach it to William Penn statue above city hall so they look as though they are want to engaged in a group hug.

• Tear it down. Plant a tree.

• Auction it off and use the money to fund the public school system!

• Relocate to the bottom of the Deleware river.

• Put it in front of Helen Gym's house.

• Let a bunch of college kids tear it down like a Saddam statue.

• Since I was under the idea that there will be a new location for the police headquarters why not have Frank in that lobby? Since they are just started redoing the building there should be enough time to.

• Removed William Penn from top of city hall because he was a former salve owner. Then put the Rizzo statue on top of city hall.

• Art can be a powerful form for change. I think the Rizzo statue should be relocated to the Constitution Center and should be a part of a larger artistic/historical display on the history of police relations and brutality in Philadelphia. I think this would be an opportunity as a city to reflect on our past in order to be understand our current political climate. … For me, I grew up with stories about how terribly violent, almost evil Rizzo was. I imagine there are many Philadelphians with just as intense stories - some positive, some negative- but nonetheless intense stories. As the grand-niece of a police officer, I have had many opposing stories presented to be about Rizzo. Part of this project should gather those testimonies.

• Sell the statue in an auction. Donate the money made to an organization that supports black children, or a scholarship fund for black students.

• Should absolutely be taken down, and in its place should be a monument to what has been done to spread inequity and racism in the region at the government level. There is precedence for this in Germany, and countless other examples when we look at turning conflict laden spaces into sacred spaces for community healing.

• Please remove this statue from city land/property and move it to where the Rizzo superfans want it: in their own back yard (this seems to be primarily in South Philly). I suggest Marconi Plaza, somewhere on Passyunk Ave., or atop Geno's. Or perhaps Croydon or elsewhere in the great Northeast, where so many of our men and women in blue live. I want to hear no complaints about the cost of removal or relocation, especially when we the people of Philadelphia are on the hook for $50mil after the PPD backed out of their plan to move to 4601 Market St.

• Please remove the statue from its current location and see if it can be placed in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, a Catholic cemetery at 4001 West Cheltenham Avenue where he is buried. All that wish to adore the statue can visit his burial place in its respectful place of honor and everyday citizens bothered by Rizzo's heavy-handed, racist policies do not have to see it at the foot of our city's modern-day administrative offices.

• Destroy this monument along with all monuments to slavers and makers of genocide. Let the oppressed people of Philadelphia come upon it with hammers and with fire, let the ground where it stands be blighted for eternity.

• Rename the Fumo Family branch of the library on S. Broad as The Rizzo Family Library and put the statute in front or inside it. It is located 1 block from Rizzo's childhood home, would also honor Joe Rizzo, encourage learning (to discourage racism), and eliminate the continuance of a name (Fumo) that is now identified with a convicted felon. It is also near Italian area and Columbus parade.


Melt it down and forge it into Rings of Power, distribute those Rings of Power to influential Philadelphians, and then make One Ring To Rule Them All, give it to Terry Gross, and let's just see how it plays out, I guess.

• Take down the Rizzo monument and melt it down to make from it a plaque/historical marker that tells the story of how the monument was brought down.

• Remove it, melt it down, reuse material for a giant bust of Questlove.

• Melt the damn thing down, have a design contest, drawing from sculpture students/grads from area art schools for a replacement, and FOR GOD'S SAKE WOULD YOU CLEAN THE GAME PIECE STATUES AT THE MSB.

• Melt it for metal and replace it with a statue of Richard Allen, founder of Mother Bethel Church and early civil rights activist.

• They should melt it down and make a nice Bill Cosby statue with it. Keep the demigogues in rotation.

• The Rizzo statue should be melted down and recast into a statue of Wilson Goode. The statue could be of Goode staring at a TV, with a quizzical look on his face, trying to decide if what he's seeing is the fire department shooting water on the MOVE fire, or just static on the screen.

• Melt it down and make it into public toilets so people don't have to pee in alleys and elevators at the el stops.

• It should be taken down and melted down into a monument of Barack Obama.

• Melt it down and make it into public toilets.

• Melt it down make it into a statue of Cecil B. Moore.

• Take it down and melt it down and make it into something else like a statue of Darren Daulton or Julius Irving (Dr. J) or David Lynch. Stick with positive icons. Thank u.

• Melt the statue down into a cauldron on molten metal. Create a bench or a monument to Black Power or a million marbles or something. Or better yet a metal cage to keep Officer Ryan Pownall inside when he is in prison. While Mayor Kenny is at it, end stop and frisk because cops are killing Black people, regardless of whether that stupid ass statue is there or not.

• Remove the statue immediately. Melt it down for use as manhole covers. This would present a cost savings to the streets dept.

• The statue should be melted down and made into tiny trophies to be given to all the citizens of Philadelphia. In a politically correct world everyone gets a trophy for doing nothing.

Melt it down. Turn it into a statue of Allen Iverson.

• Melt it down for scrap and replace it with a statue of W.E.B. DuBois.

• Have it melted and put out a juried offer (possibly run by OACCE) for other artists to reuse the materials for new public artwork(s) that focus on tolerance, anti-racism, or other socially positive representations.

• Melt it down and turn it into a bike rack.

• Maybe melted down and remade into a statue of someone who was not a bigoted authoritarian? That would be nice.

• The Rizzo statue should be melted down and reformed into a statue of the black protester in Charlottesville, the one with the homemade flamethrower. The pedestal could contain a propane tank to produce actual flames on special occasions. A plaque should read "And this gentleman was never even arrested."


• I feel the statue should be removed from its current location. Other than Rocky, I can't think of another statue that honors a modern era Philadelphian. Frank Russo did not represent all Philadelphians. I don't know why there is a statue honoring him and why such a statue would be in such a public space.

• The statue should stay!!! Frank Russo was a huge part of Philadelphia!!! He was a great man!!! He helped me and my family on many occasions when we lived in Philadelphia!!! He was Philadelphia please, please don't take down his statue!!!!

• I believe the statue should be destroyed or recycled entirely. There is no room in this city to celebrate a racist like Frank Russo. Put up a statue of someone who deserves one.

• It is a different time than ever before and situations should be looked at, all around our country. I am happy to see that our city is taking an approach of listening to the people in order to gauge where we are as a society. In my opinion, the statue should stay. Russo was very tough on crime in an era that saw much civil unrest. He was definitely an opinionated figure that will always be remembered, and will always be a part of our city. Kudos to you Philadelphia for asking opinions instead of reacting to situations.

• Frank Russo needs to stay where he is at the MSB building.


• If you take down Frank Rizzo's statue, then remove every dedication named after FDR, a man who imprisoned 125,000 Americans without any due process whatsoever.

• Really an Afro pic statue that represents black power in our city!! If this doesn't represent RACISM then I don't know what does! This country is so screwed up!! Take Rizzo and Black power statue down asap! No more statues period! Or put up a white fist statue next to the black one and then there shouldn't be an issue correct???!!!

Keep it, but allow people to throw rotten eggs, fruit and vegetables at it (soft, non damaging items only). Then encourage any supporters of Rizzo to clean the statue up. If it remains neat and tidy, the statue stays. But if the statue starts to stink, get rid of it. Let people give small, impromtu speeches (like a Speakers Corner) as long as the statue remains. This way you'll find out what most -- and most impassioned -- citizens really think. Maybe limit these free speech activities to several hours on Sunday morning so a policeman can make sure the rules are obeyed.

• I do not have a specific idea, but I think recontextualizing is the way to go.

• White people are listened to over people of color on a daily basis. To keep the Rizzo statue in its place is to say that white Philadelphians’ pride is more important than minority Philadelphians’ safety. Listen to the communities that are negatively impacted by having a traumatizing symbol prominently showcased and take the statue down.

• I'm a 12th grade student at Mastery Charter Thomas Campus. My peers and I want to be involved in this Frank Rizzo stance because we care about our city. We want to make sure we have statues of leaders who deserve the title. Frank Rizzo doesn't live up to that title. We need inspiration for our city, especially with the racism and violence going on the world now. Speaking of racism, Frank Rizzo was known for being a very racist person, specifically as a cop. He used his position as an advantage and was all for police brutality. In order to get rid of this racism, violence, and hatred, we need to start with his statue.

• Great Art should always Evoke Feeling, Passion, Conversation. This statue has a story yet to be fully told/understood. Art is a Living Thing. Voila!


Make it a vote. There is an election in November. Let people vote if they think the statue should stay or go. No matter the outcome we stand by it.