PHILADELPHIA–August 24, 2017–Following Helen Gym’s tweet calling for the removal of the Rizzo statue in front of the Municipal Services Building, the statue itself was vandalized twice. Less than a week later, vandals moved on to deface the mural portraying Rizzo in front of a backdrop of the Italian Market, at 9th and Montrose Streets. The Philly GOP is now receiving reports of an even more disturbing trend, the defacement of murals depicting what should be unifying symbols of American patriotism, freedom and liberty.
Late in the evening of August 21, 2017, two murals near the 1300 block of Front St. were targeted. The first, which depicts a large bald eagle set on the backdrop of an American flag was completely defaced, the eagle’s face smeared with white paint and the phrase, “There’s more than one symbol of white supremacy” painted across its body. The second mural, that of just an American flag, was partially defaced with black paint.
“I am a little bit scared. I proudly display the American flag at my residence and I frequently wear patriotic clothing, when I am out-and-about in the city. Are people watching us? Will I be targeted in the future?” were the concerns voiced by one local Fishtown resident who witnessed the damage.
Philadelphia, which in the 18th century was geographically predisposed to becoming the cultural epicenter of the 13 original colonies, is credited with being the figurative, “Birthplace of America”. The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia and the United States Constitution was written here.
“While all Americans should feel safe at all times to express patriotic pride in their country, native Philadelphians may feel an extra special connection to patriotism. Thriving within close proximity to monuments such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, may magnify one’s sense of the realities of why our country is so special and great. At this time we need to call on our city’s leadership to reinforce our rights as Americans, to free speech and expression as they were crafted right here in Old City. City leadership should also be reinforcing the local sense of pride in Philadelphia’s role in the founding of our nation. These serve as uniting rather than dividing themes for all who live here,” said Michael Meehan, Chairman of the Republican Party of Philadelphia.
The Philly GOP urges local residents to report any incident of damage to private property directly to the proper local law enforcement authorities.