Philadelphia’s rich and complex history is one of the most awe-striking characteristics of the city. What is even more impressive to me, is the commitment of Philadelphians to tell those histories. I am honored to have the experience of learning more and more about Philadelphia’s colorful history through monument proposals, from people who clearly care about telling it.

These are just a few of the proposals that have given me glimpses into the past:

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Not only do these proposals discuss Philadelphia history, but they also bring up issues that the city still needs to address.

The proposal about the Philadelphia prison complex was particularly interesting to me. I have never considered the history of Philadelphia’s prison system, but have always been perplexed by the placement of the Federal Detention Center in Center City. Seeing this proposal made me want to dig deeper into the history of prisons of Philadelphia. It prompted me to explore how attitudes towards prisons have shaped the current culture around them, as well as their physical placement in the city. Bringing aspects of Philadelphia’s historical culture to light deepens folks’ understanding of how the city was shaped into what it is today. This proposal further prompts dialogue of the current issue of the prison industrial complex in our country, and its implications on the people of Philadelphia.

Another impressive characteristic of Philadelphia is that, while it is telling and reflecting on its history, it also never stops looking toward nurturing its future:

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