|As Philadelphia Mayor-elect Michael Nutter prepared to give a Tuesday evening keynote address titled “Identity and the New Philadelphia,” it was breaking news of the crime-riddled city that concerned many of the 400 guests gathered at the Franklin Institute.Moments before Nutter’s arrival, he had been briefed with a report of another Philadelphia police shooting.“Two more police officers were shot earlier this evening,’ said Nutter. “It is an unconscionable situation. We’ll do what we need to do on the streets of this city and make Philadelphia safe.”In what was Nutter’s first speech since his election, Nutter offered a visionary look at the future of Philadelphia in a dressed themed with the kickoff of the Institute’s new exhibit, “Identity: An Exhibition of You.”
Using the films “Rocky” and “The Philadelphia Story” as talking points, Nutter said residents need to embrace a new image of themselves.
Nutter says he believes the city is entering the “post-Rocky era” and suggested, “The Rocky identity is not working. For one thing, businesses do not want to come to the city if they think we’re an uneducated population not ready for the new world. And unfortunately, I have to share with you that the statistics about Philadelphia are overwhelming: We have the highest percentage of adults with a high school education and not college degrees.”
Nutter’s address and the subsequent question ad answer session was punctuated by several sustained rounds of applause while he explained his intention to expand education and employment opportunities for residents and the implementation of his get-tough policy of crime and litter.
“It’s about identity,” explained Nutter. “It’s about who we think we are and who we can be. And so as we grow our economy, as we get businesses to come here, as we think better of ourselves and each other in adopting a can-do kind of spirit and attitude.
“We have to change the model of what leadership is about in Philadelphia because that will change the model of who we are and what we’re about. So let this be the new identity of Philadelphia: the can-do city; the city that works; the city that keeps clean; the city that educate its kids; the city that works hard; the city that makes sure our streets are safe and that our kids are going to school; that we’re creating economic opportunity and that we value arts and culture.
“That we share our collective and wonderful city, not only with our suburban neighbors, but also with the rest of the country.”