Community fights to save Casarez mural

Photo: Kelly Burkhardt

LGBTQ community members and allies held a vigil at the 12th St. mural of the late Gloria Casarez Monday night. The building and mural, which was put up in 2015 to honor Casarez, are set to be demolished to make way for a 31-story residential building. A banner was hung in front of the building which read “Keep Gloria on 12th.” After the vigil, organizers held a virtual town hall to discuss further actions to prevent the mural’s demolition.

According to town hall attendees, final zoning was granted to developers last week, but there is no date set for demolition and no street closure permits have been approved yet. Also at issue is a historical designation for the Camac Baths, which is part of the building complex.

The development company for the new building, Midwood Investment & Development has told LGBTQ leaders that it would work with stakeholders to honor Casarez in some way on the new building. However, no such plans have yet been confirmed in writing.

Casarez was the city’s first Director of LGBT Affairs and a pioneer in Philly’s LGBTQ community.