Philly Mag Announces Special Virtual ThinkFest

Mayor Jim Kenney, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, police commissioner Danielle Outlaw and restaurateur Marcie Turney are among those who'll discuss life in Philly in the wake of COVID-19 and anti-racism protests.

Virtual ThinkFest 2020, presented by Bank of America

The future of Philadelphia has probably never been more undetermined. In early March, on the same day the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic, Mayor Kenney issued a declaration of extraordinary circumstances, giving him the authority to regulate city life and commerce. A day later, gatherings of 1,000 people were banned, and some days after that, an emergency order from the city prohibited the operation of non-essential business — the stay-at-home order that effectively brought the city to a halt.

Then came the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and days of protesting in the streets of Philadelphia and elsewhere.

As Philadelphia moves into Pennsylvania’s yellow phase, questions about the city’s future loom large. How has the pandemic furthered economic disparity? What will education look like in the fall–and beyond? What changes need to be made to our criminal justice system? What’s the fate of Philadelphia’s restaurant scene?

To help us tackle these big questions, Philadelphia magazine has gathered the city’s top thinkers for a special ThinkFest 2020: The Future of Everything, presented by Bank of America.

The virtual week of events is free and will feature nearly a dozen live discussions during the week of June 8th:

  • On education, School District of Philadelphia superintendent Bill Hite will talk about the challenges and opportunities ahead for the city’s more than 200,000 school children. Drexel University president John Fry will provide perspective on what’s ahead for higher education institutions, from the big changes coming to the fall semester to the impact of virtual instruction on learning.
  • Civic leaders, including Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Senator Bob Casey, and police commissioner Danielle Outlaw will join us to discuss the future of the city and state at large, the future of leadership and the future of criminal justice.
  • Councilmember Maria Quinones Sanchez and urban studies theorist Richard Florida will discuss the pandemic’s role in exacerbating disparity and Philadelphia’s wealth gap, with special attention to how the virus has ravaged Philadelphia’s black and brown communities.
  • To discuss the future of Philadelphia’s dining and food scene is Marcie Turney, chef and co-owner of Safran Turney Hospitality, which includes well-known Center City establishments like Barbuzzo, Bud & Marilyn’s and Little Nonna’s.
  • Work gurus Wil Reynolds, founder of Seer Interactive, and Asher Raphael, co-CEO of Power Home Remodeling, will discuss how the pandemic has upended traditional work practices, like the office and the 9-to-5.
  • Penn ethicist Zeke Emanuel will put it all into perspective by shedding light on the future of Philadelphia’s collective public health.

To view the full schedule and register for the week of events, click here.

ThinkFest’s beneficiary will be the PHL COVID-19 fund, a citywide effort offering support to non-profits across the region.