Posted: Friday, May 29, 2015 12:00 am
I know that Jim Kenney is not the mayor of Philadelphia. I know that his landslide victory of 30 percentage points over his closest contender, Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, on May 19 was merely the primary election win. I know that the general election is not until Nov. 3. But since Democrats in Philadelphia outnumber Republicans 7-1, his ascension to mayor is a foregone conclusion. However, he still owes Black people, because Black people turned their backs on Black Williams, Black Doug Oliver, Black Milton Street, and Black/brown Nelson Diaz and embraced white Kenney. In fact, Williams got only 41 percent of the Black vote while Kenny got a whopping 46 — almost half! That Black pro-white support resulted primarily from influential African-American politicians who loudly and consistently spread the Kenney gospel throughout the city. So now, what will the brothas and sistahs in the hood get for crossing — not party lines but — racial lines?
Before answering that question, I gotta give credit where credit is due. Although I always lean toward Black candidates and Black businesses and Black people in general, I obviously make exceptions in situations where, for example, the Black one is like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and the white one is like abolitionist John Brown. Although Kenney is no Brown, he clearly has at least some racially progressive attributes. He was one of the original driving forces in 2006 working to erect a statue to memorialize the greatest voting rights and civil rights activist (as well as scholar. educator, and athlete) in Philadelphia history, namely Octavius Catto. By the way, Catto was murdered on Election Day, Oct. 10, 1871, at 9th and South streets by a white man who fled to Chicago but was extradited six years later and identified by six eyewitnesses.
But after a white cop testified on the killer’s behalf, the all-white jury found him not guilty. Kenney also deserves props for supporting a $15 hourly minimum wage and for recently advocating to end “Stop & Frisk.” Despite that, he owes more. And here’s a list — albeit incomplete — of how he can pay up as soon as he moves into City Hall room 215. This is a ten item list modeled after the “Ten Point Platform and Program” conceived in 1966 by the Black Panther Party to promote justice and end poverty for Blacks — as well as all other people of color and all poor people:
1. Officially end “Stop & Frisk” by appointing a police commissioner who doesn’t treat the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as toilet paper (or fire the current one if he’s still here and still continues to violate the law).
2. Relentlessly send official local lobbyists to Harrisburg to push for Commonwealth legislation to create statewide special prosecutors for all Philadelphia cases involving police violence against and police killings of non-life threatening civilians.
3. Take official executive action, including, but not limited to, executive orders (when legally permissible) and seek official Council and Commonwealth legislation to abolish/amend the police arbitration system that enables and rewards brutal and corrupt cops. And, at the same time, empower the Police Advisory Commission to subpoena, fire, demote, and suspend brutal and corrupt cops.
4. Take official executive action, including, but not limited to, executive orders (when legally permissible) and seek official Council legislation to end gentrification in poor neighborhoods by Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, and all other business entities that put profit over people.
5. Open fully staffed mayoral satellite offices in Black low-income neighborhoods so the residents can easily and efficiently air their justified city service-related grievances and get them quickly resolved.
6. Take official executive action, including, but not limited to, executive orders (when legally permissible) and seek official Council legislation to acknowledge, as pointed out in Mayor’s Executive Order 3-12 a mere three years ago, that “Disparities in the utilization of Minority… Businesses… in City Contracts continue to exist…, thereby necessitating further remedial action…” and also to expand the remedies via the type of progressive initiatives that JFK envisioned in 1961 when he signed Executive Order 10925 calling for “affirmative action” to protect victimized Blacks primarily.
7. Take official executive action, including, but not limited to, executive orders (when legally permissible) and seek official Council legislation to end the blatantly offensive desecration of the original inhabitants of America, of Pennsylvania, and particularly of Philadelphia by rescinding the name of Columbus Boulevard and naming it either Delaware Avenue again or, more accurately, Lenape Avenue to properly honor the Red people who were here first. By the way, City Council in 1992 unanimously approved the resolution that replaced the Delaware Avenue name with the Columbus Boulevard name. But Columbus was almost worse than King Leopold II of Belgium who killed ten million Africans in the Congo and much worse than Hitler who killed six million Jews in Germany. Irrefutable scholarly documentation proves that when Columbus arrived in the Americas, also known as the so-called New World, in 1492-1493, there were eight million indigenous Taino (meaning misnamed Indian) human beings present. By the time he left in 1504 and concluded his murder, rape, torture, enslavement, and robbery spree, only about 100,000 remained.
8. Take official executive action, including, but not limited to, executive orders (when legally permissible) and seek official Council legislation to conspicuously memorialize the more than 5,000 Black men, women, and children from the 1800s still buried in the Bethel Burying Ground cemetery under a trash dump and city-owned playground at 4th and Queen streets.
9. Take official executive action, including, but not limited to, executive orders (when legally permissible) and seek official Council legislation to repair the defective outdoor TV monitors that are supposed to display re-enactors performing historical roles and also repair the other constantly recurring equipment malfunctions at the historic President’s House/Slavery Memorial at 6th and Market streets next to the Liberty Bell Center. This President’s House was America’s first “White House,” which is where President George Washington enslaved nine of the 316 Blacks that he transported from his Mt. Vernon, Va. plantation.
10. Either renounce your membership in the Blackface-wearing Mummers or persuade them to stop engaging in such racially demeaning behavior. Cecil B. Moore and Charles Bowser together had to formally threaten to file a major civil rights lawsuit against your Broad Street-strutting comrades way back in 1964 to end that racist foolishness. Must Blacks still tolerate that indignity more than a half century later?
Thank you, Mr. Mayor. I know you’ll do the right thing. I think.
The words from David Walker’s “Appeal”, written in 1829, along with the words of Christopher James Perry Sr., founder of the Tribune in 1884, are the inspiration for my weekly “Freedom’s Journal” columns. In order to honor that pivotal nationalist abolitionist and that pioneering newspaper giant, as well as to inspire today’s Tribune readers, each column ends with Walker and Perry’s combined quote — along with my inserted voice — as follows: I ask all Blacks “to procure a copy of this… (weekly column) for it is designed… particularly for them” so they can “make progress… against (racist) injustice.”