Mayor Kenney’s Broken Promise to Black Voters

Mayor Elect, JIm Kenney greets black voters at My Brother's Keeper event at CCP in Philadelphia.

Mayor James F. Kenney made a promise to Black Voters and broke that very promise within weeks of taking office.

Kenney stated, “my position on stop-and-frisk hasn’t changed.”

But it has changed.

And Kenney didn’t stop there. He suggested the name of stop-and-frisk and said that wasn’t the actual problem as it was “unfortunate terminology.” His play on words is simply playing with black and brown lives.

Many whites and middle class people of color are unaware of the life curtailing effects and great number of stop-and-frisk. Most people of affluence don’t know because stop-and-frisk focuses on poor neighborhoods of color. In fact, almost 90 percent of those frisked were black or brown.

The streets of Philadelphia are still ringing with the silence of Kenney’s promise, “If I’m mayor, stop-and-frisk will end in Philadelphia, no question.” In case black voters doubted his sincerity, he followed up by explaining that “83 percent of the time, stop-and-frisk does not result in an arrest or recovery of a weapon.”

In an attempt to mitigate the pressure of being squeezed between the Fraternal Order of Police, who prefer stop-and-frisk and his pledge to black voters who helped put him in office he chose to break that very pledge only weeks after being in office.

Yet, John McNesby, leader of the FOP is famed for his chest pounding support of stop-and-frisk.

McNesby recently said, “Everybody is making a big deal out of stop-and-frisk.” “You’re allowed to stop-and-frisk under a Supreme Court ruling,”

We must be reminded by history, just because it may be the law doesn’t make it right.

As in 2009, over a quarter of a million stops were made by the Philly PD rivaling NYC’s numbers with a fraction of them claiming “reasonable suspicion.”

With the risk of violating a large percentage of people’s constitutional rights- still In 2014 a minor decrease was reported at 200,000 stops, with only 47 percent based on “reasonable suspicion.”

At the My Brother Keepers event just months ago, I listened to Kenney make this promise to a room full of hopeful young students of color at the Philadelphia Community College. He promised a robust end the stop-and-frisk.  Kenney was applauded with vigor as many attendees expressed their fear of feeling hunted in Philly streets by police. Kenney claimed to agree that people of color are unproportuntaely targeted by the PPD and as a result has fractured relations between the PPD and local communities of color. With a straight back, Kenney once again promised to end the era of stop and frisk to usher Philadelhia into an era of equality.

Kenney’s broken promise will certainly lead to the infringement of more Philadelphian’s constitutional rights and more lives being sacrificed to the private prison industrial complex. In this flammable time of fueled racial tensions and civil rights violations targeting people of color as reflections of fascism and plutocracy mine the despair of a lost middle class, we can’t afford to be silent on this in our own back yard.

Now Philadelphia’s black and brown communities are left to wonder, Where do we go from here?
All content and photos provided by Shara Dae.
Sent from my iPhone

Philly Gay Pride Fest 2015

Attic Youth Center kids performing during 2015 Pride Parade.

 

Philly Pride Weekend is still reverberating throughout the city.  Sunday was a day of color clad pride, enthusiasm and glitter covered streets.  Fran Dresher, a long time ally of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities (LBGT), was just a single highlight of the annual festival. 

City Hall's Director of LGBT Affairs and Dr. Rachel Levin

City Hall’s Director of LGBT Affairs and Dr. Rachel Levin

PrideDay LGBT Parade and Festival is the largest celebration of LGBT pride in the region. Over the years attracting over 25,000 people each year. Yes, 2015 was no exception. Also, celebrated was the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Independence Hall gay rights protest/picketing. 

Local celebrities ga-y-lore carried the banner of LGBTQ Pride throughout the day from Parade route to Main Stage. Miss Philly Gay Pride 2014 “Mimi ImFurst” and Mr. Philly Gay Pride 2014 “Jimmy Two Finga” were just two of the long list of local celebrities. Audiences also enjoyed fabulous performances by J Carson and the Attic Youth Center. The weekend ended on the stiletto heels of the Ms Philly Gay Pride Pageant. 
 

Mommy & Baby celebrating National Coming Out Day with the Attic Youth Center.

Mommy & Baby celebrating National Coming Out Day with the Attic Youth Center.

The glitz and glamour of Philly’s Pride weekend stretched from club scene dance parties and outrageous block parties to the Out Fest on Main Stage at Penns Landing. As Franny Price, President of Philly Pride Presents, says “National Coming Out Day was a record breaking success and we are already planning the festivities of the 2016 celebration, because Pride never quits.”

Gloria Casarez, Gone Too Soon.

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Gloria Casarez, appointed Philadelphia’s first director of the city’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs in 2008, passed away this weekend after a long hard battle with cancer. She was 42.

Following Casarez’s appointment as the head of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, she was the driving force in establishing the Mayor’s Advisory Board on LGBT Affairs.

Casarez’s helped to shape the future of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Rights and policy throughout the city. She worked tirelessly from inside the walls of City Hall and on the streets of Philadelphia. Casarez was a founding member of housing rights organization Empty the Shelters before becoming a coordinator for the LGBT Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Before her time at City Hall, Casarez was executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative (GALAEI) in Philadelphia for nearly a decade, beginning in 1999.

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Monday afternoon, Mayor Michael Nutter on behalf of the Administration honored Casarez with an emotional flag-lowering ceremony at City Hall.

“Gloria was a fun, serious, strong and kind person who always wanted to do more for others and who fought for equality of rights for all people,” Nutter offered in the statement. “She was a clear, strong voice to the LGBTQcommunity in Philadelphia and across America.”

Philly OutFest 2014

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Philly OutFest 2014 is still one of the hottest rainbow tickets in town. And it’s Free!
Once a year during the ides of October, just as leaves begin to turn welcoming the fall season, Philly puts on a block party fit for kings and queens.

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The Gayborhood overflowed with music, glitter, rainbows and an abundance of pride as Philly OutFest 2014 pumped up the volume. DJ’s blasted music from every corner as people danced in the streets. However, there wasn’t just dancing. Performers sang and entertained the crowd and community organizations whose missions are to support the LGBTQI community such a the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF), The Attic a Youth a Center and COMHAR reached out to LGBTQI festival goers to provide information and support.

COMHAR employee

COMHAR Employee

Everyone was welcome and throughout the day the crowd grew thousands thick. It appeared everyone had come out to celebrate. Midway through the day, The party spilled out from Tabu along 12th street, between Locust and Walnut streets, just in time to remind the crowd dancing is essential to celebrating gay pride.

Dancing festival goers

Dancing festival goers

If nibbling on some tasty treats is more you speed, vendors lined the streets offering up rainbow trinkets and delights from classic festival foods hotdogs, burgers, falafel to food truck treasures.

Shane Rubin, Temple Student.

Shane Rubin, Temple Student.

Shane Rubin, a local Temple University student, was bursting with Pride when I spoke to her at OutFest. Rubin said,”It’s an amazing experience. It’s a place where you feel love and see people with awesome hair!”

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Last year, the 2013 Philly OutFest had a large turnout, and this year may have been even larger. If this year’s event is any indication of next year, 2015 will most likely be a blowout.

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Brian Sims Love Park Rally in Philly

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PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 25 – State Rep. Brian Sims is galvanizing the LGBTQ communities as more than 300 people took part in a his Love Park rally advocating for Hate Crime legislation in PA. Sims and his supporters at the rally demanded protections for LGBT people be added in Pennsylvania’s hate-crime law. The rally was organized by Sims in response to the recent attack on two gay men in Center City Philadelphia, his legislative district.

Sims said, “There are some in Harrisburg who object to restoring sexual orientation and gender identity protections to the hate-crime law. But they haven’t been calling for repeal of the law’s remaining protections, for victims targeted because of their race, color, religion or national origin — they know they would take a political hit for that. Unfortunately, they think there’s no political penalty or constituent outrage to face for leaving out women, LGBT people, or people targeted because of their ancestry or mental or physical disability. Pennsylvanians who don’t like this injustice need to let their state representative and senator know now.”