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.”

Philly Living: My Car is Gone!…But the Pile of Trash on the Sidewalk Beside it…is Still There.

Pile of trash beside the empty spot where my stole car was parked.

Philadelphia living comes with its ups and downs. However, lately, there seem to be more downs than ups.  My partner and I live in a neighborhood popular for being in a constant state of transition. Once known for its 19th century factories and charming brick buildings, The Loft District is now the neighborhood of bushy bearded twenty & thirty somethings who wear ironic T-shirts while walking their rescued pitbulls to their exorbitantly expensive cars. However, despite the lofty name, the crime and the problems have not subsided. (Well, aren’t they disappointed.)

As gentrification sets in and property values soar, the local government has yet to address the real issues that plague Philadelphia neighborhoods like ours. The city we live in today almost feels like the Philadelphia of the 1970s my mother described-when Philadelphia was littered with political corruption, failing schools, crime, drugs, trash and poverty. Is Philadelphia going backward?

Families are still struggling to find work, hot meals and a good education to stop the cycle of poverty. Many Philadelphians feel the city is neglecting their needs and families are suffering as a result. How is it that our city can afford a $500 million project to bring high-end department stores like Neiman Marcus along Market street for the affluent transplants, but can’t ensure our streets aren’t covered in litter or crime? Shoot, I’d settle for my car simply being where I left it the night before, which leads me to another personal story.

Let me start by saying my father was a Philadelphia K-9 cop and I was raised to respect and appreciate police officers. However, lately I agree with the popular consensus that Philadelphia’s men in blue have many improvements to make. Unfortunately, the last few times my partner and I felt it necessary to call the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD), they either came hours late, came unprepared or didn’t show up at all. My favorite line from an officer,

“Well, we are an hour late because Obama is in town.”

Really? You’re gonna blame your willingness to be late and rude on President Obama? Take some responsibility, people!

Infuriatingly, in this particular instance, the PPD responded over an hour late to a frightening domestic violence call made on behalf of a neighbor and her infant. When the police officers finally arrived, they showed very little urgency or concern to ensure the poor woman’s safety. Sadly, we weren’t shocked by their lack of investment, but we were all equally outraged.

Just a week after the above mentioned incident, my partner and I awoke to find our humble Honda CRV stolen and right next to the empty parking spot was the rather large pile of trash I regrettably had to park beside the night before. This rather large pile of trash sat on the crumbling sidewalk for over 2 months. As a side note, the city was called several times and still today the pile sits untouched. Some would say, move it yourself. My response is, how is it that in a city where wage taxes are higher than most, property taxes are on the rise and police are chronically late to 911 calls, can I wake up to my car stolen, but the pile of trash that sat beside it still untouched? That’s not why we pay our taxes, and that is not why we elect political representation to speak out on our behalf in the hopes they will fight for our families safety and security.  My second favorite response from the Philadelphia Police,

“Don’t think you’ll be seeing you’re stuff again.”

Thanks for the hope, and the advice. Maybe he didn’t blatantly say not to count on him, but we certainly got the message.

No one is asking for handouts or magical Harry Potter politics. I think many Philadelphia families would just settle for a good job, and a city that protects them.

Joblessness in Philadelphia is increasing while other major cities are adding jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Philadelphia’s unemployment rose steadily from 5.7 percent in September of 2013 to 7.1 percent in September of 2014 as the national unemployment rate dropped to just 5.9. The Bureau predicts the national trend will continue. However, the trend in Philadelphia may lead to the domino effects of a suffering local economy.

As nation braces itself for one of the coldest winters in history, there is an alarming number of Philadelphians facing a bitter winter of food, housing and job insecurity. According to Philabundance, a local organization that responds to the critical needs of the Delaware Valley by increasing access to emergency food for food insecure families, while joblessness increases more than13 percent of Philadelphians – or nearly 200,000 people – live in deep poverty and a city littered with both crime and trash.

We need our city government to work for us. We need our city government to fight tirelessly to bring jobs back to our city, rather than make excuses for why their broken promises stay broken.