The Mayor of Philadelphia believes in protesting, and on at least two occasions in my presence – once at a press conference unveiling a report on longstanding racism in the Gayborhood section of the City, and again during the taping of an interview for a new podcast entitled ‘Pushback’ that I’m co-hosting – he’s encouraged activists to disrupt business as usual. A few of the causes being lifted up during direct actions Mayor Jim Kenney believes in wholeheartedly – for example, Black Lives Matter: Mayor Kenney doesn’t deny the existence of racism and white privilege and has acknowledged that police has never stopped-and-frisked his son – but the only issue which would likely see Mr. Kenney, a Democrat, himself protest is immigration.
Immigration isn’t just a political issue for the Mayor who resisting the president’s agenda to do away with sanctuary cities, it’s a personal one.
“My ethnic heritage is one of being a Refugee … or being the descendants of refugees from Ireland during the great hunger of the 1840s when Britain was starving the country out,” the Mayor told me and my co-host, Mr. Malcolm Burnley, while in his second floor office at City Hall. “One million people died there, and one million people immigrated, and when the Irish came here they were Catholic, for the most part, and were basically told to go back where they came from, and that Catholics are going to ruin the country, similar to what they’re saying about Muslims now.”
On his first day in office, back in 2016, Mayor Kenney re-established Philadelphia as a sanctuary city, creating somewhat of a safe-space for undocumented immigrants, though some activists argue that in Philly raids still occur, which separates families.
Since then, the Mayor has continued his pro-immigration stance, even telling me in the interview that he would welcome more immigrants to the City if they were rejected elsewhere in our country.
But the U.S. President, Mr. Donald J. Trump, has the opposite view, and has been working steadfastly, though so far unsuccessfully, to limit who can enter the country. He’s even threatening Philadelphia, and other sanctuary cities, with the repeal of federal dollars for their pro-immigrant political position. That threat, and the larger act of marginalizing populations, has impassioned the Mayor of the nation’s fifth largest city.
“I don’t like bullies, and when you bully people and you marginalize people it angers me… and we have a responsibility to call it out and fight it… fight it in the court… fight it in the streets,” the Mayor declared.
Listen to full interview below:
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
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Photo courtesy of the author.