Politics & Government


todayMay 5, 2023 2

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Philadelphia must elect the Blackest 100th mayor it can find in 2023

By Charles Ellison | WURD National Public Affairs Correspondent

If you haven’t already noticed, Philadelphia is (yes, still) a mostly Black city: 44 percent of its residents identify as Black. Yet we seem resigned to the fact that even as citywide poverty dropped, more than half of all Black Philadelphia still grinds in poverty.

Philadelphia persistently remains the poorest of America’s largest cities – and it is, as I argued a while back in theRoot, the Blackest of them all. In that respect, the last thing a City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection needs is a conservative Black mayor quietly carrying a bucket full of conservative policy ideas. 

Nor does it need a wealthy white capitalist mayor who’s simply applying white capitalist standards to a community broken by them. 

It won’t need someone calling themselves “coalitional” who promotes policies they claim will work for all, but can never seem to come up with policy prescriptions to address problems unique to Black Philadelphians. 

This is why nearly half of all Black voters in Philadelphia, at the moment, count themselves as “undecided.” They can’t really tell who, for real, is in their corner. 

Philly needs a mayor willing and ready to confront, head-on, the most anti-Black conditions this city maintains and the people, systems and organizations that uphold them. It means knowing specifically how every issue not only affects the city overall, but how it affects Black people – not “people of color,” but Black people. This will require viewing Black community leaders and organizations as more than just photo-op props during special press conferences, but figuring out how to view and constructively work with them as partners. How do they finally become a part of the governance ecosystem in a way that counts? And how do resources finally flow directly into the divested Black homes in desperate need of it most? 

 This 100th mayor of Philadelphia should be just as angered and fed up with Black people throughout Philadelphia being forced to, literally, live in trash and, depending on what SEPTA line they use for their commute, move constantly through it. Black children must be saved from a public school system that won’t get them reading at grade level. Black lives should no longer be lost because their communities lack the investments needed to keep them safe. Black residents should no longer be forced out of their homes or displaced outside of Philadelphia city limits simply because white people with greater resources and bigger bank accounts can now move in. 

 Philadelphia must no longer be, as The Color of Law author Richard Rothstein might call it, a “badge of slavery” checklist posing as a major metropolis. Philadelphia must elect the Blackest 100th mayor it can find in 2023. They must be the mayor with the Blackest agenda regardless of their race or ethnicity. 

Below is a Black Voter Index to help determine exactly which candidate fits this bill. The concept is rather simple: Give a score of “1” under the candidate you believe supports the issue in the corresponding left column. This is all based on your research of what you already know: their official campaign websites, plus the endless torrent of debates, forums and live interviews on outlets such as WURD. At WURD, we’ve picked out a number of issues and potential solutions that we believe are essential to fast improving Black quality of life in Philadelphia. 

Add those scores up in the bottom box below to see which candidate gets the most points. The candidate with the most points wins the Black Voter Index and can, at least for you as an individual Black voter, unofficially be Philadelphia’s Blackest mayoral candidate in 2023. Feel free to tell us what you came up with and we’ll add up the results into an informal poll.

Download Your Score Card Below


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Written by: Charles Ellison

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