Mayor Jim Kenney urged residents on Monday to “call out bigotry” during an appearance at the inauguralPhiladelphia Unity Cup, a World Cup-style tournament between 32 teams featuring the city’s immigrant groups.
“The most beautiful game” is known for having an ugly side, and the mayor addressed the ugly side of “the city of brotherly love” after recent hate crimes and Saturday’s flash mob assaults that left six injured.
“I know right now that many Philadelphians are feeling anxious, angry, afraidand even hopeless,” Kenney said during the Unity Cup’s closing reception. “Others feel emboldened by hateful rhetoric to act out in destructive ways.
“And for many of you, those feelings of disenfranchisement predated this election. In some cases, those feelings are centuries old.
“But, if we allow any of these feelings to guide us to violent or hateful actions, then we are no better than what we claim to oppose.”
Kenney said that attacks, intimidation and damage to property have no place in the city and those who commit these crimes “will be caught and charged to the fullest for breaking those laws.”
“Regardless of whether you are committing these crimes or saying these slurs in support of the president-elect or against him, it is not welcome in Philadelphia,” he continued.
“To be clear, you should call out bigotry when you see it. You absolutely must. But we must also recognize that you cannot combat hate with more hate.”
The mayor then called on the people of the city “to step up” and volunteer, become educators, homeless outreach workers or participate in Police Service Areas.
“As your mayor, I pledge to you that I will stand up against hate crimes, violence and anything else that threatens our city’s inclusive and diverse practices, but I cannot do it alone,” Kenney added.
Spray-painted hate messageswere seen in South Philly the day after the election, including “Trump rules black b–ch,” “Sieg Heil 2016” and swastikas incorporated in the design.
The night evokedfeelings and images from 1938’s“The Night of Broken Glass,”Kristallnacht—a night when Nazis tore through towns destroying synagogues and shops owned by Jewish people—asanti-Semitic tags appeared fasterthan the residents could clean them, Metro reporter Alexis Sachdevwrote.
And on Friday,black Penn freshman were “invited”to chat groups called “Ni–er Lynchings” and similarly named events. That was followed bySaturday’s attackswhen a group of teens broke off from a flash mob and began assailing people.