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Black women's leadership council


cherelle parker


mayor of philadelphia.

cherelle, bwlc has your back!!
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Please Read:

Below you will find the link to Michael Coard's article titled: Coard: A Black progressive's letter to soon-to-be Mayor Cherelle Parker, published on 5/19/2023 in The Philadelphia Tribune

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Coard, Michael. "Coard: My mayoral and other election endorsements"., Date of Publication: 29 April 2023,, Accessed 5 May, 2023. 

**For Original article, please select the link above.

Coard: My mayoral and other election endorsements

Editor's note: The columnist's opinion is his own and does not reflect the views of The Philadelphia Tribune management.

Why me? You might ask. Who do I think I am? You might ask. Why should you accept my endorsements? You might ask. Here’s why: To whom much is given, much is required. I have been a trial attorney for more than 25 years, an adjunct college professor of Black History for 15 years, a cultural/political activist since my college days, a radio/TV host for more than 15 years, a newspaper columnist for seven years, and an African descendant throughout my entire lifetime. Furthermore, in the words of the great Congressperson Shirley Chisholm, I am “unbought and unbossed” because I neither request nor accept money, jobs, grants or any personal benefits whatsoever from any candidate or elected official.

Based on all those blessings, I have been put in a position to access and uncover information that can bring about justice, equity and eventually liberation for Black folks. Accordingly, prior to each election, I use that information to compile my endorsement lists. Why? There are two reasons. The first is many Black voters always ask me to do so. The second is, unlike the average voter, I have the time and resources to thoroughly research the candidates. Consequently, I am able to distinguish the good candidates from the bad ones (as well as the not-so-bad candidates from the truly bad ones).

As a result, in the May 16 primary election, I am endorsing the following candidates and voting as indicated on the following ballot questions.

First of all, I endorse Helen Gym for mayor.

Second, to paraphrase Voltaire, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” In other words, do not reject a candidate simply because he or she is not perfect. No candidate (and no person) is perfect. We all have done something wrong before. We all have said something wrong before. Therefore, the question is not about the biggest mistake a person ever made. Instead, it’s about what we lawyers call “the totality of the circumstances.” Stated differently, it’s about what a person is overall.

To put it simply, just as the best thing you’ve ever done in your life doesn’t define you, neither should the worst.

I mention this because, during the past three months in my newspaper columns, on my radio shows, and on my social media platforms, I condemned Gym for what I described as her “Ron DeSantis/Union League” double-dealing back on Jan. 30 – as I should have. For me, she was guilty of racist hypocrisy.

But she sincerely apologized several times. And during one of those apologies, she said, “As a leader who has consistently stood in solidarity against anti-Blackness and hate, I ask to be given the grace to be judged, both during this election and beyond, on my entire body of work over decades.”

After seriously considering what she said, I began to ask myself if I really thought she was a DeSantis-type racist. And I had to admit she’s not. I then asked myself if I really thought she was an establishment Democrat pretending to be a progressive. And I had to admit she’s not. The truth is, based on her lengthy history of civic involvement, she’s definitely a genuine progressive.

That’s why I’m endorsing her. But before presenting reasons to justify my endorsement, I must explain the term “progressive.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as a person who advocates for “political change and especially social improvement.”

In practical terms, it’s best described as a left-leaning type of liberalism. And by “left-leaning,” I mean the opposite of right-leaning reactionism (i.e., going back to the bad old days of blatant racism and other forms of systemic intolerance) and I also mean the opponent of centrism/conservatism (i.e., enabling/maintaining the stagnant status quo).

The bottom line is that a progressive is a person who engages in or advocates for enlightened (aka “woke”) grassroots activism. That’s precisely why Philadelphia magazine in 2013 described Gym as Philly’s “preeminent public agitator.” Public agitation is what progressives do. During slavery, abolitionists were progressives. During Jim Crow, civil rights marchers were progressives. During the era when women weren’t allowed to vote, suffragettes were progressives. Progressives seek societal progress based on evolving standards of decency.

And, for me, the best progressives are the ones who have sought and continue to seek societal progress for Black people. Gym has done that and continues to do that:

She is endorsed by progressive organizations that fight 24/7/365 for Black voters’ rights, Black prisoners’ rights and Black laborers’ rights. Those organizations include Free The Ballot, Amistad Movement Power, Working Families Party, Reclaim Philadelphia and Our Revolution. Also, she’s endorsed by progressive individuals whose resumes prove their pro-Black advocacy. Those individuals include Black Councilmembers Kendra Brooks and Jamie Gauthier as well as Black Congressman Jamaal Bowman.

She has a pragmatic policy initiative plan to reduce violent crime in Black neighborhoods and throughout the city by investing in prevention and intervention instead of pursuing the same old tired and failed knee-jerk “lock ‘em all up” approaches of the past that did nothing more than hire more cops.

She has a guaranteed summer jobs plan for youth and for adults under 30 in neighborhoods most impacted by gun violence (neighborhoods that, unfortunately, are predominantly Black and poor).

She has an equity-driven housing plan that ensures that Black neighborhoods most impacted by disinvestment and redlining are first in line for affordable housing as well as subsidies and grants for investments, repairs and upgrades.

She has committed to fully funding vital City services that have been denied to Black communities for too long. Those services will include libraries, recreation centers and pools in neighborhoods most impacted by gun violence (neighborhoods that, unfortunately, are predominantly Black and poor.)

During her impressive decades-long history as a teacher beginning in 1994, education activist as co-founder of Parents United for Public Education in 2006, and Councilmember from 2016-2022, she has done more than any elected official to promote the interests of students and teachers, many of whom are Black. Moreover, she will guarantee job placement and interim employment for HBCU students who enroll in education degree programs.

• She wrote the nation’s most expansive “Fair Workweek” law to protect the economic interests of service workers, most of whom are Black.

She has been a relentless tenants’ rights activist. Also, she implemented the City’s renowned Eviction Diversion Program, thereby saving many single Black mothers and their Black babies from homelessness.

And finally, not only should a person be judged by what good people say about him or her but should also be judged by what bad people say about him or her. And the FOP, which is the very same organization whose leadership called Black protesters “rabid animals” and whose membership endorsed Donald Trump just as the KKK did, hates her, just as big money racist Republicans hate her, which is why they have engaged in nonstop smear campaigns against her.


A Response to Michael Coard's Endorsement of Helen Gym


As the Convener of Black Women’s Leadership Council (BWLC)and a colleague of yours on WURD Radio, I am saddened by your endorsement of Helen Gym.

I listened to your show today and heard you defend Helen’s record of service to the Black Community.  It hurt as if you stuck a knife in me.  BWLC has been critical of Helen’s manipulation of the facts and her performative activism since the beginning of her public career.  

Helen used  poor struggling black women on her climb to public exposure. She took their ideas and appropriated them for her political agenda - ask Melissa Robbins.

She used the black women that started the Parents Power - then threw them to the curb - ask Sylvia Simms.

She used her privileged lifestyle afforded to her by her wealthy white husband to start a Charter School where she sent her children. Then later riled against charter schools when poor black mothers were looking for alternatives to the poor education their children were getting in the Philadelphia Public Schools.  That political calculation put her in the driver seat with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

Now suddenly she’s the progressive “darling.”
she got into office in 2016 on the backs of that “progressive “ union called Local 98 the Electrical Workers - yes, pun intended.  She kissed Johnny Docs A—-, and took money from him and was a reliable vote in Council - did you research that?  

Her name came up in Johnny Docs and  Bobby Henon’s trial.  She accepted expensive box tickets for a sporting event at the arena for which she didn’t report on the required ethics form.  Helen is later caught on tape asking Henon whether she should report the tickets after she learned the FBI was asking questions.

She stood up in council and grandstand for the cameras calling for Sheriff Jewell Williams to resign after an “ allegation” of sexual harassment which, by the way, was later dismissed by the courts. But, refused to ask Bobby Henon to resign after he had been indicted.

She took her performative show to Kensington to draw attention to the opioid crisis then later hid from a vote to make Pharmaceutical companies responsible for accounting for the samples they dispense.  On the day of the vote she was there for the speech making but left the room before the vote to avoid being recorded or pinned down. - ask Former Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds.

She didn’t want to be recorded because her husband works for AmerisourceBergen the biggest dispenser of opioids and who later gave her thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. Yeah - she’s “ Progressive”

The late Emma Chappell (who had Helen’s number) would discuss just how sickening it was to see you Black men fall for her act.  When Helen wants something from Black men she pours on the charm, wears short dresses and crosses her legs.  She wraps you around her finger - disgusting!

And if you were watching the debates, she couldn’t even keep her story straight when she was blindsided by Amen Brown.  Amen asked her after she criticized Jeff Brown for meeting with the Sixers, “why were you lunching with David Adelman of the Sixers yesterday.”  First she said they discussed “nothing” when asked by the moderator as a follow-up.  But, later in the debate she must have forgotten what she said earlier and was showboating and said “ I told David Adelman I was not for the Stadium in Chinatown.”

You quoted Voltaire, “ Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”  It seems, for you, that quote only works for Helen Gym but not for Cherelle Parker.

Well, I have a quote for you.
“The most disrespected person in America is the Black Women. The most unprotected person in America is the Black Woman.  The most neglected person in America is the Black Woman.” - Malcolm X

Joann Bell

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