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Meek Moment Triggers Demands for Justice Reform

But where are those supporters when ordinary folks are facing injustice?

Philadelphia Eagles pro football safety Malcolm Jenkins reminded during remarks at the Mill rally that “We’re not going to act like Meek Mill is an angel…We’re not here on his behalf to call for a pass. We’re here to demand that he be dealt with fairly.”

While Mill has engaged in charitable activities, including for charities run by the 76ers basketball team, he does not engage in politically centered activities like protests held by Black Lives Matter against abusive policing which is and has been rampant in Philadelphia. While Mill’s music is not in the positive or political rap categories, a petition in his support states that Mill is “dedicated to being a positive force.”

During a Philadelphia radio interview the morning after the Mill rally, local activist, Rev. Greg Holston, said, “We would like to see Dr. J and other celebrities come out to other protests. That way we can make more progress.” Holston is executive director of POWER, an interfaith organization in Philadelphia working for systemic change to better communities.

Hours before that evening courthouse rally for Meek Mill, the lead Black Lives Matter Pennsylvania activist was arrested at the State Attorney General’s Office in Philadelphia when he requested an update on that Office’s investigation of the Philadelphia policeman who fatally shot a black man in the back earlier this summer. That same officer had shot and paralyzed a black man years earlier under similar circumstances: shooting a fleeing unarmed person in the back. None of the speakers and participants at the Mill rally joined the BLM activists at the State AG office.

While Mill rally participants were very vocal in their demand for Mill’s release and profanely critical of Judge Brinkley, when rally organizer, film producer Sixx King, reminded participants to vote there was no roar of approval.

Observing that rally from a block away, Pennsylvania State Representative Vanessa Brown noted how not one polling place in Philadelphia on the recent election day experienced a crowd like the Mill rally. “All polls should look that way,” Brown said, adding that she disagreed with the judge’s sentence of Mill. “As a mother I think the judge went overboard.”

Only 20 percent of the registered voters in Philadelphia went to the polls during the November 7, 2017 election.

But a historic number of voters elected a progressive civil rights attorney as Philadelphia’s top prosecutor. Larry Krasner, who has over the course of his career, sued Philadelphia police 75 times for various cases of misconduct. He has pledged to make major reforms in the city's criminal justice system.

One reform sought by Krasner and others is ending cash bail for low-level offenses. Hundreds of poor people languish months, sometimes years, in pre-trial detention – ringing up incarcerations far in excess of the small bail amount.

story | by Dr. Radut