Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims, the avenging “woke” angel of Center City, has tried to make the sidewalks near Planned Parenthood at 12th and Locust Streets safe from rosary-reciting older women and praying teenagers with their moms. He has received almost no public support for his self-videoed actions, but he has also received no discipline for his actions.
The thing that seems to puzzle people about his attacks on pro-life people are his references to their race. He called his first target “an old, white lady.” He refers to her as “extremely racist.” He proclaims, “If you’re a white person like I am, we have a lot of catching up to do. We have a lot to apologize for. I’m going to start by apologizing for this woman.”
His second target was a group of three teenage girls with their moms. As Sims approached them, he announced, “Look, a bunch of white people standing outside of Planned Parenthood.” He then proceeded to offer $100 to anyone who could identify the girls, to continue the attacks on them. One of the girls who was darker-skinned did reply to Sims: “I’m pretty far from white.”
I interviewed Ashley Garecht, the mom of two of the girls, and she found it strange that Sims referenced race in his attacks. My view is that Sims reflects the view of some progressives that calling out a person for being white is a way to diminish their point of view. Sims is also white, so this tactic seems irrational, but rationality has nothing to do with a virtue signaler such as Sims when he launches his attacks.
In a deeper sense, I wonder what Sims thinks about the writings and statements of Margaret Sanger, a white woman who founded Planned Parenthood. Daniel J. Flynn, in the American Spectator, wrote that Sanger spoke at a Ku Klux Klan rally in 1926. She called “the aboriginal Australian “the lowest species of the human family, just a step higher than the chimpanzee in brain development.” Her “Plan for World Peace” outlined “a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is already tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.”
Sanger clearly was a eugenicist, and people such as Sen. Ted Cruz and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson have tied Sanger to movements that tried to limit the birthrates of African Americans.
In a city that recently saw the Flyers tear down a statue of Kate Smith over racist lyrics she sang in two songs from the 1930s and a city poised to remove a statue of Frank Rizzo over racial tensions during his tenure as mayor and police commissioner, maybe it’s time to examine the vision of Margaret Sanger.
Sims has not yet received any discipline for his actions. Some legal experts have suggested he may be guilty of harassment for his actions toward the older woman and the girls. I don’t think that’s the best avenue to go.
I think the Pennsylvania House of Representatives should hold hearings to determine whether Sims committed any ethical violations. Republicans have been weak in this regard. Several sources have told me they are reluctant to pursue this because Democrats would go after Republicans who organized a pro-gun rights rally in Harrisburg, where Republican Rep. Stephanie Borowicz posed for a selfie with a man wearing a T-shirt from a group allegedly linked to white supremacists. She had already made waves for her invocation ahead of the swearing-in of the House’s first female Muslim member.
I think Borowicz should also have a hearing, but the Sims matter is a clear public outrage that must be dealt with. I talked to state Rep. Wendi Thomas about all this, and she told me that citizens can file ethics complaints. Call her office at 215-364-3414 and they will talk you through the process.