With an eye toward keeping African American interests at the forefront of the current mayoral campaign, a group of black civic leaders Wednesday outlined plans for a two-day "black political summit" April 11 and 12.
The meeting, to be at Dobbins High School, will allow the group to draft an issues agenda for all mayoral and City Council candidates in the May 19 primary election. The candidates will be asked to sign off on positions presented.
"We are sick and tired of politicians who come to our community and ask for our vote and disappear," said the Rev. William B. Moore, pastor of Tenth Memorial Baptist Church in North Philadelphia. "They are no longer going to be allowed to disappear. We are going to hold them accountable."
Among those also presented as leaders of effort were Bilal Qayyum, cofounder of Men United for a Better Philadelphia; music pioneer and developer Kenny Gamble; A. Rahim Islam, chief executive officer of Universal Cos.; Asia Coney, a member of the Philadelphia Housing Authority Advisory Board; Oshunbumi Fernandez, chief executive officer for Odunde Inc., the organization that runs the annual Odunde festival; and J. Whyatt Mondesire, publisher of the Philadelphia Sun.
As described by Qayyum, the summit will be patterned after one held in the late 1970s to give greater voice to African Africans.
The first day will include 12 workshops on subjects that include public safety, housing, and economic development.
The leadership group plans to hear from the public on each subject before drafting positions. The positions will include measures of achievement that the summit would expect candidates to meet in each area. For example, Qayyum said, the housing agenda might call for a set number of low-incoming housing units to be constructed each year.
A complete agenda is to be finished and approved by the end of the summit's final day, he said. Some time after that, candidates for mayor and Council will be invited to sign off on the agenda, Qayyum said.
There will be a $10 registration fee to take part in the summit, which comes with lunch. Coney said, however, that no one would be turned away for lack of funds.