Krasner has won the Democratic primary for DA. Now we must work for true reform

Philadelphia’s history is as long as America’s. We had a White House for the first president, and Johnson House for the underground railroad.

We had the Liberty Bell to celebrate Penn’s charter, and that bell was adopted by abolitionists. We’ve spent centuries peddling our messy history to tourists.

But on Tuesday, Philadelphia stopped looking backward, and looked at the truth of who we are.

Because while Philadelphia is the cradle of American liberty, it’s also a national model for the failure of lock ‘em up and throw away the key. That’s especially true when it comes to Black folks.

Philadelphia is the nation’s leader in life without parole sentencing. As of 2018, one in 294 black Philadelphians was serving a life sentence.

That’s not justice. It’s genocide. Except rather than killing our bodies, the justice system kills our communities. That’s systemic. That’s purposeful. That is racism.

So, on Tuesday, we voted for a new approach. We voted for Larry Krasner.

We voted with the understanding that innocent people are jailed because of coerced confessions and prosecutors who hide evidence. We voted to give our kids a fighting chance.

This is not to say Krasner is perfect. He’s not. But Krasner has a jobs program to keep people from turning to crime in the first place. He’s has a unit that overturned 20 wrongful convictions. He’s trying to do this thing differently. And I’m here for it.

We’ll see if fair alternative sentencing works over time. But we already know what doesn’t work—overcharging doesn’t work. Coercing confessions doesn’t work. Wrongful conviction doesn’t work. So let’s try giving progress a chance.

Photo: Phila. City Counsel. By Philadelphia City Council

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