philadelphia mummers

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Philadelphia is starting off the new year with a sound bruising. Today during the annual Mummers Parade, participants carried out offensive attacks against Black Lives Matters, Transgender people, Gay people, Hispanics, and Native Americans.

According to 6ABC, participants in the parade wore ‘brownface’ and carried signs saying “Mummers Lives Matter” and “Wench Lives Matter,” a blatant attack on the Black Lives Matter movement, which was carrying out a large protest on the sidelines of the parade. This attack is most offensive because BLM is built on the graves of men and women who have had their lives stolen by corrupt police and vigilantes. This is not a joke, this is not a game, this is a movement with lives in the balance and mocking it is not only disrespectful and painful, it is just inhumane.

According to NBC10, participants also mocked the LGBT community. At least one group in the parade mocked Transgender people by performing Caitlyn Jenner’s transition from a man to a woman. The group danced to “Dude Looks Like A Lady” while changing from male attire and into female attire. They also held signs mocking the gold medalist’s Wheaties cover by putting her on a Frootloops box. The offensive display was put on by Finnegan New Years Brigade, and they weren’t done there. One of the men was seen on video shouting “Fuck the gays!” repeatedly. A local man also says members from the group physically assaulted him while in an alley off Broad Street. John Holtz was walking his parent’s dog when 4 of the brigade members walked into the alley to urinate. The men began attacking Holtz verbally, calling him a “faggot” and “gay,” before punching him and leaving him with a swollen cheek. The attack took place within eyesight of children who were there to watch the parade.

Further still, groups wore brownface and cultural attire to mock Hispanics and took it a step forward with a taco costume. There were also reports of people dressed as Native Americans wearing costumes to mock their culture, but this has not been confirmed.

These disgusting offenses are not welcome in a city like ours. Philadelphia is a city that embraces the diversity of our people and it is simply unacceptable to have these displays in our streets. Much more than the symbolic offenses, there is also the hateful physical attack on Mr. Holtz. I am very proud to see Mayor Kenney and Director of LGBT Affairs Nellie Fitzpatrick speaking out about this and taking it seriously.

I love being a Mummer. I love everything about it. The music, the joy, the costume, the props, the stress… All of it.

It saddens me that Mummers are given a bad name by a small few. Or that some people will never understand or fully appreciate what a Mummer is and the sheer amount of fun it is.

Long live Philadelphia’s longest tradition.

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Philadelphia: Protest against 2016 Mummers bigotry, January 1, 2016.

For the first time since the 1960s, a hundred protesters confronted the Mummers New years Day parade. Signs included a range of issues, such as Justice for Tamir Rice, Save our Schools, Fight for $15, No Human is Illegal, and Wenches ain’t shit!. The Philly Coalition for Racial, Economic and Legal Justice organized the demonstration, which tried to disrupt the parade several times. Three protesters were arrested. Some Mummers wore black-face and others held signs disparaging the Black Lives Matter movement.

Photos and report by Joe Piette