Philadelphia City Council recently approved a resolution condemning the 1985 bombing of MOVE, a black liberation group founded by John Afrika. The bombing occurred in West Philladelpia leaving 11 people dead, including five children. Almost all of the victims were black, according to TheBlackDetour.com. 61 homes were burned as police attempted to evict MOVE from their compound reports Philadelpia Magazine. The event was reminesent of the 1921 Massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the destruction of Black Wall Street.
Councilmember Jamie Gauthier sponsored the resolution which was introduced days after the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr. not far from the bombing site. “We can draw a straight line from the unresolved pain and trauma of that day to Walter Wallace Jr.’s killing earlier this week in the very same neighborhood,” said Gauthier.
After decades of trauma perpetrated against Black residents, Gauthier called on city officials to examine the police selection process and extend an apology to all those effected.
According to Philly councilmembers the MOVE resolution was introduced as a token of the City’s desire for “restorative justice” and atonement, establishing an annual day of observation, reflection and recommitment. Former Mayor, Wilson Goode, who was in office at the time of the bombing wrote in an op-ed in The Guardian that the event will remain on his conscience for life. Councilmember Brian O’Neill was the only member to oppose the resolution which was passed.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan teaches us there are 8 steps in the atonement process. It begins by pointing out wrong, but it doesn’t end there. It takes acknowledging wrong, confessing fault, repentance, atonement thru amends and reparations, forgiveness, reconciliation, and perfect union with Allah. Plilladelphia city’s MOVE resolution and apology may prove to be a first step. Or it may be more empty words so long as police mistreatment and shooting of black people continues.