Mad or Nah? MAY 2021

Penn & the City caught red-handed with MOVE remains. Locals sound off… 

Mad or Nah is an original woman-on-the-street interview series from REVIVE Radio that asks Philadelphians about issues impacting their everyday life. Tamara Russell aka Proof of Consciousness aka P.O.C. hosts and produces a variety of award-winning shows featured on Uptown Radio 98.5FM and Philly’s WHYY/NPR/PBS outlets.

Mad or Nah? Penn kept bones of Black children killed in the 1985 MOVE police bombing: 

It’s hard to think of a more egregious act of state-sanctioned police brutality than the MOVE bombing, where six adults and five children lost their lives. More than 30 years after the siege, it remains the only aerial bombing against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. Just last November, City Council finally issued a formal apology, and established May 13th as an annual day of observation for the generations of Philadelphians impacted by the bombing.

Any semblance of healing, however, fell apart this April when the remains of two young MOVE victims turned up as teaching aids in an online Forensics class offered by Princeton University. In the outrage that ensued, Princeton implicated Penn as the source, who in turn seemed to suggest the remains had been lost or returned to the Phila Medical Examiner’s office.

On May 13th – the first office date of remembrance – Philadelphia’s health commissioner Thomas Farley resigned after admitting he’d had the remains cremated and “disposed of,” rather than retuned to the family.

Neighbors react to this story that made international headlines for the City and two Ivy League colleges. NOTE: Some speakers provide their names & neighborhoods, some don’t. Check out their voices in P.O.C.’s original recorded interviews, transcribed here:

  • Yeah, I mean, I was I was definitely not happy about that. I’m weirdly like though not too surprised. I guess I feel like it. It sounds like something Penn would do.  — Resident, West Philly
  • Definitely makes me upset. I just don’t understand how two universities can just take advantage of people’s remains that way. I just think they should be compensated for what happened properly, immediately. You know, drop a bomb on the house. And then steal people’s remains and then you do research and you made all your money. Now it’s time to give back, plus. That’s how I feel about it.  — Resident, West Philly
  • I feel that. That is a mistake on Penn’s side. But I feel that Penn is doing its best in getting those remains back to the kin. And I support Penn in doing that. — Resident, West Philly
  • I think it’s very disappointing that they would not have been more sensitive to the community or to the families of those children. I think they’ve already apologized, but I think they need to do more and maybe have a committee or something to make the situation right. — Bruce, Center City
  • Well, yes, it upsets me. It does. You know, the University of Pennsylvania has a history of really inappropriate treatment with, you know, marginalized people. And so you would hope that, that they would be changing that. And so it’s an indication that somewhere along the way, someone you know, didn’t. Someone didn’t check that and there’s no. Yeah, those remains should be returned back to the family members. We can’t return the remains and the things that they have stolen from our community from the African community as a result of their practices as an institution. But they can certainly return these bones to the Africa family. — Trina, West Philadelphia
  • I think it’s terrible. I think it’s inhumane. Penn should be ashamed of themselves. Honestly.  — Resident, North Philly
  • Yeah, of course. It makes me mad. They’re children, they belong with their families.   — Anna, University City
  • I’m absolutely enraged and disgusted. This is my second time living in Philadelphia. I actually live right near where the MOVE bombing happened. And so in terms of the efforts that have been going on in the community to fight against what the city of Philadelphia did to the Africa family. I’m all for it. They just held a press conference this past week, right near the Penn Museum to speak out about it and there was actually a protest. And so I’m all for it. 100% you know, the fact that institutions have the remains of human beings is absolutely the deplorable. — Resident, Philadelphia

How ‘bout you?

Reading these comments, are you mad or nah? Big mad, little mad? Reach out to revive.poc@gmail.com or leave a message on this post below. Read the last Mad or Nah here.

Tune in at REVIVEISALIVE.COM, also featured on WHYY.org. Follow on all social sites @Revive_POC. This post made possible through a partnership with WHYY/N.I.C.E

About P.O.C. 7 Articles
Tamara Russell (aka Proof of Consciousness aka P.O.C.) hosts and produces a variety of award-winning shows featured on Uptown Radio 98.5FM and Philly’s WHYY/NPR/PBS outlets. "Mad or Nah" is an original woman-on-the-street interview series from REVIVE Radio that asks Philadelphians about issues impacting their everyday life.

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