Cherelle Parker serves brunch, unity, and politics
All but one of the major players of Philadelphia’s mayoral race joined Parker for brunch. Rebecca Rhynhart, who is traveling, was not present.
The room was quiet for a few minutes at Bleu Brook, a known restaurant frequented by the city’s political variety in West Philly on Wednesday morning, as Democratic mayoral nominee Cherelle Parker hosted her former competitors in the race for brunch. The silence was an anomaly in a race in which every second was accounted for with forums, questionnaires, and vested stakeholders.
Reverend Robert Collier, president of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia, asked the former mayoral candidates and the press to look for unity and collaboration, seldom mentioned on the campaign trail, as 10 candidates inflicted deep wounds on each other.
But from the moment Cherelle Parker became the Democratic nominee for Philly’s 100th mayor, she has stressed themes of unity, saying the work she achieved before the election was because she had been a “coalition builder” both in Harrisburg and Philly.
A general election awaits voters in November. Democrats are highly favored to win because of the city’s democratic electorate, which outnumbers Republicans.
Parker, who acted chummy among her former opponents — many of whom grilled her over Terry Stops and her stance on additional policing — said they “joshed” over the incalculable number of events related to the mayor’s race.
“For me, it felt like a million forums and debates,” Parker jested, “but each and every one of the candidates left their own indelible mark in this election… and we all have shared values there.”
“While we may not always agree on the path that we take to get here, I do intend, and we’ll be very intentional, that we make sure that the voices of those who ran in this election, that we hear them, and we figure out a way to get together,” Parker said.
Questions about what that could look like are anything but fleshed out. Parker on Monday lauded her former colleagues-turned competitors Derek Green and Maria Quiñones Sánchez in her first public appearance since her historic nomination.
Yet when she addressed a press gaggle afterward, no specifics were offered beyond a future that could include Green and Quiñones Sánchez, both of whom endorsed Parker for mayor and supported her campaign in the days leading up to the primary.
Coasting the Summer months
The day she announced she’d be suspending her campaign, Quiñones Sánchez released a Latino Agenda promptly shared by her then-competitors, who expressed their admiration for Quiñones Sánchez’s work on District 7.
Parker was among few candidates who at a forum the following evening, mentioned the importance of Quiñones Sánchez’s agenda for the city’s Spanish-speaking bloc, one that is politically disengaged and disjointed from City Council.
Days after, Quiñones Sánchez told AL DÍA before releasing an official endorsement that Parker’s lived experience swayed her in Parker’s direction, adding that other candidates didn’t have the life experience required to tackle District 7’s blights. Namely, Kensington.
At brunch, Quiñones Sánchez declined to provide specifics and did not say whether she anticipated a job offer and rise to the mayor’s cabinet.
In an interview with AL DÍA on Wednesday, Quiñones Sánchez said she was thinking about breakfast and would recover in the coming months before announcing major decisions about her future, political or otherwise.
Helen Gym, one of the consistent front-runners throughout the election cycle, said she would continue to support and advocate for the city’s public schools and the youth. She noted that any mention of potential roles within Parker’s possible administration would be “premature.”
Parker’s coalition on the inside
When Parker neared the end of her remarks, she asked that her campaign manager, Sinceré Harris, a Puerto Rican woman, and Neftali Ramos, a Puerto Rican man and son of former State Representative Benjamin Ramos, join her at the pulpit.
“I want you to be intentional about this. This is a Black woman leading a mayoral campaign in the sixth-largest city in the nation,” Parker noted about Harris.
“And Neftali Ramos was my political director. For those of you who are saying the name rings a bell, he too stands on great shoulders his father, Ben Ramos, the first Latino elected to this Pennsylvania House of Representatives from Philadelphia.”