Firsts matter, some more than others

When a “first” is achieved, it is a genuine Big Deal.

First man Person on the Moon. (Neil Armstrong.)

First Woman to Receive a Nobel Prize. (Marie Skłodowska Curie.)

What do Cherelle Parker and David Oh have in common?

First Black Player in Major League Baseball. (Jackie Robinson.) 

First Person to Undergo Male-to-Female Surgery. (Dora “Dorchen” Richter.)

First Woman to be Nominated for Philadelphia Mayor. (Cherelle Parker.)

And that fact is noted is almost every story about the former state rep and City Council person. 

In a Tuesday Inquirer story, in her first public address since winning the nomination, Parker said she stood on other people’s shoulders, something both true and trite: “I didn’t get here alone. I’m not superwoman. I stand on the shoulders of some women who generations ago, they could have been standing up as the Democratic nominee for mayor were it not for their inability to raise the funds needed to compete with, most of the time, men.”

She name checked a number of women, in addition to her mentor Marian Tasco (who left office in semi-disgrace as one of the Council hogs who glommed DROP payments that were never intended for elected officials): Augusta “Gussie” Clarke, a 20-year Council member and just the second Black woman to ever serve on the body; Roxanne Jones, a Philadelphia politician and the first Black woman elected to the state Senate: Anna Verna, Philadelphia’s first female City Council president; Joan L. Krajewski, who served on Council for more than 30 years; C. Delores Tucker, a civil rights activist and Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

“I don’t know whether or not any of you know who those women were,” Parker told the gaggle of press and onlookers. Most probably didn’t.

I know who they all were, and would add to that list Lynne Abraham, the city’s first female D.A.

Now here’s a little oddity, and a note to the Inquirer’s editing desk: Republican mayoral nominee David Oh is the first Asian to be nominated for the job of mayor.

Why don’t we see that in every Inquirer mention?

Because he’s Asian? Because he’s male? Because racial identity matters only if you are a Democrat?

Your guess is as good as mine.

16 thoughts on “Firsts matter, some more than others”

  1. And how about The Late Great Frank Rizzo, first Italian American who was elected Mayor in the city of Philadelphia.

    1. She was specifically talking about WOMEN firsts.
      Rizzo was first Anglo-American mayor.
      Rendell credited with being first Jewish mayor, but that was Bernard Samuel, with an *

  2. Unfortunately , the quotes come from the candidate , who would anger her base at the mention of a Frank Rizzo , who was perceived as a racist, even though he those who knew him best will tell stories that he was just a tough cop. Of course, he ran ad a Republican, so any mention might offend the Inkys dwindling readership. Yes , and Lynn Abraham, should have been mentioned the tough Jewish female DA. I am a ” sem” liberal Democrat living in New Jersey who frequents the city regularly. My hope is that she stops all the ‘firsts” rhetoric and works on making the city safer. I work in a a business where I speak regularly to people from all over the country, and the clients who used to talk about our cheesesteaks instead want to talk about the rampant crime..Thanks Stu..been following you since a young boy living at 2nd and Cheltenham iand old enough to pick up my 15 cent Daily News

    1. Welcome, Scott. Parker was specifically talking about WOMEN firsts. The Daily News was a power in the 15-cent days.
      If you like this blog, tell your friends,

    2. For his 2 terms as mayor rizzo was a Democrat . Then 4 yrs later he lost in the democrat primary for mayor to wilson goode and then 4 yrs after that switched to republican to challenge goode in the next general election ( goodes second election) .
      Of course frank was a life long republican until he was picked to be police commissioner and he quickly switched to Democrat hours before the press conference to announce him as the new commissioner

  3. I’m OK with Ms. Parker touting her accomplishments as a first–it’s only been a week since she won the primary. Now she, along with the media, should drop it and concentrate on issues and policy proposals. As for Mr. Oh, he too should be allowed a moment to gloat about being the first Asian American mayoral candidate. Don’t know him and living 1500 miles away, he certainly doesn’t get a lot of attention down here, especially since Philly has not elected a Republican mayor since, what, the 1890’s?. I do, however, congratulate the city on actually picking candidates (presumably) based on issues, not on race, or religion, or gender. Now on with the business of actually running the city.

    1. Oh doesn’t get much attention here, either. Yes, Parker was entitled to Mark her accomplishment and should not get on with the business of governing.

  4. How about Philadelphia’s first Black mayor,
    W. Wilson Goode? Or is he on the permanently banished list?

  5. Quite an accomplishment, I hope if elected that she does a good job. The hope for a better Philadelphia has been pretty bleak. Many of these women have stepped up and got the job done. Hopefully this time it will happen too. Looking from 1500 miles away, nothing makes me want to come back to the city, Someday I hope that I will again.

  6. Whatever happened to e pluribus unum? Isn’t it enough to be a good American mayor?

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