When It Comes To Black People And Forgiveness, Who Truly Holds The Power?

birds eye view of a city
William Anderson
May 5, 2023

May 2020 marked the 35th anniversary of one of the most barbaric, anti-Black police attacks ever: the MOVE bombing. Philadelphia began to address the horrific act of violence that claimed many Black lives, but those efforts aren’t enough.

Police in Philadelphia didn’t kill all the members of the MOVE organization, despite trying to do so on multiple occasions. When they bombed MOVE, it happened under the leadership of the city’s first Black mayor.

Former mayor W. Wilson Goode, Sr., wrote an op-ed calling for the city to apologize. After much hesitancy, a few city council members agreed; however, this is bigger than any apology.

MOVE survivors have their own feelings about these efforts, and those are the ones that truly matter.

Janine Africa, whose 12-year-old son was killed in the fire, said this: “We don't want money or museums … We want to be left alone and for this city to acknowledge that MOVE is not guilty of any crimes.”

MOVE members who were imprisoned have now all passed away or recently been released. But their request for restoration under the law still hasn’t happened. MOVE reminds us that we don’t have to forgive anyone for their injustices against us, and we get to decide what our own justice looks like.

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