Milton Street hits the campaign trail at Broad and Erie

 Mayoral candidate Milton Street kicks off a press conference near Broad St. and Erie Ave. on Tuesday. (Brian Hickey/WHYY)

Mayoral candidate Milton Street kicks off a press conference near Broad St. and Erie Ave. on Tuesday. (Brian Hickey/WHYY)

Sporting a tight red T-shirt that featured his ballot position and “Stop the Violence” mantra, mayoral candidate T. Milton Street Sr. railed against building prisons at a time of meager school funding and canvassed for votes where Broad Street meets Germantown and Erie aves. on Tuesday.

“Don’t get angry that labor and special interests use politics to their advantage,” said Street into a microphone set up outside Taj Mahal Perfume shop just after the clock struck noon. “Stand up, go out and use the political world to our advantage. If we unify, we’ll win this thing.”

Returning to a message that people who support him don’t necessarily show up in polls, Street said people like those he met and greeted throughout the afternoon “feel defeated” by a political deck seemingly stacked against them.

“I feel an energy I’ve never felt before. I actually think the city is going to wake up and want to hear Milton Street,” he said, boasting that he has substantial support via social-media sites like Facebook even though the media (short of NinetyNine and CBS3 anchor Chris May) didn’t cover Tuesday’s event. “If it was Lynne Abraham, Jim Kenney or someone like that, they’d be here with all their cameras.”

Speaking to several dozen potential voters — as several driversby either stopped or yelled his name out of their car windows, including one who told NinetyNine “every black person in the city knows he’s running for mayor” — the candidate discussed school funding, public safety and other issues.

The general consensus of one such discussion, in a scene unlike anything NinetyNine saw at an array of campaign-season forums, was that crime would go down if children had after-school programs to keep them occupied.

“How can you pretend to connect with me, to know what we’re going through, if you don’t know how to scratch out here to survive?” said Aaron Lowry of North Philadelphia after chatting with Street for about 15 minutes.

“If you’ve never faced the struggle, faced a life of poverty, when you got bills to pay and have to decide between feeding your kids and keeping the lights on, you can’t really know what’s going on,” he continued. “It’s really hard out here.”

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