Mayor Jim Kenney delivered his address to the Democratic National Convention on the opening night of the event. The full text of the speech can be viewed below.
***Remarks as prepared***
On behalf of the great people of this city, welcome to Philadelphia!
Philadelphia is the city that makes history.
And, we’re ready to do it again, when this convention nominates the first woman President of the United States!
Today, I want to share a Philadelphia story you probably don’t know.
In 1844, an early version of the Know Nothing Political Party held a rally here to protest the threat that Irish Catholic immigrants posed to the American way of life.
They claimed these immigrants – people like my family – were more likely to commit crimes than native-born citizens. Sound familiar?
The rhetoric led to riots. St. Michael and St. Augustine churches were burned to the ground. Some 20 people died.
I’m telling this story for one reason: it’s happening again.
The Know Nothings have returned, and, last week in Cleveland, they vowed to “take their country back” this November.
But they’ve got it wrong.
Whether our families came to this country in 1776 or 1976 or 2016, this country belongs to all of us.
Many of us thought we had defeated the Know Nothings eight years ago, when we elected our first black President, Barack Obama.
But the fact is that meaningful change never happens all at once.
You have to fight for it.
A few weeks ago, after two previous attempts, Philadelphia became the first major city to pass a soda tax that will fund pre-k, community schools and parks, rec centers and library renovations
Recently, I was talking to an immigrant restaurant owner, who told me that he supported the tax, even though he sells soda, because it was going to help the neighborhood children
He said, “we didn’t just come here to get rich, we came here to make a better life.”
I can’t tell you how angry I am that he and all our immigrant brothers and sisters had to hear the ugly things said in Cleveland.
But we can’t let anger overwhelm us. That’s what Know-Nothings do.Instead, we have to come together
Because when this country comes together, families who used to have to choose between groceries or healthcare are no longer hungry or sick.
When we come together, children whose destiny was once determined by their zip code get the start in pre-k they deserve.
And when we come together, the Know-Nothings who overran Philadelphia in 1844 will finally be defeated with the election of Hillary Clinton as President of the United States in 2016!