Protest personalities: Asa Khalif

Asa Khalif

Asa Khalif

City officials expect as many as 50,000 protesters a day to hit Philadelphia’s streets and a demonstration zone at FDR Park, across from the Democratic National Convention taking place at Wells Fargo Center.

Each day, we’ll profile a protest leader to give you a peek at the personalities behind the chants and signs.

Want to participate in or watch a protest march? Or would you prefer to dodge protests — and the traffic congestion they could cause — altogether? The DNC Action Committee has a protest master schedule online.

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Black Lives Matter. He’s a national organizer.


Marches protesting police brutality, typically ending with rallies outside of the offices of police and prosecutors. They plan a “Black DNC Resistance Against Police Terrorism and State Repression” march on July 26 from Broad and Diamond to Dilworth Plaza. On July 25, they’ll hold a “Free Speech Uncensored” rally at FDR Park.


Doesn’t disclose his age because of his African-rooted spirituality, in which “we have no space, no time. When you speak age, when you speak time, it diminishes you, it disconnects you.”

Home base

Old City.

Day job

Real estate.

Bet you didn’t know

Khalif’s adoptive father is white. While critics try to discredit Black Lives Matter believers as people of color who hate whites and cops, race was never an issue in Khalif’s multicultural family, he said. Criminal injustice and police brutality drove him to become an activist advocating for people of color, he added. “My dad is a bad-ass, and he believes in justice. Don’t be surprised: You might see him sneak up here and stand with me in the DNC. If you see an old, white, gray-haired dude saying: ‘No justice, no peace!’ that’s my pops.” Khalif also is personally invested in the fight against police brutality: A Philadelphia police officer shot his cousin, Brandon Tate-Brown, to death during a traffic stop in 2014.

In his words

“We’re trying to fix a broken system with a history of abuse for black and brown bodies. I’m not anti-police. I’m anti-police-brutality. I believe there has to be responsibility when police officers are violent, especially when they kill black and brown people. As long as police violence exists and is supported, we will march and take the streets.

“When I say black lives matter, it doesn’t mean that I’m saying no other lives matter, it doesn’t mean I hate white people, it doesn’t mean I hate law enforcement. When we say black lives matter, it’s exactly what it is: Our lives are on the line. We are being dehumanized by the courts, by the police.

“If you go into the emergency ward and you break your arm and you tell the doctor: ‘Hey, my arm is broken,’ the doctor is not going to say: ‘I’m not going to treat your arm because all bones matter.’ Yeah, all bones matter, every bone matters. But we’re dealing with the one that’s broken. And black and brown people have been broken for a really long time. You don’t have to be black or brown to be a victim of police violence, so we’re asking people to come together for justice. Denied justice for one is denied justice for all of us. No justice, no peace.”



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