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Hillary Clinton Rally Draws Protesters to Fillmore

Police arrested two Philadelphia Coalition for Real Justice members at a press conference in early April after they denounced Bill Clinton publicly and in person for signing 1994 legislation, which led to the incarceration of millions of African Americans for minor drug offenses. Coalition members also criticized Hillary Clinton for her infamously racist 1996 “super predators” comment.

Clinton’s campaign invited the Coalition as a whole to attend a conference at St. Paul’s Baptist Church near 10th & Wallace Street that addressed criminal justice and policing only after the arrests of Erica Mines and Rufus Farmer gained media attention.

Coalition members march with an anti-Hillary Banner. Photo Credit: Philadelphia Coalition for Real Justice. Used with permission. Image Source:

Coalition members march in Center City with an anti-Hillary Clinton banner during the Apr. 14 Day of Rage protest. Photo Credit: Philadelphia Coalition for Real Justice, used with permission. Image Source:

More recently, Jason Farmer and other Coalition members protested Clinton’s rally at the Fillmore in Fishtown and the conference she held at St. Paul’s Church, both of which took place Apr. 20. “I want presidential pardons for all federal prisoners unjustly imprisoned or sentenced as a result of the 1994 crime bill, though Blacks have been disproportionately impacted by it,” he said.

Farmer’s brother was one of the two Coalition members arrested.

“We refuse to play politics with Mrs. Clinton,” the Coalition wrote in an Apr. 20 press release,

or pretend that she is talking to organizers and protesters for any other reason than to regain the political traction she lost after her husband revealed his deep seated racist views about African American organizers. We will not be a party to Hillary Clinton’s desperate political machinations.

Another group of protesters held up signs outside the Fillmore on Frankford Ave. assailing Hillary Clinton on numerous additional fronts: hypocritical claims as a women’s rights advocate, ties with former national security advisor Henry Kissinger, gratuitous military spending, using the US military to depose elected leaders abroad and forcibly open international trade, maintaining energy industry affinities, pandering to big banks and financiers and her recent refusal to release transcripts of speeches she received compensation to give.


Kyle Willard and other protesters fly anti-Hillary signs at the intersection of Frankford Ave. & Delaware Ave.

The chart below shows donations to Hillary Clinton’s campaign committee, along with hybrid and Super PACs operating on her behalf.

Clinton Chart

Cash Donated to Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign by Industry, 2016 Election Cycle. Source: Center for Responsive Politics.

“People talk about the split in the Republican Party, but there’s one in the Democratic Party as well. It’s just as severe,” said Kyle Willard, who currently works as a research associate with the Democratic National Committee. “We’ve seen Philadelphians hit the ‘Democrat’ button for years yet they are still expecting things to change.”


Kyle Willard brandishes anti-Hillary signs at a rush-hour driver on Frankford Ave. outside the Fillmore.

Discussion of Clinton’s campaign outside the Fillmore grew more speculative as the evening continued. Both supporters and detractors describe her as a good political helmswoman and negotiator. Voters could also take that to mean she’s got a history of making abrupt and radical policy changes. In other words, what she says doesn’t matter very much as her position will likely change with circumstances.

“Look at the Hillary Clinton of yesteryear’s stances on the National Free Trade Agreementgay marriage and the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” another protester suggested. “Think about where she comes down on these issues today.”

Along with flexibility, abstention is a crucial part of diplomacy. Clinton didn’t vote 249 times out of a total of 2,616 opportunities during her tenure as a New York Senator, which lasted from 2001 to 2008: much lower than the median, according to Govtrack.us.

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