I AM NOT Catholic, but I understand the significance of the upcoming papal visit. In short, the presence of Pope Francis, a man who has placed poverty at the center of his papacy, will put the world’s eyes squarely on our city.
The world will see the brick tower of Independence Hall standing tall against a cloud-speckled sky. The world will view the architecture of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and be moved by the classical strains of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The world will see the opulence of City Hall, with William Penn gazing down on the city for which he prayed.
But beneath all of that, if the world dares to look closer, they will see the poverty that the pope has so often spoken against.
Philadelphia has the highest poverty rate of any big city in America, yet skyscrapers gleam against our ever-expanding skyline. Homeless men and women sleep in City Hall’s shadow, even as we give decade long tax abatements to the wealthy. Our education system crumbles before our eyes, yet we give prisons priority over people.
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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon