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The Truth About Philadelphia
Heroes and Villains

Glenn Holsten Lead-in:
People have no trouble applying the dramatic ideas of heroes and villains to their lives. They're quick to name their heroes, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela came up. In Philadelphia, Sister Mary Skullian and Sonia Sanchez, Bill Cosby were all named as heroes. But people had a much more difficult time naming the villains. It's interesting to note that the only person mentioned in response to both questions is former Mayor Frank Rizzo. In your life, who are the heroes, who are the villains?

Glenn Hg:
Philadelphia's full of heroes.

Melvin :
A hero is not somebody who knocks somebody out in the ring. Oh he's our hero. What?? So he gets on the screen, TV and takes all his clothes off and, excuse me, Miss, and jump on top of all these ladies. He's our hero. What??? Because he can play basketball, he's our hero? What??? That's not what I was taught a hero was.

Mary Cousar:
My greatest hero is my fourth grade teacher. She's still alive. Umm, we used to have a very strong, close knit community in North Carolina. And there was, uh, one young man in our neighborhood who lived right across the street from her, he couldn't hear. And so therefore he wasn't allowed to go to school, and she fought for a lot of years to get this child into North Carolina schools for deaf children. And he finally got some kind of education.

And because I have all sons I've been to more Sixer's games and sat on that back row than most people. Umm, I don't like football but I froze down there because every time I could get a chance to take a group of children somewhere I would always do that. And I think that that's something that I really got from her. Just a sense of you always got to give back.

Benes Lawrence :
My father died when I was, when I was eight. But I still needed that masculine attention. I still needed a man in my life that cared, one that would listen and be a part of me. I remember that there was a man across the street from me named Louis Truly. Now he's the kind of a guy that a story should be written about.

Louis Truly, umm, took me, showed me how to be, how to do things. Umm, and he didn't, he didn't say do this, do that, the oth..., he just, just let me. I'll never forget we, we were working on his car, I know, I know I was an annoyance to him, I know, but he just never let me know that. We were working on his car and we're both of us are crawling around under his car and I think I was more in the way than anything and I think the way he got me out of being a problem to him he had me run a bolt in, run this one bolt in. And I put the bolt in and it went in and I wrenched it in nice and tight and he said now is that going to fall out of there boy?

Benes cont'd :
No, I don't think so and I wrenched it in tighter. And when we were finished we sat back and we had ice cream, just the two of us, and we laughed and talked about what we just did. And what, and the bolt that I wrenched in had no meaning at all, later I found out. But to me that was so important that he would allow me to do this without badgering me, without talking me down, just letting me be me. That's a hero. That's a hero.

Uh, I would, uh, say that heroes for me are, if I could identify just regular folks, would be grandmothers. There's millions of grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. That's one heck of a thing if you think about it. And, uh, so I call them heroes.

What's that little insect that sucks the blood? What do you call those things? Uh, that gets on you in the water?

The leeches. Couldn't think of the name. They're the, they're the villains, the leeches that will descend in a street or a neighborhood, a community and suck the blood out of it. And let me tell you something, as far as I'm concerned, there's as many of them sitting in huge, gigantic, palatial office buildings, with two thousand dollar suits on, with chauffeurs and maids and butlers in their house in the country, as there are the ones walking the street with a gun in their belt, cause they all after the same thing. And the blood is the money. The blood is the money.

George :
Villains? Uh, 95% of the politicians. Not all. But the few that are out there that want to do good and try to do good, are, are, their hands are tied. And maybe, 50% of them go into it with good intentions.

It's like they're, over there they're campaigning. They'll turn around and promise you the sun and moon and the stars. But it seems as soon as their butt hits that chair, it's like, uh, excuse me? Who are you? What happened to the promises.

Villains I would say people that actually harbor hate and resentment towards other people, particularly people of color. I mean there are people out there, uh, that, you know, in this day and age, in 1990 you still have fire bombings, uh, in communities in Philadelphia, you still have, uh, incidents where they don't want people of certain races to live there, not based on the character of the person, but based on the color of their skin.

How do -- when we disagree with people, how do we, uh, begin conversations with the villain of the day who are really in other context very good people? How do I get to the goodness and make the relationship based on the goodness and then struggle with the disagreements.

Not everyone in our church agrees on the issue of homosexuality. Because depending on who you are, everybody -- I have the -- I'm a villain in some people -- I am the villain in some people's eyes, I am the villain. (LAUGH) Want them to equally be able to say I am also a decent human being, I am a good person. But if you believe certain things in the Church, I could understand why they would see me as the villain.

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