Hundreds of friends, family and supporters – including TV Judge Greg Mathis – on Sunday night attended the only fundraiser scheduled for Delaware County Council candidate Richard Womack, Jr. but other candidates running on the Democratic ticket took advantage of the opportunity to see and be seen.
Mathis, the indisputable draw for the $30 per ticket event at the Oaks Ballroom in Darby Township, explained his personal friendships with Womack and his father, Richard, Sr., that dates back more than 20 years – “before I was even on TV,” he said. Mathis, the star of the second-longest running TV judge show, has been on the air for 17 years.
Richard, Sr., in introducing Mathis, explained his background and the message in it for other people.
“He grew up in Detroit in the 60’s and 70’s when there were street gangs and he (Mathis) was a part of that. He was arrested and jailed for drugs and guns. But when his mother came to the jail to see him, he promised her that he would not embarrass her anymore. He went back to school, got his bachelor’s degree then went to law school and got his law degree but they didn’t want to give him a law license, so he fought to get that and he won. Then he ran for a seat on the (Michigan) Superior Court and won that; he was the youngest person ever elected to a judgeship in the state.
“He didn’t stop there. He set up ‘Gas-free Friday,’ wherein people could fill up their cars with gas and he paid for all of it, as his way of giving back to the community. But he didn’t stop there. He offered counseling to young people through a community center he set up and he paid for that.”
The senior Womack gushed that Mathis had served with him on the national boards of advocacy organizations like labor unions and the NAACP and he was proud “to introduce you to a man you already think you know, but you don’t.”
Receiving standing ovations both before and after his speech, Mathis took the podium for about 40 minutes, explaining that he was no stranger to the community in that many of his closest relatives lived in Chester.
The tell-it-like-it-is TV judge was respectful, but direct, telling the audience, “We have won everything we’ve fought for. We fought for civil rights, silver rights, emancipation, des-segregation, voting rights, Black Lives Matter, even the presidency. Yes, there has been progress; don’t ever let people make you think there hasn’t been. But there’s more to do and people don’t give you power because you look nice; you have to take it!”
He said, “In our communities they’ve replaced education and opportunity with drugs and guns and if we want change we have to make it. We have to first convince ourselves and our young people that Black Lives Matter to us.”