I’m extremely proud of the work of my staff, volunteers and supporters, but the realities of Cincinnati politics means real change must be enduring. It will require courage, creativity, selflessness and wokeness. I thank the people that voted for me and what I represent – rest assured this is not the end but a new beginning.
Although the citizens rejected the Issue 3 path to affordable housing I believe it is a crisis that all Cincinnatians want to solve. I will be a dogged champion for affordable housing.
My biggest disappointment is the relatively low voter turnout in primaries and even general elections. I will soon announce my initiative to address civic engagement; our democracy and city requires it.
I congratulate Clerk of Court Aftab Pureval and Council Member David Mann on their victories. I pray the outcome is an equitable, and more compassionate city.
Soldier, firefighter, and proud citizen of Cincinnati
Prophett for Mayor Campaign 2021
Election May 4, 2021
Press Release April 26, 2021
As a first-time candidate, one who rejects the “same old same old” political mindset. I have pledged to do what is right, fair, and just. I support Issue 3; we must not continue to” kick the can” of affordable housing down the road or develop measures that throw pennies at the problem. We must go big!
I am appalled, as a lifelong Cincinnatian, at the tactics that have been used to divide us along racial, and socio-economic lines. This latest tactic by the Republican Party (WHERE WILL THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING GO?”) is an abhorrent example of using race to divide us. It should immediately be disavowed by all area political and civic leaders. I will not waver in my support of Issue 3.
If it fails as Mayor, I will continue to fight for a solution needed by the many men and women who daily serve us in essential roles but are overburdened by the cost of housing
What other candidate will honestly support Black Lives Matter movement, affordable housing, LGBTQ, the clean up of City Hall, good government practices, job creation, 52 community initiative, responsive/equitable community healthcare, transform public safety initiatives, the arts, ending childhood poverty in Cincinnati, homelessness and much more..
Vote Yes on Issue 3
I support the (passage of) the Affordable Housing Trust Charter Amendment
We developed this slogan “Fair Future First”. The foundation of my agenda is equity. It will be the “litmus test” for any policies designed or supported by Mayor Prophett.
Watch my Announcement Speech: Go
Video footage by Legacy Video LLC.
Thanks, Saadia so much, we will always love you, as we will always be family. Pastor Steve, first lady B, and the Greater New Light Baptist Church family, I thank you all for your support. I would also like to thank each of you for joining us today. To those who came before me, I stand on your shoulders. Happy birthday Bernie.
Good afternoon Cincinnati, my name is Raffel Prophett, and I am honored to stand before you here today. I have lived in Cincinnati virtually my entire life. I was born, right here in Avondale, which is where my lovely and supportive wife Sonya, and I built our home and are raising our intelligent and beautiful three daughters. I spent my formative years in Park Town the gem of the West End. I was educated, in Cincinnati Public Schools, at Cincinnati State, UC, and Xavier. And so, I have a personal and vested interest in our city’s equity, well-being, success, sustainability, and resilience. That is why “I am ready to serve again.”
My adult life has been dedicated to public service. I have served our beloved city as a firefighter, our wonderful state in the National Guard, and our great country in the Army, overseas during the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. My life journey of public service was inspired by the example provided by my parents, my extended family, my church, and my community. My father the Reverend Sol Prophett, with his big smile, big voice, and big heart, taught me to serve by leading from the front. From my mother Lillie Mae or Lil, as she was called back in the day as a waitress serving customers at the Big Louie’s Restaurant, here in Avondale and the West End. From her, I learned that service is about helping people, which is etched in my heart. From my uncle John R. Davis, or Uncle J, I learned moral and personal courage, integrity, and financial literacy, as he was the first African-American, that I knew, to build a home in North Avondale, at that time a predominantly White neighborhood. Uncle J also taught me the value of community service as he introduced me to Prince Hall Freemasonry. I became a Pythagorean, a young auxiliary of the masonic order, I would ultimately become a freemason. The value of community service is why I pledged the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated at UC, a member of the Divine Nine family of Black Greek Letter Organizations. All of these traditional African-American organizations’ core mission is about service and helping people.
From the Beulah Missionary Baptist Church, I learned the meaning of honor. I learned that you honored God by honoring your parents, and your elders.
From the YMCA I learned life skills, such as how to swim. I was a club scout, a Webelo, and played knothole baseball. At Washburn Elementary I participated in plays and concerts put together by our beloved teachers, such Mrs. Toliver and Mr. Art Plate. At Bloom Jr High, I was a member of the best Jr High School Football team in the city. We were so good that as a player, on the second team, I saw action in nearly every game, as it would be out of reach by half time. I graduated from Hughes High School, where my chemistry teacher Mr. Murphy had such an influence on me that I majored in Chemical Engineering. There were so many others in the Westend and Avondale that had a positive influence on my early life, and I am so thankful for their nurturing.
I was admitted into the Ohio State University and accepted into PREFACE, a Summer Bridge Program. The program helped transition minority freshmen engineering students into college life, which was the brainchild of Dean Minnie McGee. So, here is where my life would change. While at
Ohio State for nearly two years I realized that I was not giving it my all, and I felt that something was missing. Even still, I am thankful for the opportunity that Ohio State and Dean McGee gave me. I returned home and went to worked for Ball Construction, an African American family own business. While working for the Balls, I realized what was missing. The answer came to me from an inspiration in my childhood that would begin my life journey of public service.
As a young child I remember seeing my two eldest brothers, Sol and Big Ed in their military dress uniforms. Inspired by my big brothers, who had served in the Army during the Vietnam War, I decided to continue the Prophett legacy of military service. I enlisted the Ohio National Guard as a private in the first of the 147th Infantry Battalion. I was so taken by the Army‘s culture of service, and a desire for greater opportunity, that I sought become a commissioned officer. I applied to Army’s Simultaneous Membership Program or SMP. As a SMP I would learn how to become an army officer by enrolling in the Reserve Officers Training Corp or ROTC, while at the same time I would get particle leadership experience as a cadet in the National Guard. This meant that I had to continue my academic life at UC. In June of 1984 I, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army.
After being in the guard for several years I was influenced by several other guard members who sought to become police officers, so I decided to apply. In fact, Police Chief Issac and I serve in the 147th together and both signed up to take the same police recruit exam. So why didn’t I become a police officer? Well, as I was leaving city HR, after I had signed up to take the police recruit exam, a lady in HR said “hey, you should sign up to take the firefighters exam, they are looking to hire more African-Americans.“ I slowly, yet reluctantly, walked back to sign up to take the fire recruit exam. As I walked out of the HR office, I said to myself “you’re supposed to run out of a burning building, not into one.’’ Nevertheless, I was now curious about firefighting. I had limited exposure to firefighting while growing up in the Westend and Avondale. However, I did know one, Rickie Joe Trainer a Middletown firefighter, who serve with me in the 147th. Rick told me that being a firefighter is the best job in the world, and he gave me encouragement by saying that I would make a great one. As I learned more about firefighting, I decided that if the fire department offered me a position first, I would accept.
On August 8, 1988, I began my career as a firefighter. Shorty, thereafter I joined the Cincinnati African American Firefighter Association or CAFA. It is due to CAFA’s fight, for equity, why I and other African-Americans were given the opportunity to become firefighters. Some of the early warriors for equity include, Herbert Bane – the first Black Cincinnati Firefighter, Bennie Sherpard, Ben Jordan, President Emeritus Edward Turner, Howard Reed, and the first African-American Fire Chief Robert Wright. When I came to the fire department, I only knew the core of the city, which was predominantly African-American neighborhoods. But, as I firefighter I worked in every neighborhood and would come to learn the entire city. From the East and West Ends, from California to Sayler Park, from the Central Business District to Price Hill, West Wood, Mt Airy, College Hill, Winton Hill, Hartwell, Roselawn, Kennedy Height, Madisonville, Linwood, Mt. Washington and every neighborhood in between. What was most notable in my early career was how racially segregated are our neighborhoods.. You were either an east sider, or a west sider, or you lived in the core. As I promoted from firefighter to Lieutenant to Captain and ultimately my ceiling as a District Chief, I came to realize the challenges and issues that we faced as a department and as a city. I realized that fires more often occurred in African-American and underserved communities. Also, it became evident that Blacks and the underserved more frequently use public safety health services. My career as a firefighter was aligned with my time as a soldier, and so I sought to address these challenges and issues guided by the army’s core values to do what is right, what is just, and what is fair.
The 32 years that I spent in the army were the most transformative of my life. I have held many positions, such as an adjunct instructor for the ROTC Marauder Battalion at Central State University. In 2011, I was deployed overseas and served as the Deputy Director of Plans, and Military and Civilian Affairs for the United States Army Central. I have firsthand experience in the collective and collaborative decision making that is required to achieve our nations’ strategic and operational goals. My year-long overseas deployment in a combat zone was taxing, stressful, yet enlightening. Nevertheless, to my wife Sonya, I love you, thanks for caring for our daughters. And to all military families that hold it down, I thank you for your sacrifice. When I returned home from War, I was more focused and more dedicated to making the fire department and our city better.
To better prepare myself for greater responsibility and civic involvement I enrolled in Xavier’s Urban Sustainability and Resilience Master’s Program. The program coursework incorporates research from multiple disciplines to prepare graduates to become effective sustainability leaders and
advocates for positive change. I graduated from the program in 2016. Since then, my way of thinking has grown, and new ideas have blossomed that has motivated me to want to serve in new ways.
I have always believed in civic action. I have been involved in many civic organizations that include, the Avondale Community Council, the Urban League, the Green Umbrella, the American Legion, the
NAACP, the MLK Coalition, and of course CAFA. One of my more promising civic efforts is the work to create the Public Safety Academy. The Public Safety Academy will provide the opportunity for Cincinnati Public High school students to become Police officers and Firefighters. The Public Safety Academy will be a partnership between the city and Cincinnati Public Schools. We have lobbied for nearly 4 years to create the Public Safety Academy. We reached a milestone in the 2018 November election, where over 80 thousand of you, Cincinnatians, voted yes for the passage of issue 15. Amid the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, recruiting and training new police officers and firefighters who live in the communities that they will serve is vitally important. I and others will continue to fight to establish the Public Safety Academy. What is most important to Sonya and I is that we provide the best opportunity for our daughters to become happy, vibrant, and productive human beings. If my daughters decide to remain in Cincinnati, I want it to be the kind of city that they deserve. At this moment, my daughters, and many other young people throughout Cincinnati are now motivated by the opportunity for real social justice. As their parents and elders we must honor them by listening, and then institute real change.
Inclosing, COVID 19 and the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others have exposed health and social-economic inequities. Fifty plus years ago Avondale was the epicenter of unrest in Cincinnati. Many of the inequities that caused the unrest persist. Nevertheless, I am hopeful. Black Lives Matter and the movement that emerged has provided us with a historical opportunity for meaningful change. As Dr. King declared, ‘‘The Fierce Urgency of Now.” That is why, “I am ready to serve again.”
And so, I Raffel Prophett, will work to provide the opportunity for all our children to become happy, vibrant, and productive human beings, formally announce my candidacy to become the next Mayor of our beloved City. As a proud product of the West End and Avondale, as a faithful firefighter, like a dutiful soldier, a committed citizen, and as your next mayor, I will do what is right, what is just, and what is fair. And so, to all Cincinnatians, I am asking for your support – PLEASE!! Thank you.