Pa Legislative Black Caucus and the Philadelphia County Delegation condemn actions of white nationalist groups
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 17 – State Reps. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, chair of the Philadelphia County Delegation, released the following statement on behalf of the Philadelphia County Delegation regarding the white nationalist protests that took place in Charlottesville, Va.:
“As legislative leaders representing countless Pennsylvanians of color, we condemn the actions of white nationalists in Charlottesville as racist and un-American. As proud Americans, we know that these actions and ideals do not represent the values of tolerance, inclusiveness, and equality that our country strives to uphold. The diversity of our Commonwealth – and of our country – is an asset that must be fully utilized if we are to fulfil the promise of our democracy.
“The flags, statues and monuments of the Confederacy are not the celebration of heritage, but are instead the articulation of hatred using the language of an enemy nation. No other country celebrates the conquered, just as no other country flies the flag of the defeated. The Confederacy and the monuments erected long after its defeat represent an ideology that should not be celebrated. This ideology commemorates treason while romanticizing slavery and systemic oppression.
“Monuments honoring the Confederacy should be to the Civil War as Benedict Arnold is to the American Revolution. These symbols do not deserve to tower over those they once oppressed, but belong in a museum so that we never forget the lessons they taught us. Removing these monuments is only the first step in undoing the hateful ideology that is deeply woven into the fabric of our society.
“While we applaud many of our colleagues for denouncing the actions and ideology of white nationalist groups, we also urge them to rethink how they view oppression. The ideals of supremacy are not only represented in burning crosses, Nazi salutes and anti-Semitic chants. They are also reflected in the legislation that impacts the lives of countless women and people of color: discriminatory policing policies that pack our prisons with Black men, loopholes that allow employers to pay women less than men, as well as legislation that criminalizes our immigrant and refugee populations. In order to truly make America great, we must enact legislation that lifts up all Americans – no matter black or white; male or female; gay, straight, any everything in between.
“It was in the great City of Philadelphia that our country’s founding document – the Declaration of Independence – was debated, signed and adopted. While it proclaims that all men are created equal, it is no secret that this document left out both African Americans and women. However, we must not – and will not – reverse the progress that those before us have started. We will continue to move forward and use our voices to protect the most vulnerable among us. We are on the right side of history. We hope you will join us.”
This statement is supported by the Democratic members of the House Philadelphia County Delegation:
- Maria P. Donatucci – Chair, Philadelphia Delegation
- Jason Dawkins – Vice Chair, Philadelphia Delegation
- Joanna McClinton – Secretary/Treasurer, Philadelphia Delegation
- Kevin Boyle
- Vanessa Lowery Brown
- Donna Bullock – Vice chairwoman, Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus
- Morgan Cephas
- Angel Cruz
- Pamela A. DeLissio
- Michael Driscoll
- Isabella Fitzgerald
- Jordan A. Harris – Chair, Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus
- William F. Keller
- Stephen Kinsey
- Ed Neilson
- Christopher M. Rabb – Treasurer, Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus
- James R. Roebuck
- Brian K. Sims
- Jared G. Solomon
- W. Curtis Thomas
- Emilio Vazquez
- Rosita C. Youngblood, secretary, Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus