New leadership for Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus ready to advance priorities for African-Americans and people of color

HARRISBURG, Nov. 16 – Calling it an extreme honor to have the opportunity to be a strong voice for African-Americans and people of color across the commonwealth, state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., was elected Tuesday to serve as the chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus.

“Being elected to serve as the chairman of the PLBC comes with both tremendous honor and tremendous duty,” Harris said. “It is the job of the PLBC to be a voice for African-Americans and people of color across Pennsylvania, and as the chairman that is a job I will not take lightly. As we’ve seen since last Tuesday’s election, we have a long way to go to ensure that African-Americans and minorities are equally represented and respected, and I look forward to doing my part to ensure that happens in Pennsylvania.”

The PLBC leadership team is further made up of Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., vice chairwoman; Sen. Art Haywood, D-Phila./Montgomery, secretary; and Rep.-elect Chris Rabb, D-Phila., treasurer.

“It’s an honor to be a voice for Pennsylvania’s black community as a member of the PLBC's new leadership team in Harrisburg,” Bullock said. “I thank my colleagues and constituents for their trust in me. Our nation is deeply divided and deeply hurting right now. Conversations about race, criminal justice reform, economic opportunity and education in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and beyond are critical to the healing process. As these conversations happen in the state legislature and across our commonwealth, I hope to be a strong voice for my community.”

“We have a great challenge to meet,” Haywood said.

The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus was founded in 1973 by House Majority Leader K. Leroy Irvis, who would go on to become the first African-America speaker of the House. Its purpose is to serve as an information and advocacy vehicle to advance the interests of African-American, Latino, and other minority residents of Pennsylvania. Other notable founding members included Rep. David P. Richardson, Rep. Hardy Williams and Rep. Lucien Blackwell.

The PLBC also awards annual scholarships to students based on academic and leadership credentials. The scholarships are awarded to Pennsylvania African-American students who will be attending Pennsylvania institutions of higher education.

“I look forward to First Tuesday and assuming my role not only as a state representative, but also as the treasurer of the PLBC,” Rabb said. “I plan on diving in head-first and looking out for the interest of my district as well as the interest of those served by the Black Caucus.”

“Thank you to all of the members, both current and past, for standing up for those who needed a champion,” said Rep. Vanessa Brown, the outgoing chairwoman of the PLBC. “I know that Representative Harris will continue that legacy.”