PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 29 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today joined Sen. Bob Casey and members of the Gray Coalition to urge Amtrak to rename its 30th Street Station as the “William H. Gray III 30th Street Station.” Harris was also joined by Reps. W. Curtis Thomas and Donna Bullock, both D-Phila. “We are standing on the shoulders of giants and Congressman Gray was one of those giants who paved the way for many of us today,” Harris said. “He dedicated his life to making Philadelphia a better place. In fact, without his help, Amtrak would have never received the funds necessary to complete the restoration project for 30th Street Station.” In 2014, the United States Congress unanimously passed H.R. 4838 to rename 30th Street Station as the “William H. Gray III 30th Street Station. In August 2014, President Barack Obama signed H.R. 4838 into law. Since then, Amtrak has failed to rename the station after the late Congressman Gray. To urge Amtrak to immediately change the name of the station, Harris co-sponsored H.R. 419 , which was unanimously adopted by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. “It’s time to fully honor Congressman Gray’s legacy by renaming 30th Street Station,” Harris said. “Amtrak must comply with H.R. 4838, as unanimously passed by Congress and signed by President Obama. It’s the right and honorable thing to Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 27 – Several members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus have responded to Facebook comments made by former Cecil Township Volunteer Fire Department No. 2 Chief Paul Smith. Chairman Jordan Harris, D-Phila., released a joint statement with state Rep. Jason Ortitay, R-Washington/Allegheny, earlier today calling Smith’s behavior out of step with the values of average Pennsylvanians. Harris said, “Unlike athletes, celebrities, or even other citizens, he is a public servant who has held the trust of the general public in the capacity in which he serves them. That capacity came under question, due to his behavior, and he did the right thing by resigning.” State Reps. W. Curtis Thomas, James Roebuck, Isabella Fitzgerald and Stephen Kinsey, all D-Phila., also commented on Smith’s actions. Roebuck said, “His comments were inappropriate and brought into question his ability to do the job he was delegated to perform.” Thomas said, “The actions of Fire Chief Smith were way out of line. I am glad that he has removed himself from a public institution. Now is the time for us to stand together, not apart from one another.” Fitzgerald said, “Hate speech is unacceptable anywhere especially when one has the duty of protecting all citizens.” Kinsey said, “Mr. Smith’s comments are unacceptable and should never be tolerated. This is yet another unfortunate reminder that although Read more
Pa. state Rep. Rosita Youngblood kicked off the 4th Annual Diaper Drive as part of Diaper Need Awareness Week in Pennsylvania. Youngblood was joined by House colleagues and advocates from diaper banks across the Commonwealth. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 27 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and state Rep. Jason Ortitay, R-Washington/Allegheny, released the following statement in response to a written comment by Cecil Township Volunteer Fire Department No. 2 then-Chief Paul Smith: “There is no place in society for racism and hate, and the language used by Mr. Smith should be eliminated from everyone’s vocabulary,” Ortitay said. “That is a derogatory and hurtful term and should never be used. I strongly condemn this type of language. It is my understanding that Mr. Smith resigned Tuesday afternoon. “Those in positions of authority and leaders in the community need to be careful about the language they use. Words matter. Others, especially children, take note of the language used by those in positions of influence and the attitudes promoted by such language. We need to set a better example of respect and compassion for each other.” "Chief Smith's behavior was out of step with the values of the average Pennsylvanian," Harris said. "Unlike athletes, celebrities, or even other citizens, he is a public servant who has held the trust of the general public in the capacity in which he serves them. That capacity came under question, due to his behavior, and he did the right thing by resigning. “He could no longer be trusted to serve the general public in his current capacity as the very Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 26 – Kicking off “Diaper Need Awareness Week” in Pennsylvania, and continuing to promote a plan for Pennsylvania that puts people first, state Reps. Rosita C. Youngblood, D-Phila., and Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, along with state Sen. John Blake, D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe, announced today their efforts to advocate and raise awareness about the growing “diaper gap” among many families living in communities across the state. Earlier in the day, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution introduced by Hill-Evans and Youngblood ( H.R. 506 ) dedicating the week of Sept. 25 through Oct. 1 as “Diaper Need Awareness Week” in the Commonwealth. Youngblood said the basic, yet essential, necessity of having a reliable stream of clean diapers for babies, and incontinence products for adults, is often overlooked by many lawmakers and government officials. “We need to focus on a clear plan for Pennsylvania – one that puts people first and establishes a new way forward for our state,” Youngblood said. “Access to a reliable supply of clean diapers is a necessity for the health and well-being of Pennsylvania's children and incontinent adults, but, unfortunately, across our commonwealth, and across this country, there is a growing epidemic as many working families and seniors on fixed incomes are simply unable to afford disposable diapers and undergarments. The long-term Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 26 – State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, D-Phila., will attend a news conference hosted by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and representatives from the Gray Coalition at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 29, at Amtrak’s 30th Street Station to urge Amtrak to comply with a congressional resolution to rename the 30th Street Station as the “William H. Gray III 30th Street Station.” “Congressman Gray not only represented Pennsylvania’s second congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, but he did so with dignity while never forgetting his history in Philadelphia,” Thomas said. “He was a strong advocate for funding infrastructure and public services. In fact, he was key in preventing the elimination of funding for Amtrak and managed to secure the largest investment for restoration of the 30 th Street Station for the 20 th Century. “His stewardship extended to, among other things, securing funding for New Freedom Theatre, the new North Philadelphia Train Station, the William B. Moore Sr. apartments, and other support for social services and economic development in Philadelphia. “Even after he resigned from Congress in 1991, it was so that he could take on a new role with the United Negro College Fund. He was responsible for securing the first $1 million investment from the Gates Foundation to help disadvantaged students receive quality educations.” In the summer of 2014, the U.S. Congress, in Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 25 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today hosted a news conference to announce a $250,000 Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development grant he helped secure. The grant will be used in Harris’ district in the following neighborhoods: Point Breeze, Grays Ferry, Graduate Hospital, and Kingsessing. “Thank you to the state Department of Community and Economic Development for continuing to invest in communities that need it most,” Harris said. “Many older residents living on fixed incomes cannot afford tree trimming and removal services. This grant will help revitalize our community and address a pressing quality-of-life issue.” The grant will be used to remove overgrown and unwanted vegetation and debris from community common spaces, alleyways and commercial corridors. The funds will also go toward training to provide returning citizens with tree trimming and removal skills. Harris was joined by representatives from Ready, Willing and Able, NSA Education Network, and Surge Recovery. “These grant dollars serve a dual purpose: they allow us to work with our community partners and assist returning citizens by providing them with valuable skills,” Harris said. “These individuals will be able to work under the guidance of trained professionals to develop a skill set that will be a tremendous asset to our community. Once Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 21 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., has introduced legislation ( H.B. 1799 ) that would make solar energy more accessible to low-income and disadvantaged Pennsylvanians. Bullock announced the introduction of this bill today at a joint news conference with PECO. “Many families in Philadelphia are forced to choose between heating their homes and what’s for dinner,” Bullock said. “While there are other, more energy-efficient alternatives, these options are simply out of reach for many of our residents. Instead of thinking about alternative energy, they may be struggling to repair a leaky roof or are fighting to keep the lights on.” House Bill 1799 would allow utility companies like PECO to own and operate Pennsylvania-based solar sites and provide solar energy to low-income residents at a discounted rate. Under Act 213 of 2004, Pennsylvania electric distribution companies and electric generation suppliers are required to produce 18 percent of electricity through alternative resources by the year 2021. “House Bill 1799 would make solar energy more accessible to all Pennsylvanians – no matter how much they make or what their credit score is,” Bullock said. “Investing in solar energy has the potential to transform our lives, improve our neighborhoods and energize our economy. It can also remove the perception that solar energy is only reserved for the wealthy.” The average cost for Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – State Rep. Joran Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, visited Cheyney University this week to celebrate National Historically Black College and University week. Harris and several members of the PLBC were joined by Congressman Dwight Evans to discuss the importance of HBCUs in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation. “It was a pleasure to join my colleagues and speak with Cheyney University students about the role that HBCUs play in our nation,” Harris said. “Cheyney University is much more than a place we send our students to learn. For 180 years, Cheyney has prepared students of color to successfully take on the world. We must ensure that it continues to do so.” Established in 1837, Cheyney University is the nation’s first historically black college. Harris and other members of the PLBC serve on the Cheyney University task force. In May, the task force urged the State System of Higher Education to forgive the university of more than $30 million in loans. “Our visit to Cheyney University was productive and gave us an opportunity to speak with students and get their perspective on what is happening at the university,” said Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee. “As Democratic chairman, I believe these conversations are important and help us make thoughtful decisions in Harrisburg. This encourages me to intensify my Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 20 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, released the following statement honoring the life and legacy of Lenora M. Smith, Esquire: “Ms. Lenora M. Smith was truly the embodiment of what is means to be a public servant. A South Philadelphia native, she was a civil rights attorney best known for defending Harrisburg’s most vulnerable residents. She often took on the cases of those who needed her help the most – giving a voice to the voiceless and hope to those who had lost it. She was a force to be reckoned with and that is why we honor her. “Ms. Smith was also a trailblazer who knocked down barriers impacting both women and African Americans. She used her role as vice president of Harrisburg City Council to put the needs of the people first. Even after leaving office, she continued to fight for those who were unable to fight for themselves. Her legacy will serve as a constant reminder of how much we have accomplished, but also how much we have left to do.” ### Read more
Chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Rep. Jordan Harris says the House GOP proposal to raid several state agencies to balance the state budget does nothing to protect Pennsylvanians or move Pennsylvania forward. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 11 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today joined the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the Greater Harrisburg Chapter of the NAACP to take a stand against hate and bias. According to the PHRC and the NAACP, there has been an increase in hate and bias incidents over the past year, including the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. “The actions we have seen in Charlottesville and across our country are unpatriotic and un-American,” Harris said. “Some wish to take us back as a nation. We can’t allow that to happen.” According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 2016 was an unprecedented year for hate. Anti-Muslim hate groups grew from 34 to 101 last year. In addition, the number of hate groups operating in 2016 rose to 917. “It is our responsibility to stand up and tell our children this is unacceptable,” Harris said. “Standing on the sidelines only allows this behavior to flourish. We must continue to root out systemic injustice wherever we see it. This means meeting people where they are to have discussions on hate and bias. This includes in barbershops, beauty salons, churches, mosques and even on the streets.” “I would like to thank the NAACP and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission for all of their work,” Harris said. “We’re all in this together. We must continue to work Read more
Chairman of the Pa. Legislative Black Caucus Rep. Jordan Harris joined the Pa. Human Relations Commission and the Greater Harrisburg Chapter of the NAACP to stand together against hate and bias in light of recent acts of racism around the country. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Rosita Youngblood dropped off books at local barbershops to begin her annual Books to Barbers campaign in an effort to increase childhood literacy in Philadelphia. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 24 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, applauded the board of governors for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s plan to forgive Cheyney University of more than $30 million in loans. Harris said, “I am thankful that the stewards of this nation’s first historically black college have demonstrated their desire and will to take another step in ensuring that the people of this great state continue to have in their treasure chest the crown jewel of black college life. Saving Cheyney is not just the moral responsibility of the university’s governing bodies, but a centerpiece in preserving one of the greatest incubators of black intellect in the region. It is important that those responsible for this effort are applauded by those who have and will continue to benefit from this great institution. It is also of critical importance to remember that this is only one of the many steps needed to ensure that this illustrious university is returned to prominence.” “I want to extend my sincere appreciation to Cindy Shapira, the chair of the board of governors, for her leadership and action in preserving the legacy of our nation’s oldest historically black college.” Harris, along with state Sen. Vincent Hughes, is a member of the Cheyney University task force. Both Harris and Hughes have been outspoken advocates of saving Cheyney Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 24 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, released the following statement regarding the passing of former state Rep. Thomas W. Blackwell: Harris said, “The City of Philadelphia, and our Commonwealth, has lost a giant. Representative Blackwell dedicated his life to public service and fought to improve the lives of countless Philadelphians. He will be deeply missed. I am certain his legacy will live on and guide the next generation of public servants. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.” State Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood, D-Phila., the House Democratic Caucus secretary, said, “It was an honor to serve with Tommy in the legislature. I have known him and his family for very long time, and he was always a man of integrity and compassion. He had a true vision and was a steward of his community throughout his life. We’re going to miss him and I will keep his family in my prayers.” State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila/Delaware, the Philadelphia County Delegation secretary, said, “Representative Blackwell was a steward of wisdom, guidance and direction. He was the perfect model of how to put the people first as we do the people’s business. I will pray for his family in the hopes that they are comforted through this very emotional time.” Harris added, “Many of the issues he fought for even after leaving office – reducing crime, Read more
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 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 Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 16 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., announced he will introduce legislation that would prohibit a person participating in or attending a public demonstration in Pennsylvania from possessing a firearm or other dangerous articles. “Following the events that took place in Charlottesville, it is more important now than ever to protect our First Amendment right,” Kinsey said. “Civics teaches us that the right of people to assemble peacefully to express, promote, pursue and defend their beliefs is fundamental to a functioning democracy. The presence of firearms and other dangerous articles place that fundamental right in grave danger.” Kinsey said the possession of a firearm during a public demonstration presents a clear and present danger not only to law enforcement and other first responders, but also to those who attend and participate in public demonstrations. Kinsey believes that the presence of firearms and other dangerous articles impede on the rights of Americans to assemble in a peaceful manner. During the protests and counter-protests in Charlottesville, Va., one person died and several others were injured. “I have absolutely zero tolerance for intolerance,” Kinsey said. “I am relieved that the situation in Charlottesville did not escalate further. However, we must now take the precautionary measures necessary to keep residents safe and that they are able to utilize their First Amendment right. Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 7 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced he will introduce legislation that would require the leaders of Pennsylvania’s executive and legislative branches to hold daily public hearings on the state budget whenever there is a budget impasse. The bill would require executive and legislative leaders to hold public hearings if comprehensive spending and revenue bills for the upcoming fiscal year have not been introduced by June 19. These leaders include the governor, state treasurer, secretary of revenue, auditor general, Independent Fiscal Office director, and majority and minority leadership for both the House and Senate. These individuals would be required to participate in hearings until such legislation is introduced. “It’s been six weeks after the House overwhelmingly passed a spending plan, and we still don’t know how we are going to pay for it,” Rabb said. “On Friday, our state treasurer had to extend to the Commonwealth a $750 million line of credit to prevent us from running out of money. We are only in the second month of the fiscal year and our schools and county agencies are already at risk of experiencing funding shortfalls. This is not responsible budgeting and it certainly is not how to run a government.” Rabb said he wants Pennsylvanians to see democracy in action and require all relevant parties work together to meet the needs of the Commonwealth. Hearings would be required to last at Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 1 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., today joined students and activists to demand that Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education step in and save Cheyney University. Cheyney University, founded in 1837, is the nation’s first institution of higher learning for African Americans. The university faces financial struggles as funding has gone down and tuition has gone up. Since 2010, its enrollment has dropped by 50 percent from over 1,500 students to an estimated 746. If a solution is not formulated by Sept. 1, the university could lose its accreditation. “Each of us are here today because we have an obligation to fulfil: to save Cheyney University,” Kinsey said. “I am proud to stand here with my colleagues and friends as we demand that Cheyney receive fair and equitable funding. Cheyney University is our school, our system, and our responsibility. It’s up to us to save it.” While recent state budget conversations have been focused on securing funding for the Commonwealth’s state-related universities, Kinsey says legislators should focus on the 14 universities Pennsylvania actually owns. Since 2013, Cheyney University has had to borrow over $30.5 billion to stay solvent. If the university loses its accreditation, students would no longer be eligible for federal aid. Kinsey said this would be particularly devastating since nearly three-quarters of students are from low-income households and Read more
Contact form was unable to load. If the problem continues, please contact the webmaster.
Please use the form below to sign up for email updates. By completing this form your are acknowledging your request to receive periodic email updates.
Find your representative by address, district, or member's name. Click a button below to start your search.