Harris: Pa.'s Promise of a College Education

(Jan 23, 2018)

Pa. state Rep. Jordan Harris spoke about the release of a report recommending the investment of $1 billion to ensure "Pennsylvania's Promise" of affordable college tuition for qualifying students. Read more

 

PLBC honored by Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia on MLK Day

(Jan 16, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 16 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus on Monday was presented with the Outstanding Organization Award by the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia during their annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast. Each year, the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia present this award to an organization that fights to ensure that minorities and people of color have full access to the rights and privileges guaranteed under the law. State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the caucus, said, “I was honored to accept the Outstanding Organization Award on behalf of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. While we do not work for awards or recognition, it is humbling to see that our efforts to create a more fair and just society are noticed – especially from Governor Wolf, who presented us with the award. I would like to thank the Barristers’ Association for their commitment to fighting injustice and promoting awareness of the law.” State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, also was presented with the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. She said, “I am beyond grateful, humbled and honored to have been awarded the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award from my Barristers’ Association family. As a proud member of the Barristers’ Association and a former public defender, my commitment to seeking justice did not end after taking office. We must continue to speak truth to power and Read more

 

Harris congratulates Cheyney University on extended accreditation

(Nov 20, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 20 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, has released the following statement after hearing that the Middle States Commission on Higher Education granted Cheyney University another year of accreditation: “I would like to congratulate Cheyney University for receiving another year of accreditation on its probationary status. This victory reflects the hard work of the board of governors, Council of Trustees, President Aaron Walton, faculty, staff, alumni and countless supporters. This also reflects the vision and commitment of Governor Tom Wolf. Thank you Governor Wolf for taking the steps necessary to protect the legacy of our nation’s oldest Historically Black College. “As a member of the Cheyney University task force, I have been an outspoken advocate of saving Cheyney University’s accreditation and worked on the task force’s report of recommendations for reinventing Cheyney University into a 21st-century historically black college. While this is a major victory, there is still more work to be done. We must now work towards removing Cheney University from this probationary status and ensure that it not only survives, but that it may thrive. We must build upon the legacy that started back in 1837 and has continued for the last 180 years.” ### Read more

 

PLBC hosts policy hearing, tour at SCI Muncy

(Nov 17, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 17 – State Reps. Jordan Harris and Morgan Cephas, both D-Phila., on behalf of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today hosted a joint policy committee hearing and tour with the House Democratic Policy Committee, various stakeholders, and incarcerated women. The tour and policy hearing was held at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy. This is the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus’ and House Democratic Policy Committee’s first tour and policy hearing at a state prison facility. Advocacy and community-based organizations joined state legislators to discuss policy initiatives aimed at reducing incarceration rates, ending the school-to-prison pipeline for young girls, and improving conditions for incarcerated women. Panelists for the policy hearing included: Chloe Bohm, House Democratic Appropriations Committee, budget analyst; Joanna Visser Adjoian, Esq., Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project, co-founder and co-director; John Hargreaves, Pennsylvania Prison Society, director of volunteers; Melissa Robbins, Philadelphia Chapter of the National Organization of Women, delegate; Sameerah Shabazz, Ardella’s House, director of policy and advocacy; Farida E. Boyer, MS, Family Centered Outpatient Therapeutic Services, CEO; Peggy Sims, Sisters Returning Home, founder and executive director; and Rev. Michelle Anne Simmons, Why Not Prosper, founder and CEO. Cephas, chairwoman of the PLBC Subcommittee on Read more

 

Harris Ending Stop and Go Nuisances

(Oct 25, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Jordan Harris commends the teamwork and dedication that produced legislation awaiting the governor’s signature that would help crackdown on stop and go nuisance establishments and keep communities safer. Read more

 

Harris Gets Support from Trio of Eagles for Clean Slate Legislation

(Oct 24, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Jordan Harris is getting support from a few members the Philadelphia Eagles for his clean slate legislation, House Bill 1419, which would implement automatic sealing of records after a period of time with no action required by the person. Read more

 

PLBC hosts meet and greet luncheon with Philadelphia Eagles

(Oct 24, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 24 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today hosted a meet and greet luncheon with players from the Philadelphia Eagles. During the luncheon, PLBC members and Philadelphia Eagles players discussed criminal justice reform efforts taking place in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia Eagles players in attendance included: Malcolm Jenkins, Torrey Smith and Chris Long. Chairman Jordan Harris, D-Phila., applauded the players for using their platform to uplift Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable residents. “Beyond being stellar athletes, they have been a vital part of the conversation around criminal justice reform in our nation,” Harris said. “It’s time to remove the scarlet letter that prevents many Pennsylvanians from being able to receive gainful employment, adequate housing and loans to pursue a post-secondary education. If passed, our clean slate bill would be the first of its kind anywhere in the country.” Harris and Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland, have introduced H.B. 1419 which would implement automatic sealing of records with no action required by the person. Harris said he believes clean slate legislation can get passed this session, but only if both parties reach a compromise to improve outcomes for all Pennsylvanians. State Reps. Donna Bullock and Joanna McClinton, both D-Phila., discussed their experience today. Bullock is the vice chairwoman of the PLBC. “I admire athletes who use their Read more

 

McClinton, Harris to host Fall Festival on Oct. 31

(Oct 24, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 24 – In an effort to provide young people with a safe environment for Halloween, state Reps. Joanna McClinton and Jordan Harris, both D-Phila., will host a Fall Festival. The event will take place from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31 in the Common Place parking lot, 5736 Chester Ave., 19143. Both McClinton and Harris said this event is a great opportunity for children in both of their districts to have a fun and safe space to go for Halloween. “Halloween is a very popular time for young people, so we want to make sure they are able to celebrate it with their families in the best way possible,” McClinton said. The event will offer treats and refreshments, activities for families as well as information on health and state-related programs. “While we wanted to make the event fun for the young people, we decided to provide something for everyone so it could be a good and informative time for all families,” Harris said. For more information, constituents can call McClinton’s office at (215) 748-6712 or Harris’ office at (215) 952-3378. Read more

 

Harris joins Center for American Progress for national discussion on criminal justice reform

(Oct 24, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 24 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, joined the Center for American Progress, the National Employment Law Project, and Community Legal Services of Philadelphia to discuss criminal justice reform in Pennsylvania and across the nation. Harris joined the discussion Monday via video conference. Harris was joined by state Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland, and U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., to discuss the efforts of clean slate legislation. Harris championed Act 5 of 2016 which seals non-violent misdemeanor convictions for people who have been crime-free for 10 years. Harris and Delozier have introduced H.B. 1419 which would implement automatic sealing of records with no action required by the person. “This is not a Democratic or Republican issue – it’s about providing better service to people in our communities,” Harris said. “Moreover, it’s about dollars and cents. Too often, criminal records are dooming people to a life of poverty through the creation of a social and financial underclass.” Harris calls the clean slate movement the next long-range plan on criminal justice reform. “Bills like these disrupt the cyclical nature of incarceration,” Harris said. “If we are serious about rehabilitating and reintegrating residents back into society, then we need to do something sooner rather than later. We can no longer look Read more

 

Harris to host senior wills clinic

(Oct 19, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 19 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, announced that his office will host a free senior wills clinic from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28 at the Wharton Square Park, 2300 Wharton St., Philadelphia. Residents 55 and older in the 186th Legislative District will have the opportunity to speak with legal professionals about the creation of a living will, power of attorney and health-care directives. Constituents can have a will drafted and printed on site. Limited spots are available, and attendees are required to RSVP to Harris’ office by calling (215) 952-3378. ### Read more

 

Harris urges Amtrak to honor legacy of Congressman Gray

(Sep 29, 2017)

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

 

Harris, Ortitay react to fire chief’s comments

(Sep 27, 2017)

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

 

Harris announces $250,000 DCED grant to revitalize communities

(Sep 25, 2017)

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

 

PLBC honors legacy of Lenora M. Smith

(Sep 20, 2017)

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

 

Harris: Budget Solution Requires Leadership

(Sep 12, 2017)

Pa. state 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

 

Harris to host town hall to address community concerns

(Sep 12, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 12 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, announced that he will host a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28 at the Greater Philadelphia Health Action, Inc., 1401 S. 31st St., Philadelphia. Residents in the 186th Legislative District will have the opportunity to hear from Harris about legislative developments in Harrisburg that impact the district. There will be a Q&A portion of the town hall for residents to ask Harris questions directly. Harris and his staff will also be available to provide information on state-related resources available to residents. The meeting is open to the community, and constituents with questions should contact Harris’ district office at 215-952-3378. Media coverage is invited. ### Read more

 

Harris joins Pa. Human Relations Commission and Greater Harrisburg NAACP to take a stand against hate and bias

(Sep 11, 2017)

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

 

Harris Stands with NAACP Against Hate

(Sep 11, 2017)

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

 

PLBC applauds plan to forgive Cheyney University debt

(Aug 24, 2017)

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

 

Harris to host fifth annual Soul School Festival

(Jul 24, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, July 24 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., has announced that he will host his fifth annual Soul School Festival beginning at noon Saturday, Aug. 12 at Chew Playground, 19th and Washington Ave. “I am excited to announce that my annual Soul School Festival is back and better than ever,” Harris said. “Each year, I have the honor of bringing my community together to hear directly from them about the issues they face and how I can solve them. It also gives me the opportunity to provide them with available state services and entertainment for the entire family.” The free festival will feature bounce houses, a basketball tournament, face painting and live entertainment. Attendees will also be able to receive free health screenings and learn more about registering to vote, the PA 529 College Savings Plan and utility assistance programs. There will be musical performances by Biz Markie, Total, Marsha Ambrosius, DJ Kool, and Chill Moody. Refreshments also will be served. The event is open to the community, and constituents with questions should contact Harris’ office at (215) 952-3378. ### Read more