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PLBC statement on state police shooting of Monroe County teen

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PLBC welcomes new executive director

(Jan 11, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 11 – State Rep. and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chair Donna Bullock today announced that April Ashe is the new executive director of the PLBC. “We welcome April and look forward to her tenure with the Black caucus,” said Bullock, D-Phila. “She has worked with the Democratic Caucus for more than a decade and brings a wealth of knowledge and savvy to the position.” Ashe began her career with the House Democrats as an intern in 2009. She graduated in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in integrated studies from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, with concentrations in political science and psychology. She is currently studying for her master’s degree in educational psychology at Purdue University Global. She has served as a legislative assistant to PLBC members, including former state Rep. Jake Wheatley, Jr., who is now chief of staff for Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey. She has worked as a research analyst for the House Commerce, Finance, and Professional Licensure committees. A Harrisburg resident, she holds a monthly Self Care Saturday’s event in her community and is a volunteer with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America in Harrisburg, teaching yoga and meditative practices to the youth. She partners with Healthy Harrisburg and speaks to youth groups and single-mother groups on the importance of self-care and emotional intelligence. She can be reached at (717) 772-6955 or through email at Read more

PLBC statement on Peter Spencer case

(Jan 07, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – Pa. Legislative Black Caucus Chair and state Rep. Donna Bullock today released a statement from the caucus, along with Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton and PLBC caucus member and state Rep. Jake Wheatley on the Peter Spencer case in Venango County. Pennsylvania State Police are leading an independent investigation into the death of Peter Spencer, 29, of Pittsburgh, who was found shot several times in Venango County, according to Pittsburgh news reports. “While the police continue their investigation, we need to have patience. However, we join the calls that demand justice be served. The story of a Black man shot multiple times after he joined friends on a hunting trip is hard to fathom. But we will wait for the independent investigation of the Pennsylvania State Police and trust that they will uphold the law and seek justice as well.” Read more

Bullock statement on Jan. 5 Fairmount fire

(Jan 06, 2022)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 6 – State Rep. and PA Legislative Black Caucus Chair Donna Bullock released a statement addressing the Jan. 5 Fairmount fire. “The devastating events of yesterday morning have hit home for everyone, particularly because of the tragic loss of life. While the investigation is not over yet, news accounts claim this is the deadliest fire in more than a century in the city. “This is a neighborhood in my legislative district where the people are caring and warm, are families with small children, and are older folks all who come together to make it a community. We are sending our condolences and prayers to everyone impacted and offering assistance where we are able. “But as we move forward, and as we find out definitive facts about this tragedy, it is imperative that we as legislators and community leaders do more to provide resources like affordable housing for families, support for a safe living environment and economic resources as necessary and when people need it the most.” Read more

PLBC condemns book bans at start of national Banned Books Week

(Sep 27, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 27 – State Rep. and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chair Donna Bullock, D-Phila., was joined by members of the PLBC, LGBTQ+ Caucus, Latino Caucus and Equity Committee today to denounce the banning of books on diversity from schools in the commonwealth. This action was spurred in part by the overturning of a year-long book freeze in a York County school district and the new push by Republican state lawmakers to ban critical race theory, which is not taught in any district in the state currently. Two students who led the protest on the book freeze in Central York School District, Edha Gupta and Christina Ellis, spoke at the news conference. “Banning books on diversity is the direct result of this Republican manufactured crisis on critical race theory,” Bullock said. “This fearmongering has parents and school districts scrambling to stop something that doesn’t exist. Part of the negative effect of this overreaching response is children are kept from reading books that reflect their diverse school community and world around them. “If we continue to allow groups to pedal this misinformation, this ban will only be the tip of the iceberg. We owe our children more than that and we are calling out districts that minimize or restrict information through book bans or perpetuate this made-up crisis that is merely a political platform.” Pennsylvania is one of a growing list of states trying to enact a CRT ban, Read more

Police, Labor Relations topic of public hearing hosted by Pa. Legislative Black Caucus Wednesday

(Aug 17, 2021)

Philadelphia, Aug. 17 – State Rep. Donna Bullock is convening a meeting of the House Democratic Policy Committee and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus to discuss the role of labor in police reforms. The hearing will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, August 18 at Temple University, Fox Gittis Room, 1776 N. Broad St., Philadelphia . The Fox Gittis Room is located just off the Broad Street Lobby, Alumni Hall at the Liacouras Center. The media and public are encouraged to attend. Masks are required. Additional information about this and other House Democratic Policy Committee hearings is available at www.pahouse.com/policy . Read more

PLBC touts $30 million for community violence prevention

(Jun 25, 2021)

HARRISBURG, June 25 – Today the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus touted the $30 million included in the state budget which will go toward community violence prevention including fighting gun violence, according to state Rep. and PLBC Chair Donna Bullock, D-Phila. Earlier this year, Bullock along with state Reps. Morgan Cephas and Amen Brown, both D-Phila., introduced H.B. 696 which provided for a similar community violence grant program. State Sen. Art Haywood, D-Phila., introduced a companion bill in the Senate. “Gun violence is epidemic in scope but personal in nature,” Bullock said. “The families of loved ones who have lost their lives to gun violence have rallied with us and asked us as legislators to do something. This money is an investment to be used toward that next step in the work for which the PLBC has been laying the groundwork for years. This investment will finally help us move forward to begin investing in programs that we know will work and are led by people in our communities with boots on the ground.” “Countless Pennsylvanians are carrying the physical and mental trauma of gun violence, with many experiencing the devastating effects daily,” Cephas said. “The funding is available for our legislature to become intentional with quelling this public health crisis. As lawmakers, it is our moral obligation to protect residents across this state, and the budget must reflect that. Read more

PLBC condemns violent police arrests of teens in Ocean City, MD

(Jun 16, 2021)

HARRISBURG, June 16 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and members of the PLBC this week strongly condemned the recent actions of Ocean City, MD police in arresting four Harrisburg teens over alleged vaping and other violations. “I watched the videos of these teens being arrested and saw how quickly things escalated,” Bullock said. “We must ask ourselves – how does a simple citation lead to police violence? How can we better train police to handle these situations? This incident is further proof why there needs to be police reform not just in the commonwealth, but across the nation. We are working on those reforms in Pennsylvania and would hope that other states are following in the same way. “The kind of local mandates and ordinances that led to this incident are similar to pretextual stops. The ordinances allow law enforcement to harass and find reasons to arrest when a simple citation or warning would have sufficed. Instead, we have teens being tased and physically assaulted by law enforcement. “These teens were not armed and to suggest these officers had a right to operate this way is absurd and needs to be addressed. This incident needs to be investigated and these officers need to be held accountable to the fullest extent.” Read more

Kenyatta applauds Dr. Jason Wingard for making history as first Black Temple University president

(Jun 08, 2021)

HARRISBURG, June 8 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., released the following statement applauding Dr. Jason Wingard on becoming 13 th president of Temple University and the university’s first Black president its 137-year history. Kenyatta also highlighted the importance of activism which led to this historic appointment. “As a proud Temple University alumnus, I applaud Dr. Jason Wingard on his appointment to become the thirteenth president of Temple University and making history as the first Black president in the university’s 137-year history. Dr. Wingard is impeccably qualified and possesses the ability to connect to Black and Brown students and residents of North Philadelphia. “While we applaud Dr. Wingard’s historic appointment, we must also acknowledge the journey of how we got to this point. Activism matters. “I was born and raised here in North Philadelphia, graduated from Temple University and now represent this community in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Through the years, I watched the university prosper at the expense of my neighbors. Since being elected, I constantly challenged Temple University’s mostly all-white leadership on the dire need for diversity among its ranks-- meaningful diversity that mirrors the surrounding communities acknowledges that reality that these predominantly Black neighborhoods have long suffered the effects of economic Read more

Krajewski, Kenyatta push back against false voting ‘integrity’ efforts, promote support for enhanced and expanded voting rights for all

(Jun 07, 2021)

HARRISBURG, June 7 — State Reps. Rick Krajewski and Malcolm Kenyatta, both D-Phila., pushed back against the false right-wing narrative regarding voting integrity efforts Monday, instead promoting the need to increase access to voting for all, and especially for those whose voting rights are under attack. “Over the past 18 months, as we have seen unprecedented movements and victories in the fight against police violence, the defeat of Donald Trump, Democratic control of the U.S. Senate and more; we have also seen a steep increase in attempts by the right-wing elite to disenfranchise the marginalized people who have benefited from these achievements,” Krajewski said during the Defending Democracy event he and Kenyatta led. “That is no coincidence. “Government should be by the people, for the people, but as the people have started shaking things up and dismantling the status quo, their rights to choose their elected officials through free and fair elections have come under attack through farcical efforts to question the integrity of our elections,” Krajewski continued. “We will not stand for this misleading misdirection and we wanted to bring this issue into the spotlight so we can examine the ways in which access to voting must be expanded and voting rights upheld.” “Voter suppression tactics have become as American as apple pie, with almost every generation of Black and brown Americans having to combat Read more

Pa. Legislative Black Caucus condemns Zappala actions

(Jun 04, 2021)

HARRISBURG, June 4 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., chair of the PA Legislative Black Caucus, along with members of the PLBC today condemned the actions of Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala to ban plea deals for clients of attorney Milton Raiford because Raiford said publicly he felt the DA’s office was systemically racist in dealing with defendants of color. In an email made public, Zappala ceased plea deals for anyone Raiford is or would be defending moving forward, pending a decision by him. “For the district attorney of any county to say the office will cease plea deals across the board for an attorney’s clients because that attorney has disagreed with the DA publicly is abuse of power, period,” Bullock said. “But in this particular case, a Black lawyer and his clients, many of them people of color, are being treated differently because the DA refuses to face the criticism of systemic racism in our criminal justice system. This is disgraceful, appalling, disturbing and unacceptable, and needs to be remedied immediately. A full investigation needs to be launched as well with the findings made public.” “Over the past several years, we have seen the systemic inequality and bias of the criminal justice system laid bare,” said state Rep. Austin Davis, chair of the House Allegheny County Delegation and a PLBC member. “This past week, we have seen just how local this issue truly is in the Read more