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PLBC Fall 2022 newsletter

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PLBC installs officers for 2023-24 session

(Nov 17, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 17 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus this week installed officers to serve in the 2023-24 legislative session, according to Chairwoman Donna Bullock, D-Phila. “Officer selection is our first step in making sure the importance of our voices is heard in Harrisburg and across the commonwealth at what is a very critical time in Pennsylvania and this country,” Bullock said. “I feel confident that as a body we will have success in moving legislation that addresses the issues important to us, and we will work to that end with intention and purpose -- fighting for equity, inclusion and fairness.” The following members were installed as officers: Chairwoman, Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila. Vice Chairman, Rep. Napoleon Nelson, D-Montgomery Secretary, Rep. Darisha Parker, D-Phila. Treasurer, Rep. Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster Established as an official caucus in 1973, the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus was formed to empower Black legislators and to serve as an information and advocacy vehicle to advance the interests of Black, Latino and other Pennsylvanians of color. Many of the original members were afraid to meet in an open forum and had previously met in secret to establish a shared legislative agenda. Read more

PLBC: Penn State antiracism decisions move needle backward

(Nov 15, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 15 –The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus issued the following statement today calling on Penn State University President Neeli Bendapudi and university officials to recommit to and invest in the university’s racial justice efforts. “Many of us were encouraged by the university’s decision in 2020 to establish the Center for Racial Justice only to learn with great disappointment that those plans were recently sidelined due to budgetary concerns. The fact that this decision was made just days after a founder of the Proud Boys was scheduled to speak at the university is even more troubling. “The university’s recent actions appear to undermine, dilute and divert from the racial and social justice initiatives championed by professors, administrators and students on campus in recent years. At a minimum, the decisions have caused great division on campus. We strongly urge university officials to work with the more than 400 professors and lecturers who have signed onto a recent letter regarding these decisions and the diverse student body who deserve a welcoming campus. Together, we believe Penn State can foster an environment that invites diversity, believes in equity and implements systems for real inclusion. “As the flagship university in our commonwealth, we expect nothing less.” Read more

Bullock, Curry highlight issue of student homelessness

(Nov 15, 2022)

HARRISBURG, NOV. 15 – State Reps. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., and Gina Curry, D-Delaware, held a news conference Monday to mark Student Homelessness Awareness Week and educate the public about the prevalence of students experiencing homelessness in Pennsylvania. In the 2020-21 school year, 32,666 students in Pennsylvania schools were homeless or living without adequate housing. “It’s unacceptable that more than 32,000 of our students have recently experienced homelessness or have dealt with inadequate housing. While that number represents a decrease from previous years, it’s still too high,” Bullock said. “We want residents of the commonwealth to recognize that education provides stability and support to youth experiencing homelessness and is a key to preventing future homelessness. We need to do everything we can to support education and our students.” Out of 786 local education agencies in Pennsylvania, 713 are receiving McKinney-Vento subgrants to abate the challenges in their communities. The McKinney-Vento Act states that an individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence is considered homeless. Identifying homelessness can be difficult. According to experts, families experiencing homelessness often keep their situation and circumstances hidden from friends, program staff and others. Many families say that they worry about being judged or are fearful of child welfare involvement. Read more

Abney, Bullock lead PLBC voting rights roundtable

(Oct 27, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 27 – Yesterday at the Capitol, Reps. Aerion A. Abney, D-Allegheny, and Donna Bullock, D-Philadelphia, conducted a voting rights roundtable, joined by members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh M. Chapman. The goal of the discussion was to address items that individuals need to be aware of when voting, including providing details about mail-in and absentee ballots. “Folks that are in this room and have access to the information need to make sure they don’t keep it internal,” Abney said. “We need to be pushing this information back out into our communities.” “Today, we hope to have more conversation about the parameters of voting in Pennsylvania,” added Bullock, chair of the PLBC. “As we go back to our respective communities, remind folks how important their vote is.” A recording of the roundtable in its entirety can be viewed here . Read more

State government should refocus its efforts on environmental justice

(Oct 05, 2022)

“As we heard in testimony today, many of the biggest challenges facing our communities are rooted in race,” Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chair Donna Bullock said. “In order to overcome these challenges – including poverty and environmental burdens – it is imperative we address and eliminate racial disparities by changing policies and some of the flawed practices we have seen in the past.” Read more

Joint HDPC/PLBC Hearing: Environmental Justice

(Oct 04, 2022)

The Policy Committee will join with the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus for a discussion on environmental justice and the impact it has on different communities across Pennsylvania. Read more

PA’s Part in the Underground Railroad

(Sep 22, 2022)

Pa. state Rep. Donna Bullock, chair of the Pa. Legislative Black Caucus, is proud to recognize Underground Railroad Month in Pa. She says that we must never forget the stories of Black folks who were enslaved, and the stories of those who risked their lives to end slavery and free others. She's celebrating the contributions of Black Americans in our democracy and encourages others to take a moment to learn more about how Pa. played a part in the Underground Railroad. Read more

Bullock, PLBC rally for equal pay for Black women

(Sep 21, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus were joined by women’s groups and advocates at a state Capitol rally to call for an end to the wage gap for Black women. PLBC Chairwoman Donna Bullock said Black women make 58 cents on the dollar compared to their white male counterparts and that Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, which is recognized every year, has moved to later in the year for 2022. The day coincides with the amount of time it takes Black women, working full time, year round, to ‘catch up’ to a white man’s salary from the previous year. “We are just now reaching the same pay that white men made last year because the wage gap got wider,” Bullock said. “It took us longer to get to this point this year. We are a little over three months from the end of this year. We’re moving backward. That is unacceptable and its far from equal. Regardless of education, experience or even geographic location, Black women continue to lag behind on the pay scale.” Bullock said the wage gap has widened significantly, as the difference in pay in 2021 was 63 cents on the dollar. “Throughout the course of a 40-year career, Black women are behind nearly $1 million,” Bullock said. “That is simply unconscionable and we won’t stand for it.” “In order to get by this institutional racism in every workplace, we need to stand up and say Read more

Bullock: Black Women Deserve Equal Pay

(Sep 21, 2022)

Recognizing the unfortunate truth that a Black woman would have to work about nine months into the next year to earn an equivalent salary to her white male counterpart, Chairwoman of the Pa. Legislative Black Caucus Rep. Donna Bullock rallied support for the cause at the state Capitol. Bullock says this year marks the first time since Black Women’s Equal Pay day has been reported, that the pay gap widened. Read more

PLBC statement on DelRosso House chamber remarks

(Sep 21, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released the following statement on comments made by state Rep. Carrie Lewis DelRosso in the House chamber today: “Today is a very significant day in the lives of Black women. It is a day when we recognize the disparity and inequity of salaries for Black women compared to white males, and how those inequities impact their families, their communities and our commonwealth, as a whole. “To state Representative Carrie Lewis DelRosso: your insensitive comments about providing ‘your help’ to get our House Leader Joanna McClinton elected to this very prestigious position were disrespectful and tone deaf. Leader McClinton is the first woman leader of the Democratic Caucus. But even more significant, she is the first BLACK woman leader elected to this position in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. “To insinuate that you had anything to do with her rise to the position of leader is beyond ludicrous and is a total disregard for everything that Black women have had to work for – twice as hard -- as our white counterparts. Leader McClinton brings hard work, determination, education and her life experiences to the position, and your arrogance to try and minimize this accomplishment for whatever reason is appalling. “There was no place for that conversation today or ever. To use a Black woman’s success to promote yourself is disingenuous and disrespectful.” Read more