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PLBC Fall 2022 newsletter

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Women’s History Month is the perfect time to recognize women’s issues

(Mar 17, 2023)

Entering Women’s History Month this March has me pondering a lot of issues related to women, especially women of color, and where we are headed. In the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, I can tell you we are going in the right direction in terms of addressing important issues that impact the daily lives of women who have been historically underserved, underrepresented, misunderstood, ignored and generally not heard. We elected the first woman – a Black woman – to serve as speaker of the House. This role has always gone to white men with the exception of K. Leroy Irvis, a Black legislator from Pittsburgh, who served as speaker back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Speaker Joanna McClinton is accomplished, is the former Democratic leader in the House, is an attorney and represents the good folks of the 191st District in Philadelphia and parts of Delaware County. She brings experiences to this General Assembly that resonate with so many Pennsylvanians and is committed to making sure that everyone and every issue is heard during her tenure at the rostrum. Some of the issues that I know exist, and ones that were discussed during my time as chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus’ Subcommittee on Women and Girls of Color, include a backsliding of women’s reproductive rights, the need to raise the minimum wage, period poverty, and health care access and maternal mortality, to name a few. Women’s personal Read more

PLBC announces Crystal Bird Fauset Leadership honorees

(Mar 14, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 14 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, announced the awardees of the PLBC Crystal Bird Fauset Leadership Award, which is now an annual recognition event for the PLBC during Women’s History Month. Honorees will be awarded in a virtual ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 23. The ceremony can be viewed live at Facebook.com/PALegislativeBlackCaucus/. The award is named in honor of former state Rep. Crystal Bird Fauset, who was a Democrat elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1938 and represented Philadelphia’s 18th Legislative District. She was the first Black woman elected in any state legislature. “For so long, the accomplishments of Black women have been ignored or minimized,” Bullock said. “While we celebrate these women all year long, we wanted to highlight extraordinary Black women in Women’s History Month and all that they do here in the commonwealth. It’s important for everyone – especially little Black girls and boys – to see someone who looks like them making big impacts in Pennsylvania and in leadership roles. These women are leaders we look to everyday - in both their professional and personal lives. We are so proud of each of them and are grateful for their service to this commonwealth.” The honorees this year are former state House member from Pittsburgh and current U.S. Rep. Summer Lee; former Read more

Bullock named chair of House Children and Youth, Ethics committees

(Mar 13, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 13 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., has been appointed chair of standing state House committees on Children and Youth and Ethics for the 2023-24 legislative session. “Our committees drive the entire legislative process by vetting and moving bills to the floor for a vote,” Bullock said. “The committees I chair this session are critical to moving legislation that benefits and considers the well-being of our children, while the Ethics Committee is important to ensuring the ethical behavior of members as they conduct business in our chamber and as elected officials throughout this session. I’m looking forward to getting to work and getting things done for the commonwealth.” In addition to her committee assignments, Bullock was reelected to chair the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. Founded in 1973, the caucus was formed to serve as an information and advocacy vehicle to advance the interests of African American, Latino and other people of color in the commonwealth. Bullock’s district office is located at 2835 W. Girard Ave. Residents can stop by or call 215-684-3738 to set up an appointment or for inquiries. Read more

PLBC agenda, governor’s budget priorities are aligned

(Mar 07, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 7 – Prior to his budget address today, the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus sent a letter to Gov. Josh Shapiro outlining their budget priorities. Following is their statement on his budget proposal: “The governor has heard our priorities and heeded our requests, as was evident in his budget address to the General Assembly today when he specifically named the PLBC in his remarks. It was a historic moment for this body and it underscores the importance of our partnership and involvement in the budget process. We are energized by his vision and know our collective voice is heard by the Shapiro-Davis administration. We are confident we will be able to continue and, where needed, expand upon the great work that was started under the Wolf administration. Education, environmental justice, maternal mortality and discrimination are just a few of the issues that we continue to bring to the forefront and we are encouraged by the governor’s including them in today’s proposal. “With a commitment to fairly funding our schools, regardless of location in the commonwealth, we are hopeful that we can fulfill our constitutional commitment to an equitable education for all children. We need to invest in our schools, thereby investing in our children. In addition, we are encouraged by a commitment to higher education, and we want to be sure that our two HBCUs – Cheyney University and Lincoln University - receive the same Read more

Bullock Comments on The State of Black Pa.

(Feb 28, 2023)

Pa. Legislative Black Caucus Chairwoman Donna Bullock endorses a report on the State of Black Pennsylvania. The report was compiled by state Sen. Art Haywood’s office and provides data on many issues affecting Black and brown people living in the Commonwealth. Bullock says data from this study will play a critical role in developing policies that provide equity and justice to all Pennsylvanians. Read more

PLBC celebrates McClinton’s historic speaker election

(Feb 28, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 28 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released a statement on the election and swearing in of its colleague and current PLBC member, former House Majority leader and now Speaker Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware. “This milestone of not only a woman speaker of the House but a Black woman, is long overdue and very deserved. Joanna McClinton has worked her way through the ranks of the legislature with savvy and grace and always with the knowledge of the tasks before her. We are confident she is ready to lead our chamber into this next two years and beyond. We beam with pride at the accomplishments and the history that is made today with our new Speaker Joanna McClinton.” Read more

Food is medicine: Medically tailored meals can help more patients get back to health

(Feb 28, 2023)

“You are what you eat.” “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Society has used these adages and others to explain the relationship between food and health. But here is some food for thought: Food is medicine. The idea of preventative and therapeutic use of nutritious food to help patients suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease is making its way into mainstream medicine. Although the link between nutrition and health has been long established in the medical community, and prescribed medical diets are commonplace in hospital discharge orders, widely accessible resources for filling those dietary prescriptions have never been available. Until now. Across the commonwealth and the country, doctors are referring patients to organizations that provide medically tailored meals. While this is not yet widely covered by insurance, it should be -- and in government, we should help to move the initiative along. For many patients, the healthy food that is part of their disease treatment, and often prescribed by their health provider, may not be available at their local grocery stores or, even if it is, may be unaffordable. Some patients may not physically be able to prepare healthy meals. Prepared and delivered medically tailored meals remove those barriers and are a relief for the patients, their families and our health care system as a whole. Medicaid, private health insurance companies and other programs can be Read more

PLBC statement on recent racist social media posts

(Feb 13, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 13 – Responding to a recent uptick in racist social media posts at the middle school, high school and collegiate levels, the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released this statement today: “The rise in racist rhetoric among our young people is not new, but these disturbing posts are symptomatic of the current state of affairs across the commonwealth and the country. Our students are mirroring the political vitriol and uncivil discourse displayed by adults at school board meetings, in the workplace, on social media, and in their homes. “Recent social media posts from students at a Philadelphia Catholic high school, a suburban middle school, and a western Pennsylvania state university are racist, hateful, and wrong. They provide further evidence of the need for bias training and inclusive curriculum in our educational system, such as teaching African American history – not just highlighting it in February during Black History Month but throughout the school year. “We call on local school boards and university officials to review their anti-hate and anti-bias trainings and policies. We encourage school leaders to make Black, Latino, and Asian American history accessible in their schools. We encourage our legislative colleagues to co-sponsor Representatives Burgos, Young, Hohenstein, and Innamorato’s proposed bill for Diverse History Instruction in Schools. “Inclusion must include all of us. Racism Read more

Black History Month recognized in Pennsylvania this February

(Jan 25, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 25 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus have sponsored a resolution recognizing February 2023 as Black History Month in the commonwealth, according to state Rep. Donna Bullock, chair of the PLBC. The Black History Month theme this year is “Black Resistance,” acknowledging that Black Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms and police killings. “From slave revolts to the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter, Black Americans have consistently fought for freedom, democracy and the very soul of this country,” said Bullock, D-Phila., who is a prime sponsor of the measure. “That fight meant resisting white supremacy, resisting police and racial violence, and resisting oppressive legislation and policy. During our 50th anniversary, the PLBC will continue our work to advance anti-racist and restorative legislation and equitable state investments that will improve the lives of Black Pennsylvanians.” Other prime sponsors of the bill are state Reps. Napoleon Nelson, D-Montgomery; Darisha Parker, D-Phila., and Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster. “The resistance is a part of who we are everyday in this country,” said Parker, who serves as PLBC secretary. “Until we know there is equity, equality and justice in public and private policy, institutions and in the eyes of every American, Read more

PLBC statement on police incident in Lower Merion

(Jan 10, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 10 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus has released a statement on a police incident in Lower Merion Township. “A disturbing video showing Lower Merion police pulling over a Black female motorist has surfaced and is being investigated by the department. The police interaction with the woman is disturbing but unfortunately not rare. Pulled over in a customer parking lot, the driver is heard asking for a supervisor before exiting the car. The situation quickly escalates, and she is dragged from the car at gunpoint, tased, handcuffed on the ground with her shirt over her head and taken to a waiting police vehicle with her upper body exposed. “The PLBC has been working on legislation to curb police violence during traffic stops, such as reducing pretextual traffic stops and tracking racial profiling and related disparities. Black drivers are more likely to be asked to step out of the car, more likely to have their car searched, more likely to be given a citation or violation, more likely to be detained and, unfortunately, more likely to have a violent encounter with the police as seen in this video. “We have for years been calling for training and diversity in departments so the officers who patrol the streets look more like the residents who live there, shoring up better police community relations and a sense of protection by police rather than harassment. “We have for years been working to hold law enforcement Read more