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PLBC Chairwoman Donna Bullock Remarks on Somber Anniversary

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PLBC, PLLC say criminal justice system failed Irizarry family; encouraged by charges being refiled

(Sep 26, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 26 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and Pennsylvania Latino Caucus said they are disappointed to learn that a Philadelphia judge on Tuesday dismissed all charges against former police officer Mark Dial for his involvement in the shooting death of Eddie Irizarry last month but are encouraged to see that charges have been re-filed by the District Attorney’s office. “Yet again, another crime victim, another child, another sibling, another human being let down by our criminal justice system. It is our duty to stand together and demand justice for the family of Eddie Irizarry; they deserve nothing less,” said state Rep. Danilo Burgos, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Latino Caucus. “We are deeply disappointed by this decision. Dial, a former police officer, fired his gun six times at close range. The fact that all charges were dropped is enraging. We demand accountability and transparency in this process. This is not a closed case,” said state Rep. Jose Giral, D-Phila., who represents the district where the killing occurred. “We keep talking about the wrongful use of deadly force by the police, and this is an unfortunate example of that. We are on the victim’s family’s side; we are on the side of justice.” “Make no mistake, we are not surprised by this failure to deliver justice to the Irizarry family. Read more

Rabb announces legislation to establish Incarcerated People’s Benefit Fund

(Sep 07, 2023)

“It is our duty as legislators to secure fair treatment for all Pennsylvanians — regardless of circumstance,” Rabb said. “We must act with compassion and ensure that justice-involved individuals receive the rehabilitation and resources necessary to successfully reenter their communities.” Read more

PLBC calls for equal pay for Black women

(Jul 27, 2023)

HARRISBURG, July 27 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus is calling for an end to the wage gap for Black women on this Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., chair of the PLBC, said Black women make 67 cents on the dollar compared to their white male counterparts. Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is recognized each year on a date corresponding with the amount of time it takes Black women working full-time, year-round to catch up with a white man’s salary from the previous year, on average. “As of today, we are just now catching up with what white men made last year,” Bullock said. “We have closed the gap some from last year, but make no mistake, this is still far, far from equal. Black women, regardless of experience, education or location, continue to be paid unequally for their work and suffer the brunt of the effects of structural and institutional racism and sexism. “The wage gap is the result of a workplace culture entrenched in racism and sexism, and it will persist until we’ve successfully rectified that toxic culture which imposes obstacles for Black women to consistently overcome. Today and every day, the fight for equal pay continues. It doesn’t just go away when the sun comes up tomorrow. We’re ready and won’t stand for it any longer.” Read more

Cephas releases statement on enactment of Act 5 of 2023

(Jul 06, 2023)

"Pennsylvania families deserve our utmost attention and the finest health options available to preserve their health and the health of their babies." Read more

PLBC releases statement on PA budget passage

(Jul 06, 2023)

HARRISBURG, July 6 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released the following statement on the passage of the Pennsylvania state budget. “In the search for perfection, it can be human nature to sometimes lose sight of good. This budget is far from perfect, and it falls short in some areas that are of high priority for Black communities across Pennsylvania,” state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said. “However, we believe that there are some areas where it measures up, too. “This bill will invest significant money in the recently minted Whole Home Repair Program, in solving the Black maternal health crisis, in uplifting historically disadvantaged small businesses, in sickle cell research, in the Pennsylvania Prison Society, in establishing the Indigent Defense Advisory Committee and in overall violence intervention and prevention programs. “As well, we will continue to work with Governor Josh Shapiro’s administration to revisit the budget to supplement it with additional funding for proven and effective gun violence intervention and prevention programs that didn’t make it into the budget. “We believe that to address institutional inequalities, we must intentionally invest in equitable solutions, and this budget is a start toward that goal.” Read more

Abney issues statement regarding U.S. Supreme Court affirmative action ruling

(Jun 29, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 29 – Rep. Aerion A. Abney, D-Allegheny, issued the following statement regarding today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision against affirmative action programs at the University of North Carolina and Harvard University: “I must express that although I am disappointed by the Supreme Court's recent ruling striking down affirmative action, their decision comes as no surprise. The existence of structural and systemic racism in our country is an unfortunate reality that, while not revelatory, has become increasingly evident in the times we live in today. “Affirmative action was established to confront both implicit and explicit biases which prevented individuals from accessing opportunities available to others solely based on their race. It recognized race as one among many factors considered when evaluating an applicant, rather than the sole determining factor. Unfortunately, using a sole determining factor was often used to deny applicants prior to this policy. This policy, however, successfully dismantled barriers that countless people faced and continue to face due to racial discrimination. “Today's ruling serves as another reminder that the system is not broken, and it operates exactly as it was designed to operate. Regardless, we will continue to work with our colleges and universities to help ensure that these institutions reflect the diversity that makes those institutions and our commonwealth a vibrant and Read more

PLBC releases statement on Supreme Court affirmative action ruling

(Jun 29, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 29 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus said today they are disappointed with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the cases of Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina and Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard College , which found Harvard and UNC’s admissions process unconstitutional, dismantling affirmative action and ending the consideration of race in the application process. Affirmative action in higher education was put in place in the 1960s, allowing admissions departments to consider race as a factor during admissions to enfranchise historically and systemically disadvantaged populations. Affirmative action's significance extended beyond the boundaries of higher education and had become a useful tool to remedy the racial and socioeconomic disparities that hinder access to quality education, economic opportunities and social mobility. It was an imperfect and partial solution that did help Black and brown students receive admission to institutions they were more than qualified for but otherwise would not have had access to due to racial discrimination and feigned blindness to Black talent. “This is an incredibly disappointing day for higher education in America. This continued rolling back of rights and norms and standards by the U.S. Supreme Court is a distressing trend. I will fight to make sure our children in Pennsylvania have the same rights and Read more

Kinsey: Honoring the Legacy of K. Leroy Irvis

(Jun 28, 2023)

Pa. state Rep. Stephen Kinsey explains his resolution that would rename the current South Lawn at the state Capitol to “Irvis Circle of Equality” in honor of former House Speaker K. Leroy Irvis. In 1977, Irvis was the first African American elected as Speaker of any state legislature in the U.S. and dedicated much of his career to the fight for civil rights. Read more

House Health Committee reports out key bill to improve Black maternal health

(Jun 14, 2023)

Better tracking and reporting will ensure that Black mamas and birthing individuals are heard. We know that Pennsylvania needs more people in the medical and perinatal field who look like the people they are working alongside to deliver healthy babies and eliminate birth outcome disparities. This data can help us identify the areas where we need more professionals, such as doulas, who can provide emotional, informational and physical support before, during and after childbirth. Read more

Kinsey resolution urging Congress to end legal slavery passes Judiciary Committee

(Jun 08, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 8 – Yesterday, House Resolution 128 introduced by state Reps. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., and Carol Kazeem, D-Delaware, urging Congress to end legal slavery was reported out of the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee. While the 13 th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolished slavery, it left a loophole which allows for slavery/involuntary servitude as punishment for committing a crime. Kinsey’s resolution would urge the U.S. Congress to end this loophole. “Slavery is America’s greatest sin, and we can no longer allow it to continue any further in any shape or fashion,” Kinsey said. “The loophole in the 13th Amendment allows for America’s legacy of slavery and racism to continue- we must end it. No one should be forced to work involuntarily. Today’s committee vote for this resolution is a positive step towards fully abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude in our country.” “Slavery has no place in the world today. Yet here in the United States, through a loophole in the 13 th Amendment, we can still force labor on someone as punishment for a crime,” Kazeem said. “This is not what represents the America of today and it’s about time we finally got rid of slavery in our country. We hope our colleagues in the state House will join us in calling on our Congress in Washington to join us in this mission.” H.R. 128 Read more