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PLBC outlines legislative agenda for systemic equity

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

 

Bullock announces PLBC scholarship awardees

(Jun 03, 2021)

HARRISBURG, June 3 – State Rep. and PLBC Chair Donna Bullock, D-Phila., this week announced the awardees of the newly renamed James R. Roebuck Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus scholarship for 2021. A virtual award ceremony will take place at 10 a.m., Wednesday, June 23. It can be viewed live on Facebook @PALegislativeBlackCaucus and pahouse.com/PLBC. The scholarship recipients are: Jaelynn Pearson, Philadelphia, Hill Freedman World Academy. Labiq Jaigirdar, Philadelphia, George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science. Deiveian Story, Philadelphia, The Workshop School and Community College of Philadelphia, dual enrollment program. Jasmine Vega, Philadelphia, Archbishop John Carroll High School. Abronah C. Taylor, Harrisburg, Kutztown University. Mephki Lopez, Philadelphia, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology. Mya Hill, Philadelphia, Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School. Annechase Obame , Harrisburg, Central Dauphin East High School. Asia Blocker, Lansdowne, The Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr. Norah Ostin, Pittsburgh, Oakland Catholic High School. Criteria for the $1,000 scholarships: A Pennsylvania resident. A person of color. A graduating high school senior or current undergrad at a college or university. Plan to enroll/return in full-time undergraduate study at an accredited two- or four-year college or university for the entire upcoming academic year. Attend the scholarship awards Read more

 

Nelson: Police Reform is Only Part of the Equation

(May 26, 2021)

On the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police, Pa. state Rep. Napoleon Nelson challenges his fellow Pennsylvanians to continue the fight for racial justice and equality. Read more

 

House Democrats seek to prevent prison gerrymandering

(May 26, 2021)

“It’s better for the purposes of drawing our legislative districts, which are population-based, to count these individuals in the communities they call home. It will result in better, more even representation for all Pennsylvanians.” Read more

 

PA Legislative Black Caucus statement on anniversary of George Floyd's death

(May 25, 2021)

HARRISBURG, May 25 – On the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer and convicted murderer Derek Chauvin, the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released a statement on the state of race relations, police reform and the road ahead. “On this anniversary, let’s not say his name in vain,” said PLBC Chair state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila. “Let not our calls for accountability and justice be used to inflate budgets but rather, let our calls for substantive police reform be heard and included in discussions, not diluted, ignored and waived off. We marched, we prayed, we demanded, and we saw some change. Yet, we still have work to do.” “George Floyd should be alive today, but instead, he joins the long list of Black people who were targets of police violence,” said House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware. “We have the power to enact real change within policing across Pennsylvania. We must hold bad actors accountable, end systemic racism and save lives.” “One year after the murder of George Floyd, our country and state have much more to do to increase police accountability and professionalism,” said state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny. “The work of our advocates, community members and families of those killed has pushed the legislative process to the point that we are today, and now, we as members of the Read more

 

Nelson: Renewing the Call for Racial Justice

(May 25, 2021)

Pa. state Rep. Napoleon Nelson reflects on the last year since George Floyd was murdered, noting that when justice is ripped away from others, we feel it in our bones. He talks about the need to do everything that’s possible to make sure this Commonwealth and country moves further towards true justice and equality. Read more

 

Bullock condemns misleading mailings to Black and Brown communities

(May 07, 2021)

HARRISBURG, May 7 – Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chair and state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., released a statement regarding the upcoming ballot questions that will be posed to voters May 18 as a result of legislation passed by the General Assembly in two consecutive sessions. “Since the pandemic began special interest groups funded by out-of-state billionaires have been spreading lies about COVID-19 and the governor’s effort to save lives. They hosted maskless rallies and demanded an end to mitigation efforts- spreading the virus, putting essential workers at risk, and making our recovery more challenging. “Now these same special interests are spending millions of dollars clogging mailboxes with misinformation about the upcoming ballot questions. They claim to be speaking for workers everywhere, but especially for workers of color. It’s outrageous, it’s appalling, and it’s insulting. These groups have spent years opposing every attempt to improve the lives of working people and now they’re trying to say supporting equality also means risking lives and destroying the existing checks and balances against any governor’s ability to declare a disaster. “There’s an old adage among attorneys: If the facts are on your side pound the facts, if the law is on your side pound the law, but, if you don’t have the facts or the law on your side then pound the table. These lie-filled mailers are Read more

 

PLBC Addresses Systemic Inequities & Implicit Bias in Pa.

(May 07, 2021)

Members and associates of the Pa. Legislative Black Caucus introduced their package of bills aimed at eliminating systemic racial inequities and addressing implicit bias in healthcare, state services and more across the Commonwealth. Read more

 

PLBC outlines legislative agenda for systemic equity

(May 05, 2021)

HARRISBURG, May 5 – State House members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and supporters today outlined their legislative agenda for systemic equity at a Capitol news conference. Members spoke about bills that would resolve bias, create diversity and provide inclusion, bridging the racial divide and inequities in legislation, state government agencies and health care. “This agenda is a road map for changing the way we deliver services, distribute resources and otherwise do business in the Commonwealth in all matters so that everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, gender, or Zip code, will have the same access and the same expectation as residents of Pennsylvania,” said PLBC Chair and state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila. “The inequities in health care, housing and employment that were exacerbated by the pandemic are not new. They are systemic and often rooted in generations of racism. To address these systemic inequities, we have to remove stigmas, address implicit bias, and invest in systemic equity in ways that provide fair and equitable access to wealth, health, safety and more. We cannot continue doing things as we’ve done in the past and expect the outcome to be different. I have said that before, it still holds true and will continue to be true until we make substantial changes. We won’t relent until we see these changes.” “I truly appreciate the leadership of PLCB Chairwoman Bullock to keep us Read more

 

PLBC responds to Chauvin guilty verdict

(Apr 21, 2021)

HARRISBURG, April 21 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today called for continued action on policing and ending systemic racism after a jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three charges filed against him for the May 2020 murder of George Floyd. “The conviction of Derek Chauvin on all charges against him for the murder of George Floyd brings justice to George and his family, though my heart remains heavy,” said state Rep. Donna Bullock, chairwoman of the PLBC. “The more than nine and a half minutes Chauvin spent disregarding and taking the life of a Black man laid bare the truth of policing of Black and Brown people in America. “This heinous and very public crime against George Floyd at the hands and knee of Chauvin and the surrounding officers who did nothing to stop it was by no means an isolated incident of police brutality on people of color, but its raw and visible reality marked a point in our history where people who did not once see or believe, now see and believe. The verdict in this case gives me relief, but the families of Daunte Wright, Breonna Taylor, Adam Toledo and many others are still waiting on this kind of justice. We need to continue to work together to bring about the change the PLBC, our Police Reform Working Group and lawmakers across the nation have been working toward for years,” she said. PLBC Vice Chair Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, said Read more

 

BioTech Innovation Organization, Pfizer share vaccine efficacy, role in COVID-19 recovery

(Apr 12, 2021)

HARRISBURG, April 12 – As Pennsylvania expands vaccine eligibility, the House Democratic Policy Committee heard from the manufacturers tirelessly working to develop safe and effective vaccines for global use. At a Policy Committee hearing today, testifiers included representatives from Biotechnology Innovation Organization and Pfizer, who provided details on the technology behind the development of the COVID-19 vaccines and how the United States can reach herd immunity. Chairman Ryan Bizzarro and state Reps. Patty Kim and Darisha Parker facilitated the hearing, where Amy Walker, director of Infectious Diseases Policy for Biotechnology Innovation Organization and Lisa Coen, senior director, Vaccine Public Affairs with Pfizer, shared insight into the science behind the creation of COVID-19 vaccines, ongoing research, development and trials. Walker shared that five presidents, both Democratic and Republican, have been vaccinated, highlighting that the vaccines have received bipartisan support. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to have conversations based on science and fact. These vaccines will save lives and I encourage everyone eligible and interested to take the advice of scientists and medical professionals and help put this pandemic behind us,” Bizzarro implored. “It is important for us to hear this testimony today, especially for my constituents,” Parker said. “Communities of color have battled COVID extra Read more

 

Pa. Legislative Black Caucus holds budget information session with state Budget Secretary Jen Swails

(Mar 31, 2021)

HARRISBURG, March 31 – Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chair Rep. Donna Bullock and PLBC Subcommittee Chair of Budget Equity Rep. Napoleon Nelson this week held a budget information and listening session with members of the PLBC and featured guest speaker state Budget Secretary Jen Swails. The discussion centered on state budget priorities for Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color communities across the commonwealth and concerns as well as suggestions for how the state budget could be fair and equitable. The PLBC plans to use the information from the listening session to formulate a response and requests for upcoming state budget negotiations. "We heard from business leaders, educators, advocates, and parents from communities of color across the commonwealth,” said Bullock, D-Phila. “We will use this information to inform our budget priorities as a caucus and advocate for equitable state investments in our communities. We can’t continue doing the same things when addressing the budget and expect a different outcome or result." "We do not take lightly the obligation to fight for the residents in our commonwealth who have known suffering, poverty and inequalities for generations,” said Nelson, D-Montgomery. “Leaders from these many communities came together to speak to their needs and seek our support. We have heard their call, and we will respond. The Legislative Black Caucus Subcommittee on Budget Equity will Read more

 

Racism on Pennsylvania high schools and college campuses creates barriers to opportunity

(Mar 26, 2021)

How far have we come, and how far do we have to go to diminish -- and possibly eradicate -- racism in high schools and college campuses? Our hearing on racism on the topic pulled the curtain on the continued systematic injustice towards minority students on high school and college campuses and the lack of diversity in educators. In some Pennsylvania school districts there is a blatant lack of effort to recruit and retain educators of color and that is problematic. The historic limited access to education for people of color is still happening. Students shared their stories of the mental, physical and emotional toll their experiences with racism and discrimination have had on their well-being. Fortunately, these students turned their painful experiences into meaningful advocacy. Their testimony showed the challenge facing educational institutions in Pennsylvania. Educators, including teachers and administrators play a large role in dispelling hate in their schools. It’s imperative that they are reflective of the communities that they represent but the statistics show, they don’t. While students of color make up 33 percent of Pennsylvania’s population, less than 5 percent of teachers are people of color. Across the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education faculty, 4 percent are Black, 3 percent are Hispanic and just 6 percent are Asian. When students see a diversity that reflects them in their educators, it shows promise. It shows Read more

 

Madden, Kenyatta lead discussion on racism on high school and college campuses

(Mar 25, 2021)

HARRISBURG, March 25 -- Education and shattering social norms are key in combatting racism in high schools and colleges, as evidenced by testimony at today’s House Democratic Policy Committee hearing hosted by state Reps. Maureen Madden and Malcolm Kenyatta. The Monroe and Philadelphia County legislators led today’s discussion bringing together state officials, students and educators to brainstorm solutions that aim to help break cycles of systemic racism via policy development and implementation. “How do we start conversations that help people understand that freedom of speech should not be a free pass for racism? We all deserve to be respected and the blatant hate and disrespect for others is impacting lives. Hate has no place in our education system. Students go to school to learn, grow and often overcome any barriers the hand that life has dealt them. I’m grateful for this forum today to learn what’s happening in our education system and what lawmakers can do to overcome the racism in our schools,” Madden shared. “Terms like ‘diversity quota’ and ‘affirmative action applicant’ are just some of the covertly racist insults that disparage the merits of students and faculty of color in academia. Ultimately, these slights have devastating effects on the emotional and mental health of these students and faculty, thereby straining their likelihood to graduate and excel at these institutions,” Read more

 

Madden, Kenyatta to examine incidents of racism on high school and college campuses at Thursday’s public hearing

(Mar 23, 2021)

HARRISBURG, March 23 – Recent incidents of racism involving students at the high school and college levels will be discussed at a House Democratic Policy Committee virtual hearing hosted by state Reps. Maureen Madden and Malcolm Kenyatta. The hearing will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 25. To view the hearing, the media and public can tune in to www.pahouse.com/policycommittee or the committee’s Facebook page -- @PADemPolicy. Media inquiries may be submitted via email to policy@pahouse.net . Madden and Kenyatta will be joined by committee Chairman Ryan Bizzarro and Democratic Policy Committee members to hear from educators, state officials and advocates on how to curb racism with meaningful policy reforms. Additional hearing information will be available by clicking here . Read more

 

Krajewski: Dignity and forward thinking needed with approaches for incarcerated parents

(Mar 19, 2021)

HARRISBURG, March 19 – The House Democratic Policy Committee’s Subcommittee on Progressive Policies for Working People hosted a roundtable discussion focusing on incarcerated parents and the impact of incarceration on families. Led by Subcommittee Chair Elizabeth Fiedler, state Reps. Rick Krajewski and Summer Lee facilitated the meaningful discussion bringing together advocates and formerly incarcerated individuals to discuss ways to best serve our communities and the families impacted by the criminal legal system. “The trauma of family separation impacts the children and families of those incarcerated, and specifically the parent-child bond, as well as the whole community,” Fiedler said. “Those impacts are immediate and severe and they are deep and long-lasting. We deserve a legal system centered on people- and community-focused models of care that operate with transparency and accountability. We must take steps to a better future for our families.” "We live in a society that doesn’t exercise humanity when we look at or talk about incarcerated people," Krajewski said. "So often, we forget that these people have family members who are trying to carry on while they are incarcerated, often including children who are especially vulnerable.” Lee added, “We sometimes lose how incarceration impacts so much more than just the individual. Entire families and Read more

 

PLBC touts $30 million for community violence prevention
Jun 25, 2021

PLBC condemns violent police arrests of teens in Ocean City, MD
Jun 16, 2021

Kenyatta applauds Dr. Jason Wingard for making history as first Black Temple University president
Jun 08, 2021

Krajewski, Kenyatta push back against false voting ‘integrity’ efforts, promote support for enhanced and expanded voting rights for all
Jun 07, 2021

Pa. Legislative Black Caucus condemns Zappala actions
Jun 04, 2021

Bullock announces PLBC scholarship awardees
Jun 03, 2021

Nelson: Police Reform is Only Part of the Equation
May 26, 2021

House Democrats seek to prevent prison gerrymandering
May 26, 2021

PA Legislative Black Caucus statement on anniversary of George Floyd's death
May 25, 2021

Nelson: Renewing the Call for Racial Justice
May 25, 2021

Bullock condemns misleading mailings to Black and Brown communities
May 07, 2021

PLBC Addresses Systemic Inequities & Implicit Bias in Pa.
May 07, 2021

PLBC outlines legislative agenda for systemic equity
May 05, 2021

PLBC responds to Chauvin guilty verdict
Apr 21, 2021

BioTech Innovation Organization, Pfizer share vaccine efficacy, role in COVID-19 recovery
Apr 12, 2021

Pa. Legislative Black Caucus holds budget information session with state Budget Secretary Jen Swails
Mar 31, 2021

Racism on Pennsylvania high schools and college campuses creates barriers to opportunity
Mar 26, 2021

Madden, Kenyatta lead discussion on racism on high school and college campuses
Mar 25, 2021

Madden, Kenyatta to examine incidents of racism on high school and college campuses at Thursday’s public hearing
Mar 23, 2021

Krajewski: Dignity and forward thinking needed with approaches for incarcerated parents
Mar 19, 2021