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PLBC Spring-Summer 2021 newsletter

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

 

Kinsey, Bullock introduce legislation to address sickle cell disease

(Sep 21, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – State Reps. Stephen Kinsey and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chair Donna Bullock, both D-Phila., have introduced a resolution to promote greater access and research for sickle cell disease. Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that predominately affects African Americans. The disease produces abnormal red blood cell shapes (i.e. crescent or “sickle”) that cause red blood cells to become hard, sticky, and die at an earlier rate than normal red blood cells. This can lead to serious complications among individuals, such as anemia, infections, strokes and more. There have been new therapies to address sickle cell that have greatly improved in recent years, but Kinsey said he wants it to be more accessible to low-income individuals. “We need to ensure that folks with sickle cell have access to address their medical needs, and it starts with having them covered by Medicaid and Medicare programs,” Kinsey said. “This disease has affected many Black folks for far too long, and we must make sure that they do not face any barriers when it comes to addressing this disease.” This resolution would call on federal policymakers to ensure that individuals have access to all medications and forms of treatment, as well as ensure that any new therapies are covered by Medicare and Medicaid programs. Additionally, this resolution would designate the state Department of Health to conduct a Read more

 

PLBC meets with NAAGA and Second Amendment Caucus on gun issues

(Sep 20, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 20 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus met with the National African American Gun Association and the House Second Amendment Caucus to discuss gun issues in the commonwealth, according to PLBC Chair Donna Bullock. “In order to get something done on gun crime and violence, we need to talk to every stakeholder,” said Bullock, D-Phila. “Though we may disagree on some policy issues, it doesn’t mean we can’t talk about the gun violence that is plaguing the commonwealth and where we can find common ground to make a difference. “Black gun owners are uniquely positioned to discuss public safety and gun violence prevention while protecting the rights of legal, responsible gun owners.” The National African American Gun Association was founded “to expose, educate, and motivate as many African American men and women to go out and purchase a firearm for self-defense and to take training on proper gun use.” It’s launch date was Feb. 28, 2015, in honor of Black History Month. Read more

 

Bullock: Marginalized Communities Most Impacted by Climate Change

(Sep 20, 2022)

Pa. state Rep. Donna Bullock, chairwoman of the Pa. Legislative Black Caucus, has seen Black, brown, low income, and vulnerable communities endure the brunt of polluters, the climate crisis and its impacts. She says that now is the time to hold bad actors accountable and address environmental justice by giving these same communities input and a voice. Read more

 

Climate Caucus members call on the legislature to act during Climate Action Week

(Sep 20, 2022)

“Climate action requires us to prioritize environmental justice,” said state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila. “Much of the climate crisis is rooted in environmental racism, and to correct that we have to be intentional about reducing air pollution, building climate resilience and giving voice to vulnerable communities.” Read more

 

Bullock: Want a Better Pennsylvania? Listen to Black Pennsylvanians

(Sep 14, 2022)

Seeking a better Pennsylvania for all of the commonwealth’s residents is what public service is all about for me. I’ve spent the better part of my adult life seeking ‘what is better’ for my community in many different capacities. And after serving a term as the chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus (PLBC), here is what I know: listening to and investing in Black Pennsylvanians will pay major dividends – boosting both the commonwealth’s economy and social justice efforts. In August, the PLBC took to the road – to the city of Erie – to attend a series of conversations, policy hearings and listening sessions with Black business owners, clergy, elected officials and community leaders. It was meaningful to both the legislators and Black residents of Erie. A little history. In 2017, Erie was named the worst city in the country for Black Americans to live. 47% of the Black population lived in poverty, and there were other health and socioeconomic disparities. There was outcry from Erie’s Black community. For some, the report only confirmed what they already knew. Fast forward to September 2021, Erie County declared racism a public health crisis and established the Erie County Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission. Now known as Diverse Erie, the commission has been working to advance homeownership, entrepreneurship, and more among Erie’s Black residents. They are recruiting Black educators and Read more

 

Policy hearing focuses on youth violence intervention and prevention

(Aug 23, 2022)

The House Democratic Policy Committee convened a hearing Tuesday morning with the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus to discuss methods of youth violence intervention and prevention. Read more

 

PLBC statement on Sesame Place 

(Jul 28, 2022)

HARRISBURG, July 28 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus has released the following statement on the Sesame Place incidents recently viewed on social media platforms and aired on news channels, according to PLBC Chair and state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila. “The events viewed online and on the news about the actions of Sesame Place characters and interactions with Black children is disturbing and further evidence of the need for diverse hiring and training at all levels by employers. “The PLBC encourages diversity in hiring and continues to support workplace inclusion in every Pennsylvania business. When employees are properly informed and trained, these kinds of microaggressions can be eliminated and attractions like Sesame Place can become a more inclusive workplace for its employees and welcoming environment for all visitors. “Most importantly, in this case, our children deserve better than this troubling display and we will continue to use our voice and voting power in the legislature to ensure these kinds of interactions don’t happen.” Read more

 

PLBC statement on S.B. 106

(Jul 08, 2022)

HARRISBURG, July 8 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released a statement on the controversial S.B. 106: “While S.B. 106 was voted out of the House this evening, make no mistake – we will not stop the fight against this misguided measure. It’s journey to a full vote in the House has been purely partisan. "In the shadow of night, the Pennsylvania Senate voted to usurp the legislative process and vote to approve S.B. 106 – a measure that could ultimately take away rights of women to make decisions about their own health and make it harder for the public at large, particularly in Black and brown communities, to vote. This slippery slope maneuvering within the legislature is setting a precedent that will have devastating ramifications for generations to come. "The majority party is merely sidestepping the legislative process for their own personal ideology while stripping away basic rights for individuals -- some of the most precious and fought for rights that we have as Americans. If this were really about the will of the people, as the majority party has declared, we would be voting actual bills in the General Assembly. This is a secretive, power grab that will benefit one party, and they are doing it in a way that will change the course of legislating for a long time to come.” Read more

 

PLBC statement on 2022-23 state budget agreement

(Jul 08, 2022)

HARRISBURG, July 8 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus issued the following statement regarding the 2022-23 state budget bill, which passed the PA House of Representatives Thursday. “This budget will make historic investments in education, housing and gun violence prevention. These investments will improve the quality of life and create opportunities for Black Pennsylvanians, but there is more work to do. The members of the PLBC remain diligent and committed to advancing equitable budget proposals that meet the basic needs of our most vulnerable communities and continue to invest in PLBC’s ongoing priorities.” Some points from the $42 billion plan include a basic education funding increase of almost $750 million, including $225 million for Level Up funding to the state’s poorest school districts, as well as a special education funding increase of almost $100 million. There is another $100 million each for mental health, and school safety and security. A violence intervention and prevention grant program receives $75 million and $125 million is included for a Whole Home Repairs grant program. Read more

 

Bullock announces PLBC scholarship awardees

(Jun 21, 2022)

HARRISBURG, June 21 – State Rep. and PLBC Chair Donna Bullock, D-Phila., this week announced the awardees of the James R. Roebuck Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Scholarship for 2022. A virtual award ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 23. It can be viewed here: https://www.pahouse.com/PLBC/2022Scholarships or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/PALegislativeBlackCaucus . The scholarship recipients, their hometowns and the colleges or universities they are attending: Mikeiyah Bennett, Pittsburgh, Temple University Jasmine Easley, Upper Darby, St. John’s University Ryan Ellison, Wyncote, Duquesne University Mikel Hackel, Elkins Park, North Carolina A & T Brianna Mobley, Philadelphia, North Carolina A & T Joy Richardson, Philadelphia, no college listed Stephanie Toledo, Penbrook, Shippensburg University Grace Walker, McKeesport, North Carolina A & T Cameron West, Philadelphia, Hampton University Daianna Williams, Philadelphia, Louisiana State University 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. Students are also selected based on their academic success, leadership, extracurricular activities, community Read more

 

PLBC Commemorates Juneteenth

(Jun 14, 2022)

The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus celebrated the Juneteenth holiday with a commemoration of Black excellence, the promise of freedom and a call for a better, more equitable future. The event featured performances from Dwinnimen Dance Group of Harrisburg. Read more

 

Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus hosts Juneteenth program

(Jun 14, 2022)

HARRISBURG, June 14 -- State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, joined other House members for a Juneteenth celebration in the East Capitol Rotunda. "Juneteenth is a commemoration of the end of slavery and Black freedom, but that freedom hasn't been a straight line from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement to today,” Bullock said. “The struggle has been belabored and continues today. So, while we celebrate Black excellence, let us also recommit ourselves to do better as a nation and fight for a stronger democracy that ensures the promise of equity and freedom for all." Members from the Pennsylvania General Assembly joined with guests who performed spoken word poetry and African dance highlighting Black cultural achievements. Members who spoke at the celebration agreed that while Juneteenth was the start of independence for Black people in America, there is still much work to be done to truly achieve not only equality – but equity. Although Juneteenth has been celebrated unofficially since its inception, it is a newly added federal holiday that recognizes the day that Texas, the last state to have enslaved people, announced that all enslaved peoples were now free on June 19, 1865. Gov. Wolf also officially recognized Juneteenth as a holiday in 2019. Photos: Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus | Photo Gallery (pahouse.com) Read more

 

Bullock: Investments to Reduce Gun Violence

(May 25, 2022)

Chair of the Pa. Legislative Black Caucus state Rep. Donna Bullock rose to speak on behalf of Black Pennsylvanians. After another mass shooting, this time in Texas, she is asking everyone to recognize that her children and many in her community are dealing with shootings every single day. She is working to address the underfunding of schools, social services and more that has led to this gun violence. Bullock relates that we are all going through the same storm, but experiencing it very differently as we are not in the same boat. Read more

 

PLBC honors the late House Speaker Irvis with day of action

(May 23, 2022)

HARRISBURG, May 23 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and colleagues from the PLBC today commemorated the 45th anniversary of the inauguration of the late Speaker K. Leroy Irvis with a day of action. “This inaugural day of action not only commemorates the accomplishments of the first and only Black speaker in the Pennsylvania legislature to date,” Bullock said, “but it is also an opportunity to amplify the voices of Black Pennsylvanians and the issues that are important to our communities." Irvis was born in New York and graduated from the State University of New York at Albany. He moved to Baltimore and taught high school English and history until World War II. He was a civilian flying instructor for the War Department. After, he settled in Pittsburgh where he earned a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh. In 1958, he was elected to the state legislature, eventually being elected by his peers as speaker of the House. He served in the legislature for 15 consecutive terms. “Forty-five years after his historic election as House Speaker, K. Leroy Irvis’s leadership is still felt by countless Pennsylvanians. He was a man of great character who forged a path that many of us have worked to emulate,” said House Democratic Leader, Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila/Delaware. “To fully recognize his contributions, we should view Speaker Irvis’s legacy Read more

 

Bullock Leads Inaugural K. Leroy Irvis Day of Action

(May 23, 2022)

State Rep. Donna Bullock, chairwoman of the Pa. Legislative Black Caucus, leads the inaugural K. Leroy Irvis Day of Action to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the election of Irvis as the first Black speaker of any state legislature in the U.S. and make heard the voices of legislators and advocates working to address systemic inequities across Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Parker: Health Equity Funding is Long Overdue

(May 16, 2022)

Pa. state Rep. Darisha Parker joined legislative leaders and healthcare officials to announce state funding to address health equity, including $1 Million for the Black Doctors Consortium Dr. Ala Stanford Center for Health Equity in North Philadelphia. The pandemic laid bare the vast inequities in healthcare for Black and brown communities, which the Black Doctors Consortium worked hard to alleviate. Read more