Featured News

PLBC statement on state police shooting of Monroe County teen

Inaugural PA Tourism Office grants awarded to seven for Juneteenth celebrations

(Apr 25, 2022)

HARRISBURG, April 25 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today joined the Wolf administration and the nonprofit Voices Underground in celebrating the inaugural awarding of Journeying Toward Freedom grants through the Pennsylvania Tourism Office, according to PLBC Chair and state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila. The inaugural awards will support Juneteenth celebrations across the commonwealth in 2022 for seven organizations. "The importance of the awarding of these grants cannot be understated,” Bullock said. “The history of Juneteenth has been only recently officially recognized, but its historic cultural significance had been long celebrated by Black communities in Pennsylvania. "In order to highlight – even amplify – the importance of this day and Black culture in Pennsylvania, it is critical that we support Juneteenth events statewide, invest in Black businesses and institutions, and target Black travelers in our ongoing tourism initiatives." Juneteenth celebrates the anniversary of the day in 1865 that news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Galveston, Texas, and enslaved African Americans became aware that they had been freed. In 2019, Gov. Tom Wolf declared June 19 of each year as Juneteenth National Freedom Day. Last year, President Joe Biden signed legislation recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday. The Journeying Toward Freedom grant program was established by the Pennsylvania Tourism Office in Read more

 

Cephas announces Medicaid extension for postpartum care, highlights new money for maternal health initiatives

(Apr 18, 2022)

PHILADELPHIA, April 18 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas joined state Sen. Tim Kearney and Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Acting Secretary Meg Snead today at the Maternity Care Coalition in Philadelphia to highlight the implementation of Opt In PA, an initiative extending Medicaid support for postpartum individuals from 60 days to one year across the state. President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan Act included a provision that gives states an option to extend Medicaid coverage up to one year postpartum; the Pa. Department of Human Services made the decision to opt into this provision, extending that coverage from 60 days to one year. Implementation was effective April 1. “Constituents who use Medicaid should contact their providers to see how this impacts them and their care,” said Cephas, who co-chairs the General Assembly’s Women’s Health Caucus and serves on the Pennsylvania Commission for Women. Cephas also discussed a recently committed $25.6 million in American Rescue Plan funding for a new maternal and child health initiative in Pennsylvania called the COVID-19 Nurturing Maternal and Child Health Initiative. The initiative recognizes the impact the pandemic had on Pennsylvania communities and makes strategic investments to implement innovative and informed improvements into the public health continuum. NMCH will reach millions of more birthing parents and children through doula services, targeted services, healthy eating Read more

 

Cephas, Tartaglione announce $25.6M in funding for maternal, child health

(Apr 14, 2022)

PHILADELPHIA, April 14 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas and state Sen. Christine Tartaglione, along with fellow lawmakers and the Wolf administration, today announced $25.6 million in American Rescue Plan funding to be allocated for a new maternal and child health initiative in Pennsylvania. The funding announcement also coincides with Black Maternal Health Week, April 11-17 . “With the promise in this funding, we are putting money into solving maternal mortality and working to address the social determinants of health that contribute to the crisis we are experiencing across Pennsylvania," Cephas said. “The administration’s opting Pennsylvania into extended Medicaid was a major move to start solving part of the crisis now, as well. That program began April 1, and the initiatives we’re announcing today are going to reach millions of more birthing parents and children through doula services, targeted services, healthy eating pilot programs and lead remediation.” “Our democratic counterparts in the US House and Senate sent Pennsylvania billions of dollars in the American Rescue Plan to reinvest to strengthen our commonwealth,” Tartaglione said. “We cannot let the historic opportunity afforded to us pass without making life-changing and crucially needed investments in historically disinvested communities. The allocation of this grant money will help Temple Woman’s and Infant’s Hospital finally open Read more

 

PLBC introduces resolution for National Minority Health Month in PA

(Apr 13, 2022)

HARRISBURG, April 13 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, along with PLBC members Reps. Stephen Kinsey, Patty Kim and Manuel Guzman, introduced a resolution that would recognize April 2022 as National Minority Health Month in Pennsylvania. The resolution was spurred by National Minority Health Week, which was inspired by the creation of National Negro Health Week in 1915 by Booker T. Washington and the U.S. Public Health Service. The focus was to improve the overall health status of Black Americans and to encourage Black professionals to join the medical field. National Negro Health Week then grew into the National Negro Health Movement to educate the public about continuing health disparities year-round. The U.S. Public Health Service then published National Negro Health News to update on activities of the movement and publish reports on Black health in America. The theme for 2022 is Give Your Community a Boost, which supports the CDC’s recommendation of the Covid-19 vaccine and booster shot as a means to combat the global pandemic. “Minorities are significantly more at risk for both terminal and treatable illnesses,” Bullock said. “But because many do not have access to affordable health care or insurance, the life-saving power of early detection by a primary care physician is hardly ever obtainable. These health disparities were exposed during and because of the recent pandemic.” The Read more

 

PLBC awards Crystal Bird Fauset Leadership honorees  

(Apr 01, 2022)

HARRISBURG, March 31 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today announced the awardees of the PLBC Crystal Bird Fauset Leadership Award during Women’s History Month. 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 too long, Black women and their accomplishments have been ignored,” Bullock said. “This award stands for all of the accomplishments that have been made, all of the accomplishments we are making, and all the accomplishments that are coming. I am so proud to honor each of these Black women with the PLBC Crystal Bird Fauset Leadership Award. In history, some of the greatest movements have been led by Black women -- from the Underground Railroad to the Black Lives Matter movement -- and too often the leadership had been minimized. Our honorees today carry on the great legacy of outstanding women who embody the spirit of Fauset and who have made significant contributions to Pennsylvania and the Black community as leaders and history makers.” The honorees are the House Democratic leader, state Rep. Joanna McClinton, first Black woman leader in the Pennsylvania General Assembly; Estelle Richman, former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department Read more

 

Bullock announces PLBC scholarship, application period

(Mar 23, 2022)

HARRISBURG, March 23 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, chair of the PLBC, this week announced that the James R. Roebuck Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus scholarship application period is now open. Ten individuals will be selected by the PLBC to receive scholarships worth $1,000 each, which will be awarded through the PLBC Foundation to Pennsylvania residents who meet the following criteria: Be a person of color. Be a graduating high school senior or current undergrad at a college or university. Plan to enroll/return to full-time undergraduate study at an accredited two- or four-year college or university for the entire upcoming academic year. Attend the scholarship awards presentation in Harrisburg. Complete the online application. Deadline to apply is April 30 and only the first 100 applicants will be processed. Go to https://www.pahouse.com/PLBC and under the scholarship tab, apply online or get more information. “The cost of higher education is climbing and is potentially out of reach for so many students,” said Bullock, D-Phila. “We want to help students who aspire to go to college achieve that goal any way we can. Students are selected based on their academic success, leadership, extracurricular activities, community participation and financial need. This is an important task as we are choosing our future leaders in business, education, medicine and our communities.” Last year the scholarship was renamed the James R. Read more

 

Cephas joins First Lady Wolf, administration officials, Tuttleman Foundation to announce doula pilot program for pregnant women who are incarcerated

(Feb 14, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 14 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas joined First Lady Frances Wolf and the Departments of Human Services and Corrections to announce a new partnership that is bringing doula services to women who are pregnant while incarcerated. Doula services have been found to ease the pregnancy and labor process and improve birth outcomes for both mother and child, according to many studies. Funded through the Tuttleman Foundation, the doula pilot at State Correctional Institute Muncy will expand pregnancy and parenting supports for women who are incarcerated, a key goal of Cephas’s. Wolf said that the goal of the program is to support mothers through a difficult and vulnerable period and empower them as they prepare to re-enter their communities. “I'm glad – and proud – to see that the Department of Corrections is recognizing the importance of doulas in the fight to reduce maternal mortality among incarcerated women and improve birthing outcomes for birthing people and children,” Cephas said. “We now have an opportunity to capitalize on this momentum to pass legislation in the House or Senate to include Medicaid coverage for doulas for all birthing people, and the full Dignity for Incarcerated Women bill to show compassion for the unique circumstances that these women face.” Cephas was previously joined by Dream Corps JUSTICE, the American Conservative Union and Ardella’s House, along with other stakeholders, Read more

 

PLBC response to Gov. Wolf’s budget address

(Feb 08, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 8 –The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus responded today to Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2022-23 budget proposal, applauding his investment in important programs without a tax increase, according to PLBC Chairwoman Donna Bullock, D-Phila. “Continuing our work in addressing issues that impact communities of color will remain our focus as we move forward in this year, reaching out to the governor in urging his support for meaningful initiatives,” Bullock said. “We’ve been able to secure funding for important programs that combat community and gun violence but so much more work needs to be done. We will remain steadfast in our determination to provide guidance to the governor on these and other issues that are of importance to the people of Pennsylvania who are affected by these particular issues, like fair education funding, access to healthcare, environmental justice and programs to combat gun violence, to name a few.” “The governor’s budget address is just the first step in the long process of crafting a budget that benefits as many Pennsylvanians as possible, said PLBC Vice Chairwoman Summer Lee, D-Allegheny. “We need to draft a spending plan that funds fixes to our toxic schools, ensures fair wages for all workers, and helps folks who are struggling to pay their bills. It’s time to get to work and create a budget that is fair and equitable for all Pennsylvanians, Read more

 

Measure recognizes February as Black History Month in Pa.

(Jan 28, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 28 – State Reps. Donna Bullock, Summer Lee and Carol Hill-Evans have introduced a resolution to recognize February 2022 as Black History Month in Pennsylvania. The 2022 theme is Black Health and Wellness, acknowledging the legacy of Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine but also other ways of knowing, such as midwives, naturopaths and herbalists, throughout the African Diaspora. In Pennsylvania, the theme of health and wellness correlates directly to the work of the PA Legislative Black Caucus on health equity during the pandemic. “Black History Month would not have been possible without the creation of Negro History Week in the United States by famous historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro life and history,” said Bullock, who is also chair of the PA Legislative Black Caucus. “The focus was to teach and encourage the history of Black Americans at a primary level.” Bullock said Woodson’s vision later evolved in 1969, where the idea of Black History Month -- instead of a week -- was promoted by students and educators at Kent State University followed by its first celebration on campus in 1970. U.S. President Gerald Ford praised Black History Month and urged citizens to seize the opportunity to honor the too often neglected and overlooked accomplishments of Black Americans throughout history. Read more

 

PLBC welcomes new executive director

(Jan 11, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 11 – State Rep. and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chair Donna Bullock today announced that April Ashe is the new executive director of the PLBC. “We welcome April and look forward to her tenure with the Black caucus,” said Bullock, D-Phila. “She has worked with the Democratic Caucus for more than a decade and brings a wealth of knowledge and savvy to the position.” Ashe began her career with the House Democrats as an intern in 2009. She graduated in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in integrated studies from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, with concentrations in political science and psychology. She is currently studying for her master’s degree in educational psychology at Purdue University Global. She has served as a legislative assistant to PLBC members, including former state Rep. Jake Wheatley, Jr., who is now chief of staff for Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey. She has worked as a research analyst for the House Commerce, Finance, and Professional Licensure committees. A Harrisburg resident, she holds a monthly Self Care Saturday’s event in her community and is a volunteer with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America in Harrisburg, teaching yoga and meditative practices to the youth. She partners with Healthy Harrisburg and speaks to youth groups and single-mother groups on the importance of self-care and emotional intelligence. She can be reached at (717) 772-6955 or through email at Read more

 

Bullock statement on Jan. 5 Fairmount fire

(Jan 06, 2022)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 6 – State Rep. and PA Legislative Black Caucus Chair Donna Bullock released a statement addressing the Jan. 5 Fairmount fire. “The devastating events of yesterday morning have hit home for everyone, particularly because of the tragic loss of life. While the investigation is not over yet, news accounts claim this is the deadliest fire in more than a century in the city. “This is a neighborhood in my legislative district where the people are caring and warm, are families with small children, and are older folks all who come together to make it a community. We are sending our condolences and prayers to everyone impacted and offering assistance where we are able. “But as we move forward, and as we find out definitive facts about this tragedy, it is imperative that we as legislators and community leaders do more to provide resources like affordable housing for families, support for a safe living environment and economic resources as necessary and when people need it the most.” Read more

 

PLBC statement on state police shooting of Monroe County teen

(Nov 19, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 19 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today released a statement regarding the release of video of the Pennsylvania State Police shooting of Christian Hall. The Monroe County teen had been diagnosed with depression and was threatening to take his own life on a highway overpass. Recent release of the full version of video of the incident shows Hall had his hands in the air at the time of the shooting. Earlier this year the PLBC sent a letter to the Monroe County District Attorney’s office with a formal request to have the case forwarded to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office for a more objective investigation. “The refusal of the Monroe County DA’s office to refer the case, coupled with the release of the video that authorities previously blurred, is troubling and presents a real conflict. These are the cases that sow public doubt and create tension between law enforcement and residents. A truly objective lens on this would help to mend the fractures that seem evident and even disturbing in this case, both for the family and the public at large. "We unfortunately come back to cases like this again and again across the commonwealth and across the country. Instead of law enforcement recognizing the disconnect that exists with their handling of cases where race and mental illness are involved, they allow cases to be pushed through, then pushed aside at what seems like the benefit of Read more

 

PLBC condemns book bans at start of national Banned Books Week

(Sep 27, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 27 – State Rep. and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chair Donna Bullock, D-Phila., was joined by members of the PLBC, LGBTQ+ Caucus, Latino Caucus and Equity Committee today to denounce the banning of books on diversity from schools in the commonwealth. This action was spurred in part by the overturning of a year-long book freeze in a York County school district and the new push by Republican state lawmakers to ban critical race theory, which is not taught in any district in the state currently. Two students who led the protest on the book freeze in Central York School District, Edha Gupta and Christina Ellis, spoke at the news conference. “Banning books on diversity is the direct result of this Republican manufactured crisis on critical race theory,” Bullock said. “This fearmongering has parents and school districts scrambling to stop something that doesn’t exist. Part of the negative effect of this overreaching response is children are kept from reading books that reflect their diverse school community and world around them. “If we continue to allow groups to pedal this misinformation, this ban will only be the tip of the iceberg. We owe our children more than that and we are calling out districts that minimize or restrict information through book bans or perpetuate this made-up crisis that is merely a political platform.” Pennsylvania is one of a growing list of states trying to enact a CRT ban, Read more

 

Police, Labor Relations topic of public hearing hosted by Pa. Legislative Black Caucus Wednesday

(Aug 17, 2021)

Philadelphia, Aug. 17 – State Rep. Donna Bullock is convening a meeting of the House Democratic Policy Committee and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus to discuss the role of labor in police reforms. The hearing will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, August 18 at Temple University, Fox Gittis Room, 1776 N. Broad St., Philadelphia . The Fox Gittis Room is located just off the Broad Street Lobby, Alumni Hall at the Liacouras Center. The media and public are encouraged to attend. Masks are required. Additional information about this and other House Democratic Policy Committee hearings is available at www.pahouse.com/policy . Read more

 

PLBC Spring-Summer 2021 newsletter

(Aug 12, 2021)

PLBC Spring-Summer 2021 newsletter featuring budgeting for racial justice and equity, promoting health and public safety and upcoming events. Read more

 

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

 

Inaugural PA Tourism Office grants awarded to seven for Juneteenth celebrations
Apr 25, 2022

Cephas announces Medicaid extension for postpartum care, highlights new money for maternal health initiatives
Apr 18, 2022

Cephas, Tartaglione announce $25.6M in funding for maternal, child health
Apr 14, 2022

PLBC introduces resolution for National Minority Health Month in PA
Apr 13, 2022

PLBC awards Crystal Bird Fauset Leadership honorees  
Apr 01, 2022

Bullock announces PLBC scholarship, application period
Mar 23, 2022

Cephas joins First Lady Wolf, administration officials, Tuttleman Foundation to announce doula pilot program for pregnant women who are incarcerated
Feb 14, 2022

PLBC response to Gov. Wolf’s budget address
Feb 08, 2022

Measure recognizes February as Black History Month in Pa.
Jan 28, 2022

PLBC welcomes new executive director
Jan 11, 2022

Bullock statement on Jan. 5 Fairmount fire
Jan 06, 2022

PLBC statement on state police shooting of Monroe County teen
Nov 19, 2021

PLBC condemns book bans at start of national Banned Books Week
Sep 27, 2021

Police, Labor Relations topic of public hearing hosted by Pa. Legislative Black Caucus Wednesday
Aug 17, 2021

PLBC Spring-Summer 2021 newsletter
Aug 12, 2021

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