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PLBC Fall 2022 newsletter

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

 

PLBC, Women’s Health Caucus create joint Subcommittee on Women and Girls of Color

(Jan 09, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 9 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and the Women’s Health Caucus have created a joint Subcommittee on Women and Girls of Color, which will bolster their legislative efforts, according to PLBC Chair Donna Bullock. The subcommittee chair is state Rep. La’Tasha D. Mayes, D-Allegheny. “It just makes more sense for us to combine the work of this subcommittee and the Women’s Health Caucus since there is so much crossover on issues,” said Bullock, D-Phila. “ Representative Mayes is the right person to lead this joint committee because of her experience as a champion for reproductive rights, maternal health and other issues important to Black women. I’m looking forward to the work we can tackle in the new legislative session with this reinforced legislative body.” “I’m honored to be named the chair of this joint subcommittee and am looking forward to working with my colleagues on the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and Women’s Health Caucus to help drive legislation that will have a transformative impact on the lives of women, girls and gender-expansive people of color across our commonwealth,” Mayes said. “With a new legislative session ahead of us, I am excited by this opportunity that continues my decades of work advocating for state policy and fighting for a just and equitable future toward a Read more

 

PLBC installs officers for 2023-24 session

(Jan 05, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 5 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus this week officially installed officers to serve in the 2023-24 legislative session in a virtual ceremony that included guests Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, former PLBC members Pennsylvania Lt. Gov.-elect Austin Davis and U.S. Rep.-elect Summer Lee, and other dignitaries, PLBC members and former members. Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania Judge Lori Dumas administered the oath of office. The following members were installed as officers: Chairwoman, Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila. Vice Chairman, Rep. Napoleon Nelson, D-Montgomery Secretary, Rep. Darisha Parker, D-Phila. Treasurer, Rep. Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster In her remarks as the returning chair of PLBC, Bullock recognized the 50 years since the organization was formed in the legislature. “This is a moment 50 years in the making,” she said. “We are sending folks to Congress, the lieutenant governor's office, all over this country to continue the good work that we do here in the General Assembly. Two years before the PLBC was formally formed, Black members met in secret. We are not meeting in the shadows anymore. We are doing the work. We are getting the job done. This year, with the largest and the most diverse PLBC membership in our commonwealth’s history, we represent Black, Latino and Asian communities across the commonwealth. While we center our policies on Black Pennsylvanians, we acknowledge Read more

 

Rep.-Elect Anthony Bellmon joins PA Safe Caucus as co-chair

(Dec 15, 2022)

Vows to work to prevent gun violence and provide services to those affected by it Read more

 

PLBC statement on passing of former state Sen. Milton Street

(Nov 28, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 28 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus acknowledges the passing of one of its members, former state Sen. T. Milton Street Sr. of Philadelphia. Street was the brother of former Philadelphia Mayor John Street and uncle to current state Sen. Sharif Street. “The PLBC sends its most heartfelt condolences to the Street family on the passing of Senator Milton Street. He came from humble beginnings and was an entrepreneur who worked hard to have a successful business and advocate for similar businesses, ultimately taking him to the state’s General Assembly. After his time in the state Senate, he built his businesses, working tirelessly and serving as a pillar in the community. He made himself available as a mentor and as a friend to many. He will be missed.” Read more

 

PLBC installs officers for 2023-24 session

(Nov 17, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 17 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus this week installed officers to serve in the 2023-24 legislative session, according to Chairwoman Donna Bullock, D-Phila. “Officer selection is our first step in making sure the importance of our voices is heard in Harrisburg and across the commonwealth at what is a very critical time in Pennsylvania and this country,” Bullock said. “I feel confident that as a body we will have success in moving legislation that addresses the issues important to us, and we will work to that end with intention and purpose -- fighting for equity, inclusion and fairness.” The following members were installed as officers: Chairwoman, Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila. Vice Chairman, Rep. Napoleon Nelson, D-Montgomery Secretary, Rep. Darisha Parker, D-Phila. Treasurer, Rep. Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster Established as an official caucus in 1973, the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus was formed to empower Black legislators and to serve as an information and advocacy vehicle to advance the interests of Black, Latino and other Pennsylvanians of color. Many of the original members were afraid to meet in an open forum and had previously met in secret to establish a shared legislative agenda. Read more

 

PLBC: Penn State antiracism decisions move needle backward

(Nov 15, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 15 –The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus issued the following statement today calling on Penn State University President Neeli Bendapudi and university officials to recommit to and invest in the university’s racial justice efforts. “Many of us were encouraged by the university’s decision in 2020 to establish the Center for Racial Justice only to learn with great disappointment that those plans were recently sidelined due to budgetary concerns. The fact that this decision was made just days after a founder of the Proud Boys was scheduled to speak at the university is even more troubling. “The university’s recent actions appear to undermine, dilute and divert from the racial and social justice initiatives championed by professors, administrators and students on campus in recent years. At a minimum, the decisions have caused great division on campus. We strongly urge university officials to work with the more than 400 professors and lecturers who have signed onto a recent letter regarding these decisions and the diverse student body who deserve a welcoming campus. Together, we believe Penn State can foster an environment that invites diversity, believes in equity and implements systems for real inclusion. “As the flagship university in our commonwealth, we expect nothing less.” Read more

 

Bullock, Curry highlight issue of student homelessness

(Nov 15, 2022)

HARRISBURG, NOV. 15 – State Reps. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., and Gina Curry, D-Delaware, held a news conference Monday to mark Student Homelessness Awareness Week and educate the public about the prevalence of students experiencing homelessness in Pennsylvania. In the 2020-21 school year, 32,666 students in Pennsylvania schools were homeless or living without adequate housing. “It’s unacceptable that more than 32,000 of our students have recently experienced homelessness or have dealt with inadequate housing. While that number represents a decrease from previous years, it’s still too high,” Bullock said. “We want residents of the commonwealth to recognize that education provides stability and support to youth experiencing homelessness and is a key to preventing future homelessness. We need to do everything we can to support education and our students.” Out of 786 local education agencies in Pennsylvania, 713 are receiving McKinney-Vento subgrants to abate the challenges in their communities. The McKinney-Vento Act states that an individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence is considered homeless. Identifying homelessness can be difficult. According to experts, families experiencing homelessness often keep their situation and circumstances hidden from friends, program staff and others. Many families say that they worry about being judged or are fearful of child welfare involvement. Read more

 

Abney, Bullock lead PLBC voting rights roundtable

(Oct 27, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 27 – Yesterday at the Capitol, Reps. Aerion A. Abney, D-Allegheny, and Donna Bullock, D-Philadelphia, conducted a voting rights roundtable, joined by members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh M. Chapman. The goal of the discussion was to address items that individuals need to be aware of when voting, including providing details about mail-in and absentee ballots. “Folks that are in this room and have access to the information need to make sure they don’t keep it internal,” Abney said. “We need to be pushing this information back out into our communities.” “Today, we hope to have more conversation about the parameters of voting in Pennsylvania,” added Bullock, chair of the PLBC. “As we go back to our respective communities, remind folks how important their vote is.” A recording of the roundtable in its entirety can be viewed here . Read more

 

PLBC Fall 2022 newsletter

(Oct 25, 2022)

PLBC NL for Fall 2022 Read more

 

State government should refocus its efforts on environmental justice

(Oct 05, 2022)

“As we heard in testimony today, many of the biggest challenges facing our communities are rooted in race,” Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chair Donna Bullock said. “In order to overcome these challenges – including poverty and environmental burdens – it is imperative we address and eliminate racial disparities by changing policies and some of the flawed practices we have seen in the past.” Read more

 

Joint HDPC/PLBC Hearing: Environmental Justice

(Oct 04, 2022)

The Policy Committee will join with the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus for a discussion on environmental justice and the impact it has on different communities across Pennsylvania. Read more

 

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