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PLBC statement on state police shooting of Monroe County teen

PLBC commends unanimous affirmative vote for police reform legislation

(Jun 24, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 24 – Today, members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus expressed tremendous gratitude to the House for their unanimous support of H.B. 1841 and H.B. 1910, which would improve police training and accountability. Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, introduced H.B. 1841, which would require employers to disclose employment information to a law enforcement agency that is conducting a background investigation of an applicant, and to permit a court to compel the release of such employment information if the employer fails to comply. The bill would also free the applicant’s previous employers from civil liability for sharing employment information in good faith with a police department looking to hire a new officer. It also includes an amendment introduced by state Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., to require law enforcement agencies to keep detailed personnel records that include all substantiated criminal, civil and ethics complaints, as well as the reason and circumstances surrounding the separation of each officer. Rep. Dan Williams, D-Chester, introduced H.B. 1910, which would require police officers to receive training to recognize the signs of child abuse and childhood trauma. It includes an amendment containing Rep. Jason Dawkins’ own legislation that would require officers to undergo PTSD training after incidents involving deadly force. It would also allow commanding officers to request Read more

 

PLBC mourns Dominique Fells

(Jun 12, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, June 12 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today mourned the death of Dominque Fells, a Black trans woman who was murdered in Philadelphia this week, and called for greater emphasis on addressing the growing crisis of violence against Black transgender people. “The transgender community has faced unspeakable violence for too long. Their stories have been silenced and overlooked,” said state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila. and PLBC chairman. “We will continue to say Dominique’s name, as well as the names of so many other transgender people who were killed for simply being themselves. When we say Black Lives Matter, we mean Black trans lives too.” "What was done to Dominique Fells is horrific, and those responsible must be held accountable," state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila. and PLBC vice chairwoman, said. "Dominique was a beautiful Black woman. Her life mattered. "The brutalizing of Black people must stop," Bullock continued. "Black trans women are Black women. They are our sisters. And yet we see them killed and assaulted at an even higher rate than other groups of people. They deserve the dignity and security that every woman, every person deserves." The lawmakers said they want to open a dialogue with the community, advocates, law enforcement and others to address the crisis and to identify solutions Read more

 

PLBC members protest police brutality

(Jun 08, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 8 – Today, members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus were joined by some of their Democratic colleagues to protest police brutality. “George Floyd’s death sparked powerful and emotional protests across the country,” Kinsey said. “People are wondering whether they can trust their government to protect them, and we must show them we can. We have the power to change an unjust system that has held Black and white Pennsylvanians to different standards.” Following the protest, Speaker Turzai said he would welcome a special session to review police reform bills, like Kinsey’s bill which would outlaw the use of the standard chokehold and define positional asphyxia as any action that inhibits breath or the flow of blood to the brain due to physical position. The protest was planned by House members on the Police Reform Working Group, which also includes the chief defender of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, as well as several attorneys. Last week, the group put forward several proposals to address law enforcement misconduct and police-community relations. Members of the group include: Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Stephen Kinsey House Democratic Whip Jordan Harris House Democratic Chairwoman Joanna McClinton House Philadelphia Delegation Chairman Jason Dawkins State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila. State Rep. Read more

 

Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus calls for peaceful protests and justice in George Floyd case

(May 31, 2020)

On behalf of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus (PLBC), Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., Chairman of the PLBC, issued the following statement on the ongoing protests in Philadelphia: “George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Antwon Rose. Eric Garner. Michael Brown, Jr. Tamir Rice. Walter Scott. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. The list of black and brown mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and children who have needlessly lost their lives at the hands of police officers is not a new trend, but in America, it is a consistent trend with roots as old as our nation. Read more

 

Kinsey: We cannot allow separate justice for black Americans to continue

(May 28, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, May 28 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., today issued a statement in response to the recent death of George Floyd, who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck. “It’s heartbreaking that even during a pandemic, when we should be coming together as a community to support and uplift one another, black Americans are facing violence. We should be ensuring the health, safety and welfare of everyone,” Kinsey said. “Black skin should not lead to an automatic death sentence. We cannot allow for separate justice for black and white Americans any longer. “The four officers were fired, but every elected official and legislator needs to be prudent with the power we yield. We must make sure that our justice system is not letting this behavior routinely slip through the cracks. We need to pass laws that protect our citizens equally. We have to do more.” Read more

 

PLBC says state should prioritize COVID-19 focus and funding on longstanding racial and economic divide in communities of color

(May 08, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, May 7 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., and members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today encouraged Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration to not only recognize racial and ethnic groups in coronavirus data but also prioritize funding for black, brown and poor communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Kinsey, who is chairman of the PLBC, said members of his caucus are increasingly discouraged by the disproportionate number of coronavirus cases and deaths affecting people of color. He said while there have been longstanding racial and economic disparities in health, education and economic development, the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the danger to communities of color worldwide. Pennsylvania, Kinsey said, has the power to do something about it. In a letter to Wolf, PLBC members highlighted the $3.9 billon the commonwealth is expected to receive from the federal government and urged him to ensure a prioritized portion of the money is invested to address racial disparities in business development, education, health care, housing and environmental remediation made worse by COVID-19. "Minority owned businesses are suffering to survive, let alone thrive; our schools are struggling to ensure that children have the proper equipment and resources for them to continue learning; and African Americans are dying at a disproportionately higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group due to complications of the Read more

 

Kinsey, PLBC applaud Wolf on calling for race and data with COVID-19 tests

(Apr 27, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, April 27 – In a statement released today, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, along with its members, commended Gov. Tom Wolf for calling for more free and accessible testing, and for health care providers and medical facilities to follow the Department of Health’s mandate to include race and ethnicity data in demographics provided to the department with COVID-19 test results. “Race and ethnicity have long been factors that essentially predestine a person’s quality of life, and in the wake of a pandemic, these factors have determined the accessibility of tests, the level of care, and overall survival outcomes. It’s a reality that’s all too familiar for people of color,” Kinsey said. “I commend Governor Wolf for his efforts in addressing these deep-rooted systemic ills by pushing Pennsylvania to be among the few states to collect this critical piece of data, which will help our commonwealth to be able to better identify contraction points and mitigate spread in these communities, ultimately saving lives.” The chairman added, “The data collected surrounding this widespread event will be incredibly valuable for our ongoing efforts in the dismantling these disparities moving forward.” Read more

 

PLBC commends Gov Wolf's new Health Disparity task force

(Apr 17, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, April 16 - Yesterday, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., and the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released the following statement commending Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman for the newly announced COVID-19 Response Task Force for Health Disparity that will help to identify how the pandemic is impacting communities of color: “Governor Wolf has done a tremendous job tackling the Covid-19 pandemic so far, and his mitigation measures have helped ease some of the stress caused by this unexpected situation,” Kinsey said. “I am in full support of these additional steps that will hopefully reduce the outsized impact that Covid-19 is having on people of color.” "Anyone who has been paying attention knows that there are vast disparities in health care for people of color," state Rep. Donna Bullock, PLBC vice chairwoman, said. "That isn't new, but in the midst of a global pandemic that has upended life for all of us, the disparities in health care for people of color are magnified. I'm grateful that Governor Wolf is prioritizing this issue. I look forward to helping in the effort any way that I can." “I’m grateful that Governor Wolf and Lieutenant Governor Fetterman have decided to take on this challenge,” state Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, PLBC secretary, said. “We cannot pretend that there are no disparities in Read more

 

Funding Relief for Faith & Nonprofit Community

(Apr 15, 2020)

The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus presented a webinar to help nonprofit and faith-based organizations find funding relief through the Small Business Administration and other organizations. White House Policy Advisor and SBA Regional Administrator Ashley Bell was a featured speaker, in addition to other advocates and members of the PLBC. Read more

 

Cephas joins online forum about reducing maternal mortality rate for women of color amid COVID-19 pandemic

(Apr 14, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, April 14 – As part of Black Maternal Health Week, state Rep. Morgan Cephas participated in an online forum Monday, focusing on her ongoing fight to reduce the maternal mortality rate in Pennsylvania -- a phenomenon that disproportionately impacts women of color. The Oshun Family Center hosted the webinar titled Black Maternal Health: Advancing the Village to Hold the Mother, where Cephas discussed her package of bills that would: Offer Medicaid coverage for doulas (H.B. 2109) . Expand Medicaid coverage for postpartum women (H.B. 2108) . Add "severe maternal morbidity" to the list of reportable events within the Pennsylvania Department of Health (H.B. 2107). Require implicit bias training for health care professionals ( H.B. 2110 ). "Access to quality health care should never be based on a person's skin color or zip code," said Cephas, D-Phila. "However, the maternal mortality rate for women of color remains disproportionally higher than white women and demands collective and immediat e action . From legislators to stakeholders, we must come together and work to secure funding, develop policies and pass laws that result in better health outcomes." "Black Maternal Health Week has been a passion project for the Maternal Wellness Village and me, due to the personal impact on our lives," said Saleemah McNeil, founder of Read more

 

COVID-19 in Pa.: During This pandemic, we must address Pa.’s Black maternal health crisis | Opinion

(Apr 14, 2020)

Those who stand with us in the fight to protect Black mothers and promote policies that ensure Black families can live in safe and healthy communities need to make their voices heard and call on their elected officials to join us. Read more

 

Rep. Kinsey applauds Gov. Wolf’s prompt response to COVID-19

(Mar 13, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, March 13; State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., today applauded Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration for their prompt and proactive response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. "This public health crisis is a trying time for our community, our commonwealth and our nation. Today, I applaud Governor Wolf, our Department of Health and the entire administration for their bold and sensible approach to this developing situation," Kinsey said. "I encourage everyone to heed the advice of the CDC and our state's health professionals, follow safe and healthy hygienic procedures and support each other while we deal with the coronavirus and implement necessary safety and security measures." Earlier today, Wolf announced the closure of Pennsylvania K-12 schools and has taken other actions aimed at safeguarding public health across the commonwealth. For the most recent news and updates on COVID-19 and the administration's decisions, please visit http://health.pa.gov/ . Read more

 

Kinsey hosts first public safety listening tour series, announces upcoming tour for youth

(Mar 05, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, March 5 - - Seeking the public’s ideas on curbing gun violence in communities across Northwest Philadelphia, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila, hosted a public safety listening event on Feb. 18 at The First Presbyterian Church. “From our neighbors and law enforcement, to local leaders and organizations, we must all be part of the conversation in putting an end to this crisis,” Kinsey said. “The first listening tour is just the beginning and was a great success. We must now take the concerns and ideas we heard to help create solutions.” Residents across Northwest Philadelphia gave their insight and experiences on their bouts with gun violence and how to combat it to a panel consisting of Philadelphia Police Capt. Nicholas Smith of the 14 th District; Chantay Love, founder and program director, Every Murder Is Real; Rochelle Curbreath, manager of legislative affairs, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority; state police Lt. Robert Bailey; and Kinsey’s Northwest Philadelphia House colleagues Reps. Chris Rabb and Isabella Fitzgerald of the 200 th and 202 nd legislative districts, respectively. Kinsey’s public safety listening tour is part of the first installment of his newly launched anti-gun violence campaign -- Step Up, Stand Up -- an initiative to tackle the root causes of gun violence through community cohesion between residents, city, state and federal elected officials, cooperation with law Read more

 

PLBC: Federal anti-lynching law 100 years overdue, but not too late

(Mar 04, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, March 4 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, along with its members, today issued a statement following the passage of the Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act in the U.S. House, a bill that carries the namesake of 14-year-old Emmett Till, an African-American boy who was brutally lynched by a white mob after being falsely accused of whistling at a white woman in Mississippi: “I, along with members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, applaud last week’s passage of the Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act to finally make this barbaric behavior a crime under federal law,” Kinsey said. “It’s been too many years -- 120 years to be exact -- and countless lives overdue, but hardly too late. This gruesome act of domestic terrorism has been used to instill fear and maintain white supremacy across our country, including here in Pennsylvania. It’s the ultimate consequence African-Americans suffered for daring to assert their humanity and exercise their right to live in a society that cast them as subhuman and only worthy of servitude. Sadly, many African-Americans are still reeling from the trauma of stories of their loved ones and neighbors being lynched. We must recognize that young Emmett Till’s murder was not that long ago and there have been many others in recent years.” The legislation passed 410-4. The dissenters were 3 Republicans and 1 Read more

 

Kinsey, PLBC, Philadelphia members honor first African-American woman House Democratic Caucus secretary

(Feb 28, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 28 – In celebration of Black History Month, Pennsylvania trailblazer state Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood, D-Phila., was recognized today for her 26 years of service to the commonwealth at Philadelphia City Hall. “I am truly humbled by this honor, and I am so grateful for the constant support of my colleagues,” Youngblood said.” And to my constituents in the 198th – I am grateful to have been afforded the privilege of being your state representative for the past 26 years.” The recognition efforts were spearheaded by members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, led by Chairman Rep. Stephen Kinsey, along with the Philadelphia House Delegation led by Chairman Rep. Jason Dawkins, and Rep. Angel Cruz, all D-Phila. “Representative Youngblood dedicated her life to being a fighter and champion for her community and residents across the commonwealth,” Kinsey said. “A living legend, she has made fierce strides toward creating an equitable commonwealth and has paved the way for women and African-Americans by being the first African-American woman to hold a leadership position in the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s history.” Dawkins also thanked Youngblood for her years of public service and expressed how she was a pioneer in ensuring the possibility for others to also serve in a leadership capacity in state government. “I’m proud to be part of Read more

 

Rep. Kinsey, Gov. Wolf discuss combatting gun violence in Northwest Philadelphia

(Feb 28, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 28 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., along with c ommunity leaders, advocates, and students hosted Gov. Tom Wolf on a visit to the 201 st Legislative District at Parkway Northwest High School for Peace and Social Justice to discuss tackling local gun violence and called on the General Assembly to help secure the $6 million in funding measures for gun violence prevention across Philadelphia outlined in Wolf’s 2020-21 budget proposal . “I’m extremely pleased and support Governor Tom Wolf’s proposal to keep Pennsylvanians safe. Gun violence has become a public health crisis, cutting short the lives of too many people across our commonwealth, especially here in Philadelphia,” Kinsey said. “Governor Wolf recognizes this and has stepped up to the plate with plans. We’re now demanding the state legislature does its part on solidifying this proposal to increase funding thus giving us additional resources that will assist us in battling this threat to the health, safety and welfare of the people of Pennsylvania.” Kinsey also acknowledged the need for grassroots community mobilization in quelling local gun violence and spoke about his public listening tour—Step Up, Stand Up—an anti-gun violence prevention public listening tour. “I recently launched Step Up, Stand Up to reduce—and hopefully end—gun violence across our local communities. I hosted the Read more

 

Rep. Kinsey to welcome Gov. Wolf to Northwest Philadelphia Friday

(Feb 27, 2020)

Rep. Kinsey to welcome Gov. Wolf to Northwest Philadelphia Friday PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 27 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., will host Gov. Tom Wolf on a tour of the 201 st Legislative District to discuss funding measures for gun violence prevention. The event will take place from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28 with Parkway Northwest High School, 6200 Crittenden St., 19138 , as the starting location. Wolf’s visit is part of Kinsey’s recently unveiled initiative, Step Up, Stand Up, to combat gun violence across Northwest Philadelphia. Wolf gave his budget address earlier this month, in which he proposed allocating $6 million across the commonwealth and $4 million in Philadelphia for anti-gun violence efforts. Kinsey, chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and PLBC members, led efforts to lobby for the funding. The media is invited to attend. Read more

 

Kinsey, PLBC celebrate Pa. trailblazers for Black History Month 2020

(Feb 27, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 27 – In celebration of Black History Month 2020, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, hosted a panel discussion Saturday at Martin Luther King High School in Germantown featuring six distinguished influencers of color from across the commonwealth who shared their sacrifices and achievements in being the first to shatter the glass ceiling in their professions. In light of the upcoming elections and the 150 th anniversary of the passage of the 15 th Amendment, the panel also noted the importance of the national theme for Black History Month 2020, African Americans and the Vote. “We’ve blended the PLBC’s theme and the national Black History Month theme to both showcase our contemporary trailblazers who have made history in our Commonwealth and instill the importance of voting, especially in this critical year for our democracy,” Kinsey said, “Thank you to our panelists and moderator for providing this informative discussion.” Joining Kinsey in facilitating the event were PLBC members Reps. Jordan Harris, Democratic whip, Dan K. Williams, Carol Hill-Evans, Isabella Fitzgerald, Malcolm Kenyatta, PLBC associate member Rep. Maria Donatucci, and House colleague Rep. Joe Webster. The panelists included former Philadelphia Mayor W. Wilson Goode Sr., Philadelphia Sheriff Rochelle Bilal, Superior Court Judge Carolyn Nichols, Philadelphia Read more

 

PLBC urges Judicial Conduct Review Board to investigate Allegheny County judge

(Feb 12, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 12 – Following Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Mark Tranquilli being reassigned on Tuesday to summary appeals after allegedly calling a Black female juror “Aunt Jemima” and making other racist remarks toward her, members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus are now urging the Judicial Conduct Review Board to investigate. Leading the effort are PLBC members representing Allegheny County, who condemned Tranquilli’s comments as another manifestation of a broken criminal justice system that systemically targets black and brown people. “The alleged comments made by Judge Mark Tranquilli are alarming on multiple fronts,” said state Rep. Austin Davis, who represents the 35 th Legislative District in Allegheny County. “On one hand we have an individual tasked with upholding the law to the highest extent but who clearly harbors bias and judgment toward defendants before a verdict is even reached. On the other hand, we have a judge who harbors an even stronger bias toward people of color, both of which are a recipe for disaster and an injustice to our community. I’m calling on the Judicial Conduct Review Board to do a thorough investigation into this matter.” State Rep. Edward C. Gainey, who represents the 24 th Legislative District, also in Allegheny County, echoed similar sentiments. “Our society is based on the belief that justice is blind – that regardless of race, color Read more

 

McClinton, Kinsey to introduce legislation to increase opportunities for pardons in Pennsylvania

(Feb 06, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 30 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, today announced that she and Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., will soon introduce legislation to increase pardon opportunities for individuals currently serving a sentence of life in prison. House Bill 2262 would do away with the requirement for a unanimous vote by the state Board of Pardons, and instead, replace it with a required simple majority vote. This vote is needed in order to recommend a pardon or commutation of a sentence to the governor for final approval. “Criminal justice reform is front and center on the minds of legislators in Harrisburg and people all across the commonwealth,” McClinton said. “One way we can truly seek reform is to offer hope to persons who have served decades in prison and no longer pose a threat to their communities. By lowering the threshold to a three-fifths vote of the pardons board to recommend pardon or commutation to the governor, Pennsylvania can show that it is truly leading by example when it comes to reforming our criminal justice system.” “In 1995, the Pennsylvania Constitution was amended to require a unanimous vote by the pardons board. I believe we’ve come a long way in understanding that we must do more in order to provide true opportunities for rehabilitated offenders to be pardoned or have their sentences commuted,” Kinsey said. “Ultimately, the final decision will still lay with Read more

 

PLBC commends unanimous affirmative vote for police reform legislation
Jun 24, 2020

PLBC mourns Dominique Fells
Jun 12, 2020

PLBC members protest police brutality
Jun 08, 2020

Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus calls for peaceful protests and justice in George Floyd case
May 31, 2020

Kinsey: We cannot allow separate justice for black Americans to continue
May 28, 2020

PLBC says state should prioritize COVID-19 focus and funding on longstanding racial and economic divide in communities of color
May 08, 2020

Kinsey, PLBC applaud Wolf on calling for race and data with COVID-19 tests
Apr 27, 2020

PLBC commends Gov Wolf's new Health Disparity task force
Apr 17, 2020

Funding Relief for Faith & Nonprofit Community
Apr 15, 2020

Cephas joins online forum about reducing maternal mortality rate for women of color amid COVID-19 pandemic
Apr 14, 2020

COVID-19 in Pa.: During This pandemic, we must address Pa.’s Black maternal health crisis | Opinion
Apr 14, 2020

Rep. Kinsey applauds Gov. Wolf’s prompt response to COVID-19
Mar 13, 2020

Kinsey hosts first public safety listening tour series, announces upcoming tour for youth
Mar 05, 2020

PLBC: Federal anti-lynching law 100 years overdue, but not too late
Mar 04, 2020

Kinsey, PLBC, Philadelphia members honor first African-American woman House Democratic Caucus secretary
Feb 28, 2020

Rep. Kinsey, Gov. Wolf discuss combatting gun violence in Northwest Philadelphia
Feb 28, 2020

Rep. Kinsey to welcome Gov. Wolf to Northwest Philadelphia Friday
Feb 27, 2020

Kinsey, PLBC celebrate Pa. trailblazers for Black History Month 2020
Feb 27, 2020

PLBC urges Judicial Conduct Review Board to investigate Allegheny County judge
Feb 12, 2020

McClinton, Kinsey to introduce legislation to increase opportunities for pardons in Pennsylvania
Feb 06, 2020