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PLBC Fall 2022 newsletter

PLBC condemns S.B. 1166

(Jul 15, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 15 -- Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., and members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus condemned the House majority’s decision yesterday to push forward a proposed amendment to the state constitution while blocking discussion on further amendments. A total of 63 amendments had been filed by representatives from both parties. “It is inconceivable that a bill of this size would be pushed through without the proper time to debate and discuss other amendments,” said Kinsey, chairman of the PLBC. “To amend the state constitution without a public hearing or discussion is unacceptable.” “Now is the time to break down barriers and make resources accessible during emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic, not create more challenges that ultimately put Pennsylvania lives at risk,” said Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware. “This legislation is just the latest attempt by the majority party to reopen the commonwealth irresponsibly and tie the hands of those who have the power to effectively protect our most vulnerable neighbors from the coronavirus and any future health crises.” “An amendment to the state constitution needs ample time to be properly considered before it gets rushed though in this way,” said Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila. “As legislators, we can’t do our due diligence and go over every bill thoughtfully when we’re precluded from Read more

 

PLBC condemns Montgomery County commissioner’s comments on Black Lives Matter

(Jul 14, 2020)

Montgomery County, July 14 - Today, state Reps. Stephen Kinsey, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and Joe Webster, D-Montgomery, condemned Montgomery County Commissioner Joseph Gale for calling those involved in the Black Lives Matter movement terrorists. “It is reprehensible that an elected official would call peaceful protestors terrorists and promote violence in our communities,” Kinsey said. “This completely shatters the trust that Montgomery County residents will have with this office, and that is a great disservice to everyone.” "On June 1, Montgomery County Commissioner Joseph C. Gale issued a press statement under the Seal of the County of Montgomery in which he, without coordination with his fellow commissioners, without proper authority, and without evidence, declared that the Black Lives Matter movement are 'terrorists' seeking to 'justify the lawless destruction of our cities and surrounding communities,'" Webster said. "We have not forgotten that Gale peddles in racist conspiracy theories. We have not forgotten this egregious misuse of his official authority. And, because we are the constituents of Montgomery County he had sworn to serve, we continue our call for him to resign or be impeached." Webster introduced H.R. 920 calling for Gale’s impeachment. Read more

 

Kenyatta ensures Black communities hard hit by pandemic are at the forefront of COVID-19 mitigation efforts

(Jul 09, 2020)

HARRISBURGH, July 9 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., said his efforts to ensure the Black community is represented in Pennsylvania’s efforts to continue to understand COVID-19 came to fruition on Tuesday as the House passed legislation to begin the epidemiological study of the deadly virus. Adopted as an amendment to a bill (H.B. 2450) that would establish an independent COVID-19 State Epidemiology Advisory Council tasked with making policy recommendations under the direction of epidemiologists appointed by deans of select accredited state universities, Kenyatta’s legislation would require that the council’s policy recommendations and final report also be focused on the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on specific racial and ethnic groups, particularly Black and brown communities. “This is a win and significant step toward effectively mitigating the pandemic here in Pennsylvania, especially in our Black and brown communities,” Kenyatta said. “We know that race and ethnicity are playing a key role in the spread of this deadly disease and that Black and brown communities are disproportionately affected. “In seeking solutions, it is crucial for this council of epidemiologist to be deliberate in the approach to understanding how this virus spreads, with a keen focus on critical demographics. I am proud my legislation received overwhelming bipartisan support, an acknowledgement that we Read more

 

Kenyatta ensures Black communities hard hit by pandemic are at the forefront of COVID-19 mitigation efforts

(Jul 09, 2020)

HARRISBURGH, July 9 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., said his efforts to ensure the Black community is represented in Pennsylvania’s efforts to continue to understand COVID-19 came to fruition on Tuesday as the House passed legislation to begin the epidemiological study of the deadly virus. Adopted as an amendment to a bill (H.B. 2450) that would establish an independent COVID-19 State Epidemiology Advisory Council tasked with making policy recommendations under the direction of epidemiologists appointed by deans of select accredited state universities, Kenyatta’s legislation would require that the council’s policy recommendations and final report also be focused on the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on specific racial and ethnic groups, particularly Black and brown communities. “This is a win and significant step toward effectively mitigating the pandemic here in Pennsylvania, especially in our Black and brown communities,” Kenyatta said. “We know that race and ethnicity are playing a key role in the spread of this deadly disease and that Black and brown communities are disproportionately affected. “In seeking solutions, it is crucial for this council of epidemiologist to be deliberate in the approach to understanding how this virus spreads, with a keen focus on critical demographics. I am proud my legislation received overwhelming bipartisan support, an acknowledgement that we Read more

 

Rabb lauds passage of his measure to stop sexual assaults in police custody

(Jul 07, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 7 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today said he is honored that legislation he introduced 18 months ago to stop sexual assaults in police custody is on its way to becoming law. Rabb said his measure (H.B. 1807) to close a dangerous loophole that has allowed police who sexually assault a person in custody to use sexual consent as a defense was amended into legislation (H.B. 256) relating to corrections institutions. “This is another victory for Pennsylvanians who took to the streets across our commonwealth demanding real police accountability,” Rabb said. “While we have a long way to go in order to change the system and right the wrongs of the past and present, we must commit ourselves to destroying its toolbox, tool by treacherous tool.” Rabb’s H.B. 1807 was among nearly 20 Democratic bills that were presented to House Republican leadership on June 8 when a handful of Black legislators commandeered the Speaker’s rostrum demanding immediate legislative action on police violence and police accountability. After bipartisan negotiation, House Republican leadership agreed to support four Democratic bills, which have now been passed unanimously in both chambers of the General Assembly, including Rabb’s legislation (amended into H.B. 1841) to create a game-changing statewide law enforcement misconduct database. “Police officers are supposed to use their authoritative power to protect the public, Read more

 

PLBC congratulates PA recipients of the 2020 HBCU Competitiveness Scholarship

(Jun 29, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 29 – Today, members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released the following statement to congratulate students from historically Black colleges and universities in the region who were named 2020 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars by the White House. “These students are shining examples of the skill and leadership coming from HBCUs across the country, and especially in Pennsylvania at Cheyney University and Lincoln University,” PLBC Chairman Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., said. “This recognition from the White House helps put a national spotlight on HBCUs at a time when Black excellence is being celebrated louder than ever. Every student who was named a 2020 HBCU Competitive Scholar should be proud today.” The winners are Jalen Scott-Davis and Tanysha Young from Lincoln University, and Kevin Mwangi and Kiyana Roberts of Cheyney University. The scholarship is awarded as part of the White House’s Initiative on Historically Black Colleges. Read more

 

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

 

PLBC condemns S.B. 1166
Jul 15, 2020

PLBC condemns Montgomery County commissioner’s comments on Black Lives Matter
Jul 14, 2020

Kenyatta ensures Black communities hard hit by pandemic are at the forefront of COVID-19 mitigation efforts
Jul 09, 2020

Kenyatta ensures Black communities hard hit by pandemic are at the forefront of COVID-19 mitigation efforts
Jul 09, 2020

Rabb lauds passage of his measure to stop sexual assaults in police custody
Jul 07, 2020

PLBC congratulates PA recipients of the 2020 HBCU Competitiveness Scholarship
Jun 29, 2020

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