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Kinsey: PLBC opposes Senate Bill 421 for its negative impact on marginalized communities

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Legislators, advocates help raise awareness for bone marrow donor need

(6 hours ago)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 19 – Inspired by a Pennsylvania teen who is in need of a bone marrow transplant, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, hosted a news conference to bring attention to the crucial need of bone marrow donors, especially people of color. Kinsey was joined by Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Phila., and Michael Garbin from Be the Match. The news conference was held in honor of Juwan Adams, a senior at Abington Senior High School who has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and who is currently waiting for a donor match. “At a 23% match rate currently, there is a crucial need for bone marrow donors among African Americans,” Kinsey said. “Juwan’s story is one of several that must be heard. Many of our young people are battling life changing diseases and require so much more than basic medical care. It’s important that everyone looks into being a donor if their health permits them, so they can be a hero for those who need and await lifesaving procedures.” Farnese said, “My father suffered from cancer and was the recipient of a bone marrow transplant, so I know how important these lifesaving registrations are. I hope that today’s event brings awareness about how easy it is to register and encourages my colleagues in Harrisburg and my constituents back home to sign up online.” Representatives from Be the Read more

Tonight: McClinton hosts community discussion on growing human trafficking epidemic

(Oct 30, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 30 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, House Democratic Caucus chair, is hosting a community discussion on protecting local children and neighborhoods from human trafficking. The discussion will take place at 6:30 p.m. tonight, Oct. 30, at Richard Allen Preparatory Charter School, 2601 S. 58 th St., 19143. The public and media are invited to attend. “Children across our nation, commonwealth and in our local communities are vanishing at alarming rates and sold like commodities into the grim world of human trafficking,” McClinton said. “To combat this growing problem, it’s important that residents and law enforcement become educated about the red flags and existing laws.” McClinton will be joined by representatives from the Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Nationalities Service Center and Richard Allen Preparatory School. The community discussion on raising awareness of human trafficking through education coincides with legislation she introduced that would require schools to implement information about human trafficking into the health curriculum Read more

Kenyatta selected for NCSL Task Force on Cybersecurity

(Oct 25, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 25 – As part of his ongoing fight to protect the commonwealth’s cyber infrastructure, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta announced he has been selected as a Pennsylvania representative to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ bipartisan Executive Committee Task Force on Cybersecurity. The NCSL task force brings together state lawmakers, legislative staff and other stakeholders to discuss how state legislatures can create sound frameworks for protecting against, responding to, and prosecuting perpetrators of cyberattacks. “I am honored to have been chosen to sit on this important committee. It’s no secret that cyberattacks are not only a major concern in Pennsylvania, but across the entire country. With everyone constantly connected on their phones, computers and other electronic devices, the amount of potential attacks will only increase,” Kenyatta said. “I look forward to working with members on the task force to learn what’s being done in other states to protect citizens from cyberattacks and bring that back to craft legislation on strengthening safeguards here in Pennsylvania.” Kenyatta is the prime sponsor of H.B. 225 , which would create a Cybersecurity Innovation Commission to safeguard Pennsylvania’s data by conducting cybersecurity audits, improving security and privacy standards and analyzing the protocols. According to the Read more

McClinton to host Monday news conference to address prison gerrymandering

(Oct 23, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 23 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, will host a news conference on ending the practice of prison gerrymandering at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28 at the state Capitol Media Center. McClinton will be joined by House and Senate colleagues and advocacy partners to discuss House Bill 940 – legislation that would require Pennsylvania to count incarcerated individuals at their last residential address for the purpose of congressional and legislative redistricting. Media coverage is invited. Read more

Kenyatta: LGBTQ+ Americans should not be fired for who they are or love

(Oct 08, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 8 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta issued the following statement after the Supreme Court heard arguments over whether federal civil rights law protects the LGBTQ+ community from job discrimination: “The cases before the Supreme Court today cut to the heart of whether LGBTQ+ Americans like me should have full access to the freedom and protections that my straight friends so often take for granted. We should not have to worry if we can keep our jobs or be fired for who we are or who we love. “I hope that sooner rather than later, LGBTQ+ kids will be able to grow up where they have no limits. We should all live in a country without having to hide who we are, who we love and how we identify. This should never be challenged or used against us, and this is why we fight. “It’s unfortunate that we may have to wait for the results on this important decision by the Supreme Court. It’s unfortunate we live in a country or even a state that doesn’t protect our LGBTQ+ young people. However, the Pennsylvania General Assembly can change that. I am a proud co-sponsor of House Bill 1404, which would provide equal protection to LGBTQ+ family members and neighbors across the commonwealth. It is our duty to lead and do everything in our power to protect all citizens. “I am extremely grateful to Aimee Stephens, Donald Zarda and Gerald Bostock. They faced discrimination in Read more

Johnson-Harrell calls for statewide recognition of nation’s oldest pan-African dance ensemble in new bill

(Sep 30, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 30 – To commemorate Kùlú Mèlé, the oldest continually-performing African dance and drum ensemble in the nation, state Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, D-Phila, introduced legislation that would designate Oct. 18 as Kùlú Mèlé Day in Pennsylvania. Since its inception in 1969, according to Johnson-Harrell, Kùlú Mèlé has been influential to the Black Arts Movement in Philadelphia and incorporates the cultures and aesthetic values of the African diaspora, specifically intertwining West African traditions with African American creativity. “Kùlú Mèlé has remained true to its values and has continually dedicated itself to serving the community by presenting and preserving the culture, dance and music of Africa and its diaspora,” Johnson-Harrell said. “It has also performed in other countries, gaining international visibility. I am proud to introduce this legislation that would give Kùlú Mèlé special recognition in its home state.” Read more

Cephas and Lee call on state Human Relations Commission to investigate after assault of two black women by Pittsburgh business owners

(Sep 26, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 26 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Women and Girls of Color Subcommittee for the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today condemned the assault of two black women by male gas station owners at an Exxon Mobil on Brighton Road on Pittsburgh's North Side last Friday. “This public beating inflicted upon these two young women is absolutely vile,” Cephas said. “The motives for this gang-style free-for-all by these men are clear: they didn’t view their victims as humans worthy of respect. They were appalled that these women -- these black women -- dared to speak up for themselves and not back down. In these individuals’ minds, this warranted a savage beating on camera for all to see. “This situation is hardly an isolated incident and relates to many larger issues that reveal how much black women and girls are devalued in our society.” State Rep. Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, added, “In the wake of this abhorrent assault, our collective pain as a community is instigated by the conviction of those who would be quick to justify such an offense, by the realization that no matter how many of these interactions we record, and no matter how much restraint we exhibit in the face of abuse, that our society has failed us in its incapacity to recognize our humanity. The frequency and blatant disregard with which these assailants batter black women reveals a deeper truth about our Read more

Kinsey, PLBC appoint Johnson-Harrell chairwoman of gun violence subcommittee

(Sep 25, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 25 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, on Friday announced the appointment of Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, D-Phila., as chairwoman of the caucus’ newly established subcommittee on gun violence. “Representative Johnson-Harrell has been a champion for victims of gun violence, advocating for ways to make Philadelphia and communities across the commonwealth safer,” Kinsey said. “Having lost her son to gun violence in 2011, Representative Johnson-Harrell knows firsthand the devastation of gun violence. That personal connection to this issue, and her passion for preventing others from experiencing the pain she’s known too well for the past eight years, make her the perfect person to lead this subcommittee.” Johnson-Harrell expressed her gratitude for the appointment. “After losing my son, I turned my grief into activism and began advocating for countless families in Philadelphia and across our state who’ve also been left reeling for solace and solutions after losing loved ones to gun violence,” Johnson-Harrell said. “As legislators, it is our duty to protect and serve our constituents through the creation of comprehensive laws and directives. Through research and discussion, we can help lower the shockingly high rates of gun violence ending the lives of our loved ones.” Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf appointed Johnson-Harrell to his Read more

Kinsey, PLBC join in call for passage of Emergency Assistance legislation to help Pa.’s most vulnerable citizens

(Sep 24, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 24 – Today, State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, stood with his Democratic House and Senate colleagues to call for the passage of House Bill 1709 , which would restore assistance to Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens. “That the legislature in Pennsylvania allowed General Assistance to expire on Aug. 1, leaving vulnerable Pennsylvanians without the very modest cash assistance on which they relied to pay for things like basic toiletries, quarters to do their laundry, bus fare to get to work and educational opportunities, is unconscionable,” Kinsey said. “Our obligation to help the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians – from veterans and their caregivers, to victims of domestic violence – is past due. We must pass House Bill 1709 to end the suffering thrust upon our most vulnerable neighbors.” Kinsey and other members of the PLBC stood in solidarity during a news conference Tuesday with several Pennsylvanians who had relied on General Assistance before the program ended. The message they aimed to send: House and Senate Democrats are not walking away from this issue. On Aug. 1, the state’s General Assistance program ended. It had provided about $200 per month to about 11,000 Pennsylvanians who qualified. People who received Social Security benefits received too much monthly income to qualify for General Assistance. Kinsey and several other members of the Read more

Legislative effort to raise awareness on diaper need in Pa.

(Sep 24, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 24 – In conjunction with their resolution ( H.R. 465 ) recognizing “Diaper Need Awareness Week” in Pennsylvania, state Reps. Rosita C. Youngblood, D-Phila., and Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, hosted a Capitol news conference today promoting the sixth annual Capitol Diaper Drive. “Access to a reliable supply of clean diapers is a necessity for the health and well-being of Pennsylvania's children and incontinent adults,” Youngblood said. “Unfortunately, across our commonwealth, there is a growing epidemic as many families and seniors on fixed incomes are simply unable to afford disposable diapers and undergarments.” To demonstrate the scope of the problem, Youngblood and Hill-Evans cited these statistics from the National Diaper Bank Network, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the diaper gap in the Unites States: One in every three mothers finds it difficult to provide diapers for her children. Nearly 5.2 million children under the age of three suffer from diaper need. For incontinent seniors on fixed incomes, purchasing what they often view as their most important item of clothing can cost at least $1,000 a year. Hill-Evans said, “Diaper need is often the hidden result of extreme poverty for a family. There are no safety-net programs that allocate dollars for the purchase of diapers and, as a result, our Read more