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PLBC outlines legislative agenda for systemic equity

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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

Bullock announces PLBC scholarship awardees

(Jun 03, 2021)

HARRISBURG, June 3 – State Rep. and PLBC Chair Donna Bullock, D-Phila., this week announced the awardees of the newly renamed James R. Roebuck Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus scholarship for 2021. A virtual award ceremony will take place at 10 a.m., Wednesday, June 23. It can be viewed live on Facebook @PALegislativeBlackCaucus and pahouse.com/PLBC. The scholarship recipients are: Jaelynn Pearson, Philadelphia, Hill Freedman World Academy. Labiq Jaigirdar, Philadelphia, George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science. Deiveian Story, Philadelphia, The Workshop School and Community College of Philadelphia, dual enrollment program. Jasmine Vega, Philadelphia, Archbishop John Carroll High School. Abronah C. Taylor, Harrisburg, Kutztown University. Mephki Lopez, Philadelphia, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology. Mya Hill, Philadelphia, Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School. Annechase Obame , Harrisburg, Central Dauphin East High School. Asia Blocker, Lansdowne, The Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr. Norah Ostin, Pittsburgh, Oakland Catholic High School. Criteria for the $1,000 scholarships: A Pennsylvania resident. A person of color. A graduating high school senior or current undergrad at a college or university. Plan to enroll/return in full-time undergraduate study at an accredited two- or four-year college or university for the entire upcoming academic year. Attend the scholarship awards Read more

Nelson: Police Reform is Only Part of the Equation

(May 26, 2021)

On the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police, Pa. state Rep. Napoleon Nelson challenges his fellow Pennsylvanians to continue the fight for racial justice and equality. Read more

House Democrats seek to prevent prison gerrymandering

(May 26, 2021)

“It’s better for the purposes of drawing our legislative districts, which are population-based, to count these individuals in the communities they call home. It will result in better, more even representation for all Pennsylvanians.” Read more

PA Legislative Black Caucus statement on anniversary of George Floyd's death

(May 25, 2021)

HARRISBURG, May 25 – On the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer and convicted murderer Derek Chauvin, the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released a statement on the state of race relations, police reform and the road ahead. “On this anniversary, let’s not say his name in vain,” said PLBC Chair state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila. “Let not our calls for accountability and justice be used to inflate budgets but rather, let our calls for substantive police reform be heard and included in discussions, not diluted, ignored and waived off. We marched, we prayed, we demanded, and we saw some change. Yet, we still have work to do.” “George Floyd should be alive today, but instead, he joins the long list of Black people who were targets of police violence,” said House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware. “We have the power to enact real change within policing across Pennsylvania. We must hold bad actors accountable, end systemic racism and save lives.” “One year after the murder of George Floyd, our country and state have much more to do to increase police accountability and professionalism,” said state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny. “The work of our advocates, community members and families of those killed has pushed the legislative process to the point that we are today, and now, we as members of the Read more

Nelson: Renewing the Call for Racial Justice

(May 25, 2021)

Pa. state Rep. Napoleon Nelson reflects on the last year since George Floyd was murdered, noting that when justice is ripped away from others, we feel it in our bones. He talks about the need to do everything that’s possible to make sure this Commonwealth and country moves further towards true justice and equality. Read more