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Kenyatta calls US Supreme Court ruling a major victory for civil rights in America

Kenyatta announces Environmental Education Grant for The U School

(Jun 26, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, June 26 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today announced that a $2,998 Environmental Education Grant has been awarded to The U School in his 181 st Legislative District. The grant, Kenyatta said, is funded by the state Department of Environmental Protection and will assist in the development of an “Urban Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources” club to introduce 10 th and 11 th graders to career paths in environmental sustainability. “The fight for justice includes environmental justice and equity. It’s a fight that can only be won by empowering communities that have been systemically barred from being stakeholders of their food, water, land and air quality,” Kenyatta said. “Fostering and instilling an interest in environmental sustainability careers among our local youth is a step toward progress, which is why I am thrilled that The U School has been awarded this grant.” The Environmental Education Grants Program engages youth and adults in environmental justice, climate change, and/or water quality improvement, expanding their understanding of these issues in Pennsylvania and providing skills to take responsible action to protect their environment The program was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, which mandates setting aside 5% of the pollution fines and penalties DEP collects annually for environmental education Read more

 

Kenyatta applauds historic passage of police reform bills

(Jun 24, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 24 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., applauded the historic unanimous House passage of two of 19 bills that aim to provide police reforms. The bills, H.B. 1841 and H.B. 1910, would reform policing practices in Pennsylvania by mandating that police officers undergo PTSD evaluation after resorting to lethal force and creating a database that tracks disciplinary actions searchable by law enforcement agencies evaluating prospective hires. “The passage of these bills in the House is the first to reforming a system that we know is broken. Every Black and brown person in this chamber and across our commonwealth is all too familiar with that gut-wrenching feeling when those red and blue lights pull you over. That feeling is from the uncertainty of not knowing if that encounter will end safely,” Kenyatta said. “I am proud to see this chamber unanimously heed the calls of our citizens who are calling upon us to take action in ensuring lives are protected and law enforcement is held accountable.” In the House chamber, Kenyatta, who is a member of the newly created Police Working Reform Group, gave impassioned remarks about the need to ensure the passage of these two pieces of legislation become one of many steps taken toward progress in reforming policing in the commonwealth. Invoking the names of Antwon Rose, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd—all victims of police Read more

 

Kenyatta presents first check from his newly launched microgrant program for businesses impacted by civil unrest

(Jun 16, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, June 16 – In efforts to repair damage to local businesses in the wake of days of civil unrest across the city, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., along with members of the local business community in his 181 st Legislative District, on Friday presented a $500 check to one affected business owner. Kenyatta presented the check to Rich Kim, a COVID-19 survivor and community contributor, to assist him with repairs to his property that was destroyed in a fire during the first night of the recent uprisings on May 31. Funding for the check, the first of many, was made available through a newly launched microgrant program created by Kenyatta and Richie Juniors and administered by Beech Companies. “Rich has endured so much over these last few months. He and his family have suffered from both the health and economic impacts of the pandemic and have now faced the brunt of the recent uprising,” Kenyatta said. “Rich has been an asset to this vibrant community. He has donated food to residents in need and our first responders. I am proud of Temple University, Beech Companies, and Richie for stepping up to make this funding possible to pay it forward to the Kim family on their road to recovery. “We will continue this initiative because small businesses are the backbone of our communities and it’s crucial that we do more to foster their growth,” Kenyatta added. Read more

 

Kenyatta calls US Supreme Court ruling a major victory for civil rights in America

(Jun 16, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 16 – Minutes after the United States Supreme upheld that Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 that bars sex discrimination also provides protections for sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta issued an emotional statement, calling the decision a major victory in the fight for civil rights for LGBTQ Americans: “I’m still collecting my thoughts and fighting back tears, but the Supreme Court’s Title VII decision is a powerful moment for progress and the LGBTQ community,” Kenyatta said. “America has never lived up to its creed — ever. All men and women have been created equal but have never been treated equally or protected equally under the law. This decision changes that. “Three weeks ago, I told my coming out story on the House floor and today I can say confidently to our LGBTQ kids that you matter and who you are will not limit your possibility,” he said. Kenyatta, D-Phila, the first openly gay man of color to serve in the General Assembly in Pennsylvania’s history and a member of the governor’s LGBTQ Affairs Commission, expressed hopefulness that the court’s ruling will further elevate the visibility of LGBTQ Americans to better assess and mitigate their plights. He pointed to a bill he introduced months prior to the U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision that would Read more

 

Police Reform Working Group looks forward to working with Mayor Kenney

(Jun 09, 2020)

The Police Reform Working Group, a collection of elected officials and advocates working to bring accountability and transparency reforms to law enforcement, released the following statement in response to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s commitment to police reform: “To bring about true and meaningful law enforcement reform, we must work together with leaders at all levels of government so the voices of those we represent can be heard and forward-thinking change achieved. We’ve already had several conversations with Mayor Kenney’s administration and those discussions have been promising. We appreciate the mayor’s willingness to listen and believe that his announcement today is the first step in what will be a long, but productive, journey to reform. Read more

 

Kenyatta, colleagues take House chamber to demand action on police reform

(Jun 08, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 8 – At the start of today’s House session, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., and other members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, along with numerous House Democratic colleagues, took control of the speaker’s rostrum to demand action on 19 bills from the House and Senate that would address police reform across the commonwealth. “For 13 days, folks have been protesting in the streets, demanding that we actually do something. Now we are here demanding that you actually do something,” Kenyatta said to House Republican leadership. “You should come up from your seats, come up here and demand that we don’t get to business as usual,” He told his white House colleagues. “That we don’t get the same speeches and lip service. We demand that we get meaningful police reform passed out of the Pennsylvania House. It’s the people’s house, and if we ain’t doing the people’s business, then we ain’t doing business." He expanded on why immediate action is crucial, saying, “We can’t go back to normal. The folks in our districts cannot allow us to come back home and say that we introduced a bill. They need movement. They need movement." Kenyatta’s call-to-action speech is in response to rallies and protests that have swept the nation following the highly publicized death of George Floyd, who was killed Read more

 

Police Reform Working Group releases statement on progress toward reform

(Jun 04, 2020)

The Police Reform Working Group, a collection of elected officials and advocates working to bring accountability and transparency reforms to law enforcement, released the following statement on Gov. Tom Wolf’s adoption today of their request for a state-level deputy inspector general aimed at improving law enforcement conduct, as well as Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s, along with the Fraternal Order of Police’s, support of a confidential database to track complaints against police officers: Read more

 

Philadelphia House Delegation leaders welcome Gov. Wolf’s action on police reform and accountability

(Jun 04, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, June 4 – Leaders of the House Philadelphia Delegation today praised Gov. Tom Wolf for acting on concerns raised by delegation members and Philadelphia public officials. On the heels of public protests in Philadelphia and across the nation following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Wolf today outlined a proposal to improve law enforcement relations with the community and strengthen training and accountability, especially as it relates to institutional racial targeting and discrimination by law enforcement. “Since May 25, the day a bad police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while other bad police officers stood by and did nothing, the nation and world have risen up in protest to say enough is enough and demand change,” said Philadelphia Delegation Chairman Jason Dawkins, D-Phila. “Today, Governor Wolf has set Pennsylvania on a course to making that happen. I thank the governor for hearing our collective voices and working with us to address the concerns of the unheard. I am proud of the work that has been done by the Police Reform Working Group, who started working on these reforms long before Mr. Floyd sadly took his last breath.” The Police Reform Working Group, of which Dawkins is a member, includes state and local elected lawmakers, the chief defender of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, as well as several attorneys. Earlier this week the working group put Read more

 

Kenyatta joins cleanup efforts in wake of citywide protests, reiterates the dire need to address poverty in PA

(Jun 03, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, June 3 – Following the damages to local businesses in the wake of days of protests across Philadelphia, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., along with residents, took to the streets with brooms and trash bags to clean debris and broken glass along business corridors across his 181 st Legislative District in North Philadelphia. Kenyatta expressed solidarity with protestors’ outrage with systemic injustices, raising the dire need for criminal justice and police reform nationwide. He also marveled at neighbors subsequently in helping to repair their communities and discussions of future efforts to rebuild them. “Out of this explosion of emotion has also come an explosion of unity and camaraderie, not to rebuild back to the broken ‘normal’ that brought us here, but to build on higher ground,” Kenyatta said. “People came out with their own brooms and trash bags to help clean business corridors, joined in an effort to right some of the wrongs that scarred our city last night and that have scarred our city for generations.” The legislator, who is a staunch advocate for civil rights, including economic justice, added, “While we must talk about criminal justice and police reform, we can’t forget the core of this is POVERTY. Until we address that, the desperation and hopelessness will continue.” Asserting that poverty is the moral injustice of our time, during the 2019-20 Read more

 

Philadelphia elected officials call for state, local reform of community-police relationships

(Jun 02, 2020)

In the midst of civil unrest across Pennsylvania ignited by the murder of George Floyd, elected officials from Philadelphia introduced a series of much-needed reforms aimed at improving community/police relationships. Read more

 

Philly lawmakers outraged over GOP secrecy in positive COVID-19 case at state Capitol

(May 27, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 27 – State Reps. Jason Dawkins, Malcolm Kenyatta and Elizabeth Fiedler, all leaders of the Philadelphia Delegation in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, today said they were stunned upon learning the news that House Republican leaders kept secret the fact that a state legislator who worked among fellow lawmakers and staff tested positive for COVID-19. State Rep. Andrew Lewis, R-Dauphin, said in a news release today that he tested positive for COVID-19 on May 20 and informed the “House of Representatives” and the Republican Caucus human relations department. Lebanon County Republican Rep. Russ Diamond also said today he was aware of it on May 21. Dawkins said that while Republicans may have been informed of Lewis testing positive for the deadly virus, and while multiple Republican members went into self-quarantine as a result, not a single Democratic lawmaker was informed, including Democratic leadership. “To say I am outraged at this reckless behavior by House Republican leadership is an understatement,” said Dawkins, chairman of the delegation. “Any lawmaker or staff who came in contact with this representative during committee meetings and during House session was put at risk. And, in turn, they may have put their own families at risk. The withholding of this information is a blatant disregard of human life and the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed thousands of Read more

 

Kenyatta continues fight to end LGBTQ+ discrimination across Pa.

(May 21, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 21 – On the sixth anniversary of marriage equality being recognized in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., yesterday gave an impassioned speech in the House chamber urging his lawmaker colleagues to support his legislation that would ban discrimination against LGBTQ+ residents and other minorities. The introduction of this proposal follows a similar amendment that would have outlawed employee discrimination at outdoor sportsman clubs across the state. The measure failed to pass the full House. Kenyatta, who is the first openly gay man of color to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, prefaced his speech with an emotional unprecedented public telling of his coming out story. He later expressed the dire need to pass this necessary measure in working toward a truly equal and accepting commonwealth. “I’ve never publicly talked about my coming out story, but I felt compelled to do it today,” Kenyatta said. “On this sixth anniversary of our state recognizing marriage equality, it is nice to celebrate this milestone, but we must also recognize we still have miles to go in this fight for civil rights and true equality. I will continue demanding an end to discrimination against our LGBTQ+ communities, and I will not stop until we are victorious. I once again fought to convince House Republicans to adopt my measure that would move this commonwealth forward in recognizing Read more

 

Kenyatta: Failure to pass anti-discrimination at sports clubs bill proves Pa. is losing fight for equal rights

(May 20, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 20 – In a statement today, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta said that Pennsylvania’s complacency in allowing discrimination to continue proves that the state has a long way to go in the fight for equal rights. His statement comes after legislation he introduced that would ban outdoor sportsman clubs from discriminating against an employee on the basis of age, race, sex, religion, ethnic origin, economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or disability failed to pass in the full House on Monday. Of his legislation that fell short of a few votes required to pass, Kenyatta, D-Phila, said, “The loophole in making discrimination permissible in sportsman clubs, or any entity, is for them to designate themselves as private. This leverages them the ability to continue to deny these marginalized groups membership and employment opportunities. If passed, my legislation would have served as the catalyst in dismantling discrimination and the suppression of civil rights in not just sportsman clubs, but also in all factions of our commonwealth. Its defeat, however, magnifies how ingrained and normalized discrimination is across our state.” Kenyatta, who is the first openly gay man of color to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, lamented on the reality that despite tirelessly serving residents across the commonwealth, there are parts where he is still unwelcomed. “I am a black openly Read more

 

Kenyatta applauds Wolf’s push for LGBTQ COVID-19 data collection, highlights bill to make ongoing data collecting mandatory

(May 13, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, May 13 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today commended Gov. Tom Wolf’s move to include gender identity, sexual orientation and expression in electronic health records used by health care providers to report COVID-19 data. Praising the governor’s efforts in recognizing that the LGBTQ community has been among the most critically affected groups for the novel coronavirus as progressive, Kenyatta said, “The COVID-19 health crisis has magnified and intensified the many ongoing disparities among our nation’s minority groups, especially as it relates to sexual orientation and gender identity. In our fight to combat these inequities, we must be deliberate in our approach and I applaud Governor Wolf for doing just that by mandating that health care records for testing account for LGBTQ patients receiving quality care.” The freshman legislator, who serves on the governor’s LGBTQ Affairs Commission and is also the first openly gay man of color to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, raised that more must be done to elevate the visibility of LGBTQ residents to better assess and mitigate their plights through ongoing data collections. He pointed to a bill he recently introduced that would require all state forms which collect demographic information to contain a voluntary LGBTQ identifier question for respondents to answer. “The LGBTQ community is a Read more

 

Kenyatta calls for suspension of negative credit reporting during COVID-19 in new bill

(May 12, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 12 – In efforts to mitigate the financial blowback of the pandemic, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today introduced legislation that would prohibit credit reporting agencies from negatively reporting any missed or late payments resulting from financial hardships that have hit so many Pennsylvanians during the COVID-19 disaster emergency. The bill, Kenyatta said, would amend the Credit Reporting Agency Act and suspend negative reporting for 90 days after the disaster declaration is lifted. “Pennsylvanians have had their lives and livelihoods upended in the wake of this pandemic, with some families having endured the temporary lapse of a paycheck, while waiting for federal stimulus money, or for their unemployment compensation to start,” Kenyatta said. “Others, however, have relied on credit cards, or sought unplanned loans from financial institutions, or even borrowed from friends.” Kenyatta said that delinquent payment reports stemming from Pennsylvanians facing financial difficulties stand to mar otherwise decent credit histories and could potentially prevent residents from qualifying for a loan, a mortgage, employment and housing. “My bill would save countless families from this slippery slope of financial ruin and devastation,” he said. “As this economic fallout unfolds, we as lawmakers must do all we can to ensure that those struggling to rebuild their Read more

 

Kenyatta to host ‘Education in the era of COVID-19’ Virtual Town Hall

(May 08, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, May 8 -- State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., will host a Facebook LIVE virtual town hall titled “Education in the Era of COVID-19” from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, May 14. The town hall will examine the topics of state education funding, crisis preparedness, the digital divide, mental health supports and educational disparities. The town hall will include speakers from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Commonwealth Association of School Administrators, Philadelphia Student Union and a member of the state Special Education Advisory Council, Cecelia Thompson . The Philadelphia School District has also been invited. Online viewers will be able to offer live questions and comments during the townhall by attending through Kenyatta’s official legislative Facebook page . “The COVID19 pandemic crisis has changed the way we have been able deliver education to our children,” Kenyatta said. “It has also raised questions about our preparedness and ability to do so in the future in a productive and effective way. We must also deal with those systemic and ongoing socioeconomic challenges in education that have been exacerbated by this crisis.” Kenyatta, a graduate of Philadelphia public schools said, “I look forward to hearing from our informed guests on the many issues around schooling and education in the era of COVID-19.” Read more

 

Kenyatta applauds Wolf’s rent and mortgage suspension, calls for lengthier freeze

(May 08, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, May 8 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today applauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s executive order that halts foreclosures and evictions until July 10, but also announced he is drafting legislation that would extend the freeze for an additional six months. Kenyatta praised Wolf’s order, calling it a great start in ensuring that Pennsylvanians will not lose their homes during the pandemic. However, with the July 10 grace-period ending just two months from now, Kenyatta said that assurance is only short-lived. Kenyatta said the economic shockwave stemming from the pandemic will outlast the order’s two-month provision. “Pennsylvanians who have been unemployed will be fiscally stunted, and realistically, the timeframe for many to gradually recoup their finances after months of lacking steady income will surpass July. It could easily go on until the end of the year,” he said. Kenyatta called for a lengthier mortgage and rent payment freeze to allow for Pennsylvanians to financially rehabilitate. “As lawmakers, we can’t allow renters and homeowners to relive the fears and dread of homelessness. We can’t allow those struggling to rebuild their lives to be casted into a downward spiral of financial ruin because they missed mortgage or rent payments out of desperation,” he said. “This incredibly trying time has upended countless lives in various ways, Read more

 

Kenyatta: I proudly stand with Temple Allied Healthcare Professionals Union, all workers

(May 01, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, May 1 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., expressed his support for the Temple Allied Healthcare Professionals Union striking today in front of Temple University Hospital, located in Kenyatta’s 181 st Legislative District, to demand hazard pay, personal protective equipment and testing availability: “In every period in history, the labor movement has been a paramount force in dismantling systems of oppression and guaranteeing rights and protections for American workers. In the wake of this pandemic, labor is once again demonstrating that reputation,” Kenyatta said. “I stand in solidarity with Temple University Hospital workers, who have been fiercely fighting on the frontlines of this pandemic. These people have gone above and beyond in ensuring our communities receive exceptional care in sanitized environments, all the while putting themselves, and their families, at risk. It is time to give them what they are owed!” Kenyatta stressed that there is power in numbers in the efforts to make the demands of striking workers concrete, saying, “We can be victorious in this fight if we band together as a collective in thwarting this capitalistic system that grossly and consistently prioritizes profits over lives. In Harrisburg, I have been fighting for many of the provisions the union is demanding today for all workers across Pennsylvania on the frontlines of this crisis. As lawmakers, we also Read more

 

Kenyatta: I Want Everyone to Return to Work, but when it's Safe

(Apr 22, 2020)

State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta voted against legislation that would move towards ending COVID-19 mitigation efforts in the commonwealth before it’s safe, tie Gov. Tom Wolfs hands and create unnecessary health risks for Pennsylvanians. Read more

 

Reps. Kenyatta, Burgos and Fiedler urge Congress to include undocumented workers in any COVID-19 response legislation

(Apr 17, 2020)

HARRISBURG, April 17 – State Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, Danilo Burgos and Elizabeth Fiedler, all D-Phila., introduced a resolution urging Congress to also acknowledge the roughly 10 million undocumented workers in any COVID-19 financial response legislation. The resolution comes as the federal government issues portions of the historic $2 trillion financial assistance package to individuals and businesses to help mitigate the adverse economic impacts resulting from the pandemic. “There are roughly over 10 million undocumented people living in America paying billions of dollars in state and federal taxes yearly, yet many will never benefit from the services they constantly contribute to,” said Kenyatta, who represents the 181 st Legislative District. “In this time of desperation, our government should not be complicit in watching this vulnerable population that has time and again proven themselves to be a pillar of America’s economy continue to suffer.” Burgos, representing the 197 th District, concurred with Kenyatta saying, “Undocumented immigrants consistently pay about 8 percent of their income in taxes, a sizeable percentage for many who are relegated to working low-paying jobs with no benefits. These workers produce many of the essential goods we heavily rely on, even more so during this pandemic, yet they receive nothing for their labor.” Adding to Burgos’ assertion, Read more

 

Kenyatta announces Environmental Education Grant for The U School
Jun 26, 2020

Kenyatta applauds historic passage of police reform bills
Jun 24, 2020

Kenyatta presents first check from his newly launched microgrant program for businesses impacted by civil unrest
Jun 16, 2020

Kenyatta calls US Supreme Court ruling a major victory for civil rights in America
Jun 16, 2020

Police Reform Working Group looks forward to working with Mayor Kenney
Jun 09, 2020

Kenyatta, colleagues take House chamber to demand action on police reform
Jun 08, 2020

Police Reform Working Group releases statement on progress toward reform
Jun 04, 2020

Philadelphia House Delegation leaders welcome Gov. Wolf’s action on police reform and accountability
Jun 04, 2020

Kenyatta joins cleanup efforts in wake of citywide protests, reiterates the dire need to address poverty in PA
Jun 03, 2020

Philadelphia elected officials call for state, local reform of community-police relationships
Jun 02, 2020

Philly lawmakers outraged over GOP secrecy in positive COVID-19 case at state Capitol
May 27, 2020

Kenyatta continues fight to end LGBTQ+ discrimination across Pa.
May 21, 2020

Kenyatta: Failure to pass anti-discrimination at sports clubs bill proves Pa. is losing fight for equal rights
May 20, 2020

Kenyatta applauds Wolf’s push for LGBTQ COVID-19 data collection, highlights bill to make ongoing data collecting mandatory
May 13, 2020

Kenyatta calls for suspension of negative credit reporting during COVID-19 in new bill
May 12, 2020

Kenyatta to host ‘Education in the era of COVID-19’ Virtual Town Hall
May 08, 2020

Kenyatta applauds Wolf’s rent and mortgage suspension, calls for lengthier freeze
May 08, 2020

Kenyatta: I proudly stand with Temple Allied Healthcare Professionals Union, all workers
May 01, 2020

Kenyatta: I Want Everyone to Return to Work, but when it's Safe
Apr 22, 2020

Reps. Kenyatta, Burgos and Fiedler urge Congress to include undocumented workers in any COVID-19 response legislation
Apr 17, 2020