The House Democratic Housing Working Group announced a package of bills to protect people across Pennsylvania as the state’s moratorium on evictions and foreclosures expires Read more
The Police Reform Working Group, a collection of local and state elected officials and advocates, issued the following statement in response to a Pennsylvania House Republican Policy Committee hearing on law enforcement interactions with the community:“We appreciate the House Republican Policy Committee shining a light on how law enforcement interacts with communities around the state. This is a necessary discussion that is long overdue and it’s encouraging to hear presenters today acknowledge that police reform is necessary. Read more
HARRISBURGH, July 23 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta condemned the Bloomsburg Fair mocking state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine and pointed out that the transphobic remarks relay to ongoing violence against trans people. “Dr. Levine is an exemplary public servant as she continues to lead our commonwealth through these uncertain times in a dignified manner. Those pivoting to transphobic slandering to undermine her leadership, which has proven to save lives, reveal a deep seeded and ugly hatred against the trans community. “These so-called jokes at the expense of trans identities invalidates the humanity of trans people and greenlights depraving violence against them. That violence has been often been directed at trans women, and even more often, specifically Black transwomen. Transphobia coupled with misogynoir has resulted in the brutal slaughtering of six Black transwomen nationwide in the span of a few months -- one of which happened right here in our commonwealth in my hometown of Philadelphia. “These latest murders are why we must actively condemn transphobia in every form, including ‘jokes’ at fairs. We must also hold perpetrators of hatred accountable to convey the message that Pennsylvania will not tolerate hatred!” Kenyatta, D-Phila., is the first openly gay man of color in Pennsylvania history serve in the General Assembly. He has been a staunch advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and Read more
HARRISBURG, July 23 – This week, state Reps. Stephen Kinsey, Jordan Harris, and Malcolm Kenyatta, all D-Phila., announced they will be introducing a resolution honoring Congressman John Lewis, who died on July 17. “Congressman Lewis was an integral part of the Civil Rights movement and a leading voice in the advancement of economic and social justice. His life was devoted to activism and advocacy for equal justice in America, and his actions have inspired so many today,” Kinsey said. “The next generation of leaders will continue to follow his legacy and help us achieve the equality that Congressman Lewis pictured.” “Congressman John Lewis was truly a giant of the Civil Rights movement and, beyond that, a moral compass in the United States House of Representatives,” Harris said. “Few have been able to have such a profound effect on the centuries-long struggle for equality and dignity for our Black and brown communities, but Congressman Lewis was a beacon of hope and righteousness that shined through very dark clouds in our nation’s history. It’s an honor to be fraternity brothers with Congressman Lewis in Phi Beta Sigma, and we will ensure his legacy will not be forgotten and, instead, will continue to energize and mobilize generation after generation that will carry on the mantle of this fight.” "The life and service of John Lewis was immensely influential in my own Read more
Proposed change would level the playing field between local businesses and online retailer Read more
HARRISBURGH, July 17 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta said his fight to guarantee Pennsylvanians working on the frontlines during the fatal COVID-19 pandemic are afforded increased wages has finally been accomplished with Gov. Tom Wolf recently announcing the availability of $50 million in grant funding to help employers provide hazard pay to employees in life-sustaining occupations. Kenyatta, D-Phila., called the program a sincere expression of appreciation for the sacrifices of frontline employees, and an overall win for workers’ rights. “I am proud of Governor Wolf’s support in our demands to prioritize Pennsylvania frontline workers in any mitigation efforts during this crisis,” Kenyatta said. “It is their labor that has sustained countless communities across our commonwealth throughout the pandemic. Providing this funding for hazard pay transcends the hollow ‘thank you,’ and explicitly demonstrates our appreciation for their service by guaranteeing that they are properly compensated.” From the start of this crisis, Kenyatta boasts a solid track record of championing protections for the rights and safety of Pennsylvania’s essential workers. In May, the lawmaker stood in solidarity with Temple health care workers on the picket line in his district. Last month, in a video that has since gone viral , Kenyatta challenged booing Republicans in the House chamber about Read more
In response to Vice President Mike Pence visiting with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5, the Police Reform Working Group, made up of state and county elected officials and advocates, released the following statement:“As members of the Police Reform Working Group, we believe that the path to achieving community safety and racial justice in Pennsylvania must be two-fold. First, we must improve our current system of policing through accountability, oversight, and tangible policy changes that will diminish instances of police brutality against all citizens, but especially against the Black community. Second, we must work with communities to transform and re-envision policing itself through bold systemic changes that center around those most impacted by police violence and structural racism. Read more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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, 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
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
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
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
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