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PLBC Fall 2022 newsletter

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Black History Month recognized in Pennsylvania this February

(Jan 25, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 25 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus have sponsored a resolution recognizing February 2023 as Black History Month in the commonwealth, according to state Rep. Donna Bullock, chair of the PLBC. The Black History Month theme this year is “Black Resistance,” acknowledging that Black Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms and police killings. “From slave revolts to the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter, Black Americans have consistently fought for freedom, democracy and the very soul of this country,” said Bullock, D-Phila., who is a prime sponsor of the measure. “That fight meant resisting white supremacy, resisting police and racial violence, and resisting oppressive legislation and policy. During our 50th anniversary, the PLBC will continue our work to advance anti-racist and restorative legislation and equitable state investments that will improve the lives of Black Pennsylvanians.” Other prime sponsors of the bill are state Reps. Napoleon Nelson, D-Montgomery; Darisha Parker, D-Phila., and Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster. “The resistance is a part of who we are everyday in this country,” said Parker, who serves as PLBC secretary. “Until we know there is equity, equality and justice in public and private policy, institutions and in the eyes of every American, Read more

PLBC statement on police incident in Lower Merion

(Jan 10, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 10 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus has released a statement on a police incident in Lower Merion Township. “A disturbing video showing Lower Merion police pulling over a Black female motorist has surfaced and is being investigated by the department. The police interaction with the woman is disturbing but unfortunately not rare. Pulled over in a customer parking lot, the driver is heard asking for a supervisor before exiting the car. The situation quickly escalates, and she is dragged from the car at gunpoint, tased, handcuffed on the ground with her shirt over her head and taken to a waiting police vehicle with her upper body exposed. “The PLBC has been working on legislation to curb police violence during traffic stops, such as reducing pretextual traffic stops and tracking racial profiling and related disparities. Black drivers are more likely to be asked to step out of the car, more likely to have their car searched, more likely to be given a citation or violation, more likely to be detained and, unfortunately, more likely to have a violent encounter with the police as seen in this video. “We have for years been calling for training and diversity in departments so the officers who patrol the streets look more like the residents who live there, shoring up better police community relations and a sense of protection by police rather than harassment. “We have for years been working to hold law enforcement Read more

PLBC, Women’s Health Caucus create joint Subcommittee on Women and Girls of Color

(Jan 09, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 9 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and the Women’s Health Caucus have created a joint Subcommittee on Women and Girls of Color, which will bolster their legislative efforts, according to PLBC Chair Donna Bullock. The subcommittee chair is state Rep. La’Tasha D. Mayes, D-Allegheny. “It just makes more sense for us to combine the work of this subcommittee and the Women’s Health Caucus since there is so much crossover on issues,” said Bullock, D-Phila. “ Representative Mayes is the right person to lead this joint committee because of her experience as a champion for reproductive rights, maternal health and other issues important to Black women. I’m looking forward to the work we can tackle in the new legislative session with this reinforced legislative body.” “I’m honored to be named the chair of this joint subcommittee and am looking forward to working with my colleagues on the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and Women’s Health Caucus to help drive legislation that will have a transformative impact on the lives of women, girls and gender-expansive people of color across our commonwealth,” Mayes said. “With a new legislative session ahead of us, I am excited by this opportunity that continues my decades of work advocating for state policy and fighting for a just and equitable future toward a Read more

PLBC installs officers for 2023-24 session

(Jan 05, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 5 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus this week officially installed officers to serve in the 2023-24 legislative session in a virtual ceremony that included guests Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, former PLBC members Pennsylvania Lt. Gov.-elect Austin Davis and U.S. Rep.-elect Summer Lee, and other dignitaries, PLBC members and former members. Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania Judge Lori Dumas administered the oath of office. The following members were installed as officers: Chairwoman, Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila. Vice Chairman, Rep. Napoleon Nelson, D-Montgomery Secretary, Rep. Darisha Parker, D-Phila. Treasurer, Rep. Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster In her remarks as the returning chair of PLBC, Bullock recognized the 50 years since the organization was formed in the legislature. “This is a moment 50 years in the making,” she said. “We are sending folks to Congress, the lieutenant governor's office, all over this country to continue the good work that we do here in the General Assembly. Two years before the PLBC was formally formed, Black members met in secret. We are not meeting in the shadows anymore. We are doing the work. We are getting the job done. This year, with the largest and the most diverse PLBC membership in our commonwealth’s history, we represent Black, Latino and Asian communities across the commonwealth. While we center our policies on Black Pennsylvanians, we acknowledge Read more

Rep.-Elect Anthony Bellmon joins PA Safe Caucus as co-chair

(Dec 15, 2022)

Vows to work to prevent gun violence and provide services to those affected by it Read more

PLBC statement on passing of former state Sen. Milton Street

(Nov 28, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 28 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus acknowledges the passing of one of its members, former state Sen. T. Milton Street Sr. of Philadelphia. Street was the brother of former Philadelphia Mayor John Street and uncle to current state Sen. Sharif Street. “The PLBC sends its most heartfelt condolences to the Street family on the passing of Senator Milton Street. He came from humble beginnings and was an entrepreneur who worked hard to have a successful business and advocate for similar businesses, ultimately taking him to the state’s General Assembly. After his time in the state Senate, he built his businesses, working tirelessly and serving as a pillar in the community. He made himself available as a mentor and as a friend to many. He will be missed.” Read more

PLBC installs officers for 2023-24 session

(Nov 17, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 17 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus this week installed officers to serve in the 2023-24 legislative session, according to Chairwoman Donna Bullock, D-Phila. “Officer selection is our first step in making sure the importance of our voices is heard in Harrisburg and across the commonwealth at what is a very critical time in Pennsylvania and this country,” Bullock said. “I feel confident that as a body we will have success in moving legislation that addresses the issues important to us, and we will work to that end with intention and purpose -- fighting for equity, inclusion and fairness.” The following members were installed as officers: Chairwoman, Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila. Vice Chairman, Rep. Napoleon Nelson, D-Montgomery Secretary, Rep. Darisha Parker, D-Phila. Treasurer, Rep. Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster Established as an official caucus in 1973, the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus was formed to empower Black legislators and to serve as an information and advocacy vehicle to advance the interests of Black, Latino and other Pennsylvanians of color. Many of the original members were afraid to meet in an open forum and had previously met in secret to establish a shared legislative agenda. Read more

PLBC: Penn State antiracism decisions move needle backward

(Nov 15, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 15 –The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus issued the following statement today calling on Penn State University President Neeli Bendapudi and university officials to recommit to and invest in the university’s racial justice efforts. “Many of us were encouraged by the university’s decision in 2020 to establish the Center for Racial Justice only to learn with great disappointment that those plans were recently sidelined due to budgetary concerns. The fact that this decision was made just days after a founder of the Proud Boys was scheduled to speak at the university is even more troubling. “The university’s recent actions appear to undermine, dilute and divert from the racial and social justice initiatives championed by professors, administrators and students on campus in recent years. At a minimum, the decisions have caused great division on campus. We strongly urge university officials to work with the more than 400 professors and lecturers who have signed onto a recent letter regarding these decisions and the diverse student body who deserve a welcoming campus. Together, we believe Penn State can foster an environment that invites diversity, believes in equity and implements systems for real inclusion. “As the flagship university in our commonwealth, we expect nothing less.” Read more

Bullock, Curry highlight issue of student homelessness

(Nov 15, 2022)

HARRISBURG, NOV. 15 – State Reps. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., and Gina Curry, D-Delaware, held a news conference Monday to mark Student Homelessness Awareness Week and educate the public about the prevalence of students experiencing homelessness in Pennsylvania. In the 2020-21 school year, 32,666 students in Pennsylvania schools were homeless or living without adequate housing. “It’s unacceptable that more than 32,000 of our students have recently experienced homelessness or have dealt with inadequate housing. While that number represents a decrease from previous years, it’s still too high,” Bullock said. “We want residents of the commonwealth to recognize that education provides stability and support to youth experiencing homelessness and is a key to preventing future homelessness. We need to do everything we can to support education and our students.” Out of 786 local education agencies in Pennsylvania, 713 are receiving McKinney-Vento subgrants to abate the challenges in their communities. The McKinney-Vento Act states that an individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence is considered homeless. Identifying homelessness can be difficult. According to experts, families experiencing homelessness often keep their situation and circumstances hidden from friends, program staff and others. Many families say that they worry about being judged or are fearful of child welfare involvement. Read more

Abney, Bullock lead PLBC voting rights roundtable

(Oct 27, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 27 – Yesterday at the Capitol, Reps. Aerion A. Abney, D-Allegheny, and Donna Bullock, D-Philadelphia, conducted a voting rights roundtable, joined by members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh M. Chapman. The goal of the discussion was to address items that individuals need to be aware of when voting, including providing details about mail-in and absentee ballots. “Folks that are in this room and have access to the information need to make sure they don’t keep it internal,” Abney said. “We need to be pushing this information back out into our communities.” “Today, we hope to have more conversation about the parameters of voting in Pennsylvania,” added Bullock, chair of the PLBC. “As we go back to our respective communities, remind folks how important their vote is.” A recording of the roundtable in its entirety can be viewed here . Read more