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PLBC Chairwoman Donna Bullock Remarks on Somber Anniversary

Testifiers detail need to develop diversity in education workforce

(18 hours ago)

“Teachers enable a pathway to a greater future for all our young people,” said hearing host state Rep. Regina Young, who represents portions of Philadelphia. “It was great to hear from the panelists supporting the need for more Black teachers and supporting people of color to become teachers, but it was inspiring to see so many young people in the room who could become the teachers for the next generation. Speaking from my own experience, it’s necessary for students to make that connection with the teachers and mentors who see more in you than you see in yourself.” Read more

 

Philadelphia House Delegation reacts to passing of former Rep. James Roebuck

(May 16, 2024)

Chairwoman of the Philadelphia House Delegation Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., released the following statement on behalf of the delegation on the passing of former state Rep. James Roebuck, who represented the 188th Legislative District in West Philadelphia from 1985-2020. Read more

 

Roebuck’s death mourned by members of Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus

(May 16, 2024)

HARRISBURG, May 16 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released the following statements regarding the passing of former PLBC Chair James R. Roebuck: Said PLBC Chair Napoleon Nelson (D-Montgomery): “James R. Roebuck was a true statesman, a lawmaker who was a tireless advocate for his West Philadelphia neighbors and for every resident of this Commonwealth. “His legacy, particularly as a champion of our education system and the young people that he poured his soul into, will undoubtedly leave its mark on our society for generations. His long-lasting tenure as the Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee perfectly embodied our caucus’s approach to lifelong learning. It is heartening to see his life being celebrated by colleagues and community leaders throughout Pennsylvania. In 2021, the PA Legislative Black Caucus renamed our student scholarship in his honor. Nearly two dozen high school students from Black and brown communities from across the state will be awarded an investment in their continued academic pursuits in the coming week, a fitting testament to the inspiring work of Chairman Roebuck. “His impact as a pioneer, mentor and friend within the PA Legislative Black Caucus will undoubtedly be remembered and cherished. We have lost a true thought leader, a shining example of servant leadership that current and future members will surely aspire to. Our Read more

 

House Education Committee hearing focuses on financial support, resources for historically black colleges and universities

(May 03, 2024)

HARRISBURG, May 2 – The Pennsylvania House Education Committee and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus teamed up for a joint hearing Thursday afternoon to discuss financial support and initiatives for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. State Rep. Peter Schweyer (D-Lehigh), Majority Chairman of the House Education Committee, co-hosted the hearing with state Rep. Napoleon Nelson (D-Montgomery), Chairman of the PLBC at the John Miller Dickey Hall at Lincoln University. The hearing featured more than a dozen testifiers across three panels, who discussed the impacts and necessity for state funding to support the students attending HBCUs. “Investments in higher education can literally be life-changing for many students and that is especially true for those in low-income communities,” said Schweyer. “Lincoln and Cheyney Universities not only provide safe learning environments and paths to success for students, but they are also part of Pennsylvania’s and the country’s history and we need to ensure they continue their mission for generations of students to come.” The hearing also featured testimony from Dr. Brenda A. Allen, President of Lincoln University, Aaron Walton, President of Cheyney University, as well as faculty members and students from both institutions to provide testimony on how these schools have been and continue to prepare students to learn, liberate and lead. “As the nation’s Read more

 

Kenyatta bill to convey New Freedom Theatre back to organization clears PA House

(Apr 09, 2024)

HARRISBURG, April 9 – After more than 30 years under state conservatorship the New Freedom Theatre is a step closer to being returned to the care of its parent organization thanks to legislation authored by state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., and passed by the PA House today. Kenyatta’s bill ( H.B. 1518 ) would authorize the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to grant and convey the tract of land that contains the iconic New Freedom Theatre in North Philadelphia to New Freedom Theatre Inc. for $1. According to Kenyatta, the theater that started in a North Philadelphia storefront with the support of the Black People’s Unity Movement in the mid-1960s has worked to chronicle African American History in the performing arts with playwrights and artists including Erika Alexander, James Baldwin, Denzel Washington, August Wilson, Sonia Sanchez, Grover Washington, Jr. and Glynn Turman. It also has provided professional theatrical training to tens of thousands of students over the years. “The New Freedom Theatre is a cultural treasure in the 181st District and the city of Philadelphia. Its deep history and future potential give us hope,” Kenyatta said. “As the theater continues to stand strong in its status as a bastion of Black culture in Philadelphia, its site has preservation needs that come with any structure built in the 1800s. The organization is working to preserve the site’s history so Read more

 

PLBC proposes legislation to help with fair housing

(Apr 09, 2024)

HARRISBURG, April 9 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus spoke at a news conference today regarding legislation that would create a fairer housing market. April serves as National Fair Housing Month, bringing awareness and advocating policy for individuals that have been discriminated against and wrongfully evicted, and educating residents on their housing rights and the resources available to them. House Bill 96 , introduced by state Rep. Donna Bullock, would prohibit landlords from inquiring or requiring disclosure about certain arrest records of potential tenants as a condition of a lease. “In Pennsylvania, a person can be denied a rental property based off a conviction or even just an arrest — it doesn’t matter if it was years ago or even decades ago. Many times, individuals who are denied a lease were never convicted, completed a deferred judgement or have long since turned their life around. And when landlords use this tactic, it’s overwhelmingly used to be discriminatory toward Black and brown Pennsylvanians,” Bullock said. “We must pass legislation that prohibits landlords from inquiring or requiring disclosure of certain arrest records — such as juvenile records, arrests with no conviction, convictions older than seven years and convictions that aren’t felonies or misdemeanors — as a condition of a lease. Housing Read more

 

Mayes honored with PLBC’s Crystal Bird Fauset Award

(Apr 04, 2024)

“As the first Black woman to represent the 24th Legislative District, I aspire to continue the legacy of former state Representative Fauset and I am especially honored to be recognized by my peers for my leadership in the Pennsylvania Black Maternal Health Caucus,” Mayes said. “While Representative Fauset served in the House, she advocated for Black Pennsylvanians, especially to make housing more affordable for Black communities in Philadelphia, health care more accessible, and women’s rights in labor." Read more

 

PLBC honors five with Crystal Bird Fauset Leadership Awards

(Mar 28, 2024)

NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus www.pahouse.com/PLBC PLBC honors five with Crystal Bird Fauset Leadership Awards HARRISBURG, March 28 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus honored five individuals with its Crystal Bird Fauset Leadership Awards today in the Capitol. This year’s awardees are: The Hon. Cherelle Parker , the first African-American woman mayor of Philadelphia. The Hon. Tamika Lane , judge of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Black Maternal Health Caucus founders State Rep. Gina Curry , 164th Legislative District, Delaware County. State Rep. La’Tasha D. Mayes , 24th Legislative District, Allegheny County. State Rep. Morgan Cephas , 192nd, Legislative District, Philadelphia County. A native of Philadelphia’s Mt Airy neighborhood, Parker is a graduate of Lincoln University. In 2005 she became the youngest Black woman ever elected to the General Assembly, winning a seat in the House. She was first elected to Philadelphia City Council in 2015, and was elected majority leader in 2020. In 2023 she was elected mayor and was sworn in as Philadelphia’s 100 th mayor in January. Read more

 

Smith-Wade-El, Bullock hold news conference on youth homelessness

(Mar 27, 2024)

HARRISBURG, March 27 – State Rep. Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster, was joined by state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., and community stakeholders in a Capitol news conference yesterday to call for an increase in the 2024-2025 budget to address the upcoming shortfall in supports for homeless youth in Pennsylvania. “Today, there are over 40,000 students without housing in our state, struggling to go to school and learn despite not having a home of their own,” Smith-Wade-El said. “Though our school districts have been able to provide some needed support thanks to the American Rescue Plan for Homeless Children and Youth, they will no longer be able to do so when this aid runs out January 31st, 2025. With evictions still on the rise since the COVID pandemic and affordable housing at a minimum, we should be doing everything we can to provide support to this vulnerable population, but right now there are no plans to make up for this shortfall in the proposed 2024-2025 budget. “I am calling on the state to step up and ensure that these vulnerable members of our society get the supports they need to feel safe and secure so they can succeed in school in the 2024-2025 state budget,” Smith-Wade-El said. “If we do not do this, I promise you that Pennsylvania will be plagued for years to come from the effects of our abandonment of these kids.” “Housing insecurity knows no boundaries. It spans rural townships and cities and Read more

 

Kinsey voter intimidation penalties bill approved by Judiciary Committee

(Mar 26, 2024)

HARRISBURG, March 26 – Today, the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee approved legislation ( H.B. 461 ) introduced by state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., that would provide enhanced penalties for individuals who intimidate others at a polling place. Pennsylvania law makes polling place intimidation a criminal offense that can lead to a misdemeanor or felony conviction, depending on the circumstances. In addition to requiring a higher burden of proof and a burdensome amount of time and money, a criminal conviction may not lead to the restoration of justice for the person whose right to vote has been violated. Kinsey’s bill would allow a person aggrieved by an individual convicted of polling place intimidation to bring civil action and recover punitive damages, reasonable attorney fees, and other legal costs. “Voting is a fundamental right all Americans have, and when folks go to a polling place to make their voice heard, they deserve to do so in peace without being harassed,” Kinsey said. “This legislation would bring justice to those who try to intimidate, harass, or bother others at the polls.” This legislation now moves to the full House for future consideration. Read more

 

Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, House Philadelphia Delegation, LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus release statement on Pennsylvania State Police traffic stop and arrest

(Mar 05, 2024)

PHILADELPHIA, March 5 – Leaders of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus and Philadelphia House Delegation today issued a statement in response to the traffic stop and subsequent arrest of Philadelphia’s head of LGBT affairs and her husband by a state trooper Saturday. According to news reports, Celena Morrison, the executive director of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs, recorded a portion of the arrest of her husband, Darius McLean, on the Vine Street Expressway. State Reps. Napoleon Nelson, chair of the PLBC, Malcolm Kenyatta, co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, and Morgan Cephas, chair of the Philadelphia House Delegation, said they have been in contact with state and local authorities surrounding the incident. “The video of the traffic stop of Celena Morrison and Darius McLean was deeply troubling,” stated Kenyatta, D-Phila. “We need a full, thorough, and expedient investigation into every aspect of this stop.” “My sympathies go out to the family dealing with the trauma of this incident, and I stand in solidarity with the communities that have experienced their own traumas as a result,” Nelson, D-Montgomery, said. “The investigation that we are expecting will help us determine accountability measures needed and identify necessary policy changes that we can craft at the state level that will enhance community safety at home. Those changes may come in the Read more

 

PLBC supports Cheney University community in accreditation fight

(Feb 23, 2024)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 23 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today stood with Cheney University officials, the student community, Gov. Josh Shapiro and others at a rally in support of efforts to remove the nation’s first historically Black college from probation in its accreditation. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education recently placed Cheyney on probation and gave university officials until March 1 to submit a plan that maps out how they plan to continue educating students should they fully lose their accreditation. The event acted both as a celebration of the university’s 187 th anniversary and a rally to fight back against what they consider unfair and groundless treatment by MSCHE. Rep. Napoleon Nelson, PLBC chairman, and Sen. Vince Hughes, who previously chaired the PLBC and is now the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a Cheyney University Trustee, both offered remarks. PLBC members Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, and Rep. Carol Kazeem, D-Delaware, joined Nelson and Hughes on behalf of the caucus. According to university officials who also spoke at the event, MSCHE auditors made multiple on-site evaluations at the university last year and offered them a clean bill of health. So it was a complete surprise to them to be placed on probation and threatened with losing their accreditation. “Cheyney University is the nation’s oldest Historically Black Read more

 

Applications open for PLBC’s Roebuck Scholarship

(Jan 29, 2024)

NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus www.pahouse.com/PLBC Applications open for PLBC’s Roebuck Scholarship HARRISBURG, Jan. 29 – Applications are now being accepted for the 2024-25 James R. Roebuck Scholarship by the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Foundation. This prestigious scholarship was named after the Hon. James R. Roebuck, former member of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and champion for education. Roebuck served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1985-2020 and served as chair of both the House Education Committee and the PLBC. The $1,000 scholarship is funded by private donations and does not use any taxpayer or other public dollars. To be eligible an applicants must be a: Resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Person of color. Graduating high school senior or current undergraduate college student. The application deadline is 5 p.m., Friday, April 5. Applicants are responsible for submitting all material to the PLBC on time. Incomplete applications will not be evaluated. Applications will be reviewed and scored by the scholarship committee. Successful applicants will receive the scholarship for educational Read more

 

Rep. Nelson’s measure to curb hate crimes passes PA House

(Nov 01, 2023)

NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE State Rep. Napoleon Nelson D-Montgomery County www.pahouse.com/ N elson Rep. Nelson’s measure to curb hate crimes passes PA House House Bill 1025 is part of larger package of bills designed to address hate crimes HARRISBURG, Oct. 31 – State Rep. Napoleon Nelson’s bill that would address hate crimes and help prevent them passed the PA House of Representatives Tuesday. House Bill 1025 is designed to train educators and school administrators to identify and address hate incidents before they become deadly. It would also expand existing anonymous reporting programs in K-12 schools and institutions of higher education to allow young people to easily speak up when they are the victims of or witnesses to incidences of hate-based intimidation. The legislation is part of a larger package of bills intended to modernize PA’s laws that address hate crimes and ethnic intimidation, The package includes H.B. 1024 , H.B. 1026 and H.B. 1027 . Those three bills were also passed by the PA House and, along with H.B. 1025, head to the state Senate for consideration. “Look at the headlines about what’s happening at our colleges, and you’ll see why kids don’t feel safe on campus Read more

 

Pa. lawmakers launch Black Maternal Health Caucus to combat ‘alarming’ maternal mortality rates

(Oct 20, 2023)

Three state lawmakers announced this week the creation of the Black Maternal Health Caucus in an effort to find legislative solutions to Pennsylvania’s high rates of Black maternal mortality and morbidity. Read more

 

PLBC honors former chair Bullock

(Oct 19, 2023)

NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus www.pahouse.com/PLBC PLBC honors former chair Bullock HARRISBURG, Oct. 18 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today honored its former chair – state Rep. Donna Bullock, D–Phila. Bullock stepped down as chair earlier this month to focus on her work chairing the House Children and Youth Committee. Bullock guided many PLBC initiatives, including the annual Crystal Bird Fauset Awards, honoring women within state government and Speaker K. Leroy Irvis Day of Action, where business owners, public officials and organizations gather to discuss, learn, and network legislative bills, community concerns and visit the Capitol Complex. “I would like to thank my colleagues for putting their trust and faith in me when they elected me to serve as chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. I worked hard every day to ensure that their trust was well founded,” Bullock said. “Every moment was an honor and a pleasure. And it was endlessly fulfilling to be able to advocate for the people, places and spaces that make up Black Pennsylvania. “As I take on new challenges and opportunities, I will continue to advocate every day and in every way for the Read more

 

Smith-Wade-El secures $872K to replace lead service lines in City of Lancaster

(Oct 18, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 18 – State Rep. Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster, secured $872,340 in grant and loan funding from Pennvest to replace 27 lead service lines in the City of Lancaster’s Jewels neighborhood. “Thanks to this money, 27 homes in the Jewels neighborhood will now have lead-free drinking water,” Smith-Wade-El said. “We’ve got to do everything we can to replace lead pipes as lead exposure is a public health hazard, causing developmental effects in fetuses, infants, and young children. This money will also ensure that the water delivery infrastructure is safe and performs reliably.” According to Smith-Wade-El, these line replacements will be prioritized by the city's selection model and user fees are not expected to increase because of the replacement project. Inquiries about this grant can be directed to Smith-Wade-El office at 717-283-4218. Read more

 

Cephas, Curry, Mayes launch Pennsylvania Black Maternal Health Caucus

(Oct 18, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 17 – State Reps. Morgan Cephas , D-Phila.; Gina H. Curry , D-Delaware; and La’Tasha D. Mayes , D-Allegheny, today launched the Pennsylvania Black Maternal Health Caucus at a news conference in the Capitol Media Center. Joining the launch event were advocates from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Community Health Workers and AmeriHealth Caritas/Keystone First, along with a series of other stakeholders from across the state. The Pennsylvania Black Maternal Health Caucus seeks to address disturbing trends of Black maternal mortality and morbidity and pass the Pennsylvania MOMNIBUS, a legislative package modeled after the federal MOMNIBUS legislation to change the trajectory of maternal health outcomes in Pennsylvania. “I am thrilled to be a part of the Black Maternal Health Caucus as this is a subject close to my heart, a cause that I have been championing for years,” Cephas said. “We join forces to bring visibility to Black maternal health as a critical issue and cause of action. We want to advance legislation and solutions by working with our colleagues in both the House and Senate. One of the keys focuses of our work will be proper data collection, as initiated with Act 5 of 2023 signed into law by Governor Josh Shapiro. Accurate and regular tracking is essential for comprehensive research on medical issues linked to Black maternal health. We need Read more

 

Smith-Wade-El and Hohenstein introduce legislation to create Office of New Pennsylvanians

(Oct 17, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 17 – State Reps. Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster, and Joe Hohenstein, D-Philadelphia, today outlined their new legislation, House Bill 1630 , that would create an Office of New Pennsylvanians to support, attract and retain immigrants in the commonwealth. The lawmakers were joined by representatives from CASA, Church World Services, Lancaster City Council, IU13 Lancaster-Lebanon Refugee Center and Nationalities Service Center–Philadelphia at a Capitol news conference to discuss the bill. “Immigrants have made Pennsylvania the powerhouse it is,” Smith-Wade-El said. “Yet, despite foreign-born workers comprising over 8% of our state’s workforce and paying $3.3 billion yearly in state and local taxes, they are scapegoated and bear the brunt of punitive policies that drive them from our state. We’re the ones who lose out the most—at the expense of losing skilled workers, entrepreneurs, consumers, and community leaders. “Our bill would create an Office of New Pennsylvanians that would support, attract and retain immigrants in the commonwealth,” he said. “Immigration is what makes Pennsylvania strong,” Hohenstein said. “Our collective ability to come together from all different backgrounds and perspectives for the betterment of the commonwealth is truly wonderful. That’s why it’s particularly unfortunate that so often our immigrant communities face the brunt Read more

 

PLBC welcomes National Council of Negro Women

(Oct 16, 2023)

NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus www.pahouse.com/PLBC PLBC welcomes National Council of Negro Women HARRISBURG, Oct. 16 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus hosted the Pennsylvania State Coalition of the National Council of Negro Women today for the NCNW’s lobbying day at the Capitol. Members of the NCNW advocated for the following issues: Black women’s health Education Voting incarceration “This was a very informative meeting,” PLBC chair Napoleon Nelson, D – Montgomery, said. “We look forward to continuing to work with the NCNW as many of our goals align with those as the National Coalition of Negro Women.” Added PLBC Tameko Patterson, President, NCNW PA State Coalition, “The members of the National Coalition of Negro Women PA State Coalition are grateful for the partnership with the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. This relationship is instrumental in helping us support our national initiative towards social justice.” The NCNW was founded in 1935 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, an influential educator and activist, to enlighten, inspire and has connected more than 2,000,000 women and men. Its mission is Read more

 

Testifiers detail need to develop diversity in education workforce
18 hours ago

Philadelphia House Delegation reacts to passing of former Rep. James Roebuck
May 16, 2024

Roebuck’s death mourned by members of Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus
May 16, 2024

House Education Committee hearing focuses on financial support, resources for historically black colleges and universities
May 03, 2024

Kenyatta bill to convey New Freedom Theatre back to organization clears PA House
Apr 09, 2024

PLBC proposes legislation to help with fair housing
Apr 09, 2024

Mayes honored with PLBC’s Crystal Bird Fauset Award
Apr 04, 2024

PLBC honors five with Crystal Bird Fauset Leadership Awards
Mar 28, 2024

Smith-Wade-El, Bullock hold news conference on youth homelessness
Mar 27, 2024

Kinsey voter intimidation penalties bill approved by Judiciary Committee
Mar 26, 2024

Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, House Philadelphia Delegation, LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus release statement on Pennsylvania State Police traffic stop and arrest
Mar 05, 2024

PLBC supports Cheney University community in accreditation fight
Feb 23, 2024

Applications open for PLBC’s Roebuck Scholarship
Jan 29, 2024

Rep. Nelson’s measure to curb hate crimes passes PA House
Nov 01, 2023

Pa. lawmakers launch Black Maternal Health Caucus to combat ‘alarming’ maternal mortality rates
Oct 20, 2023

PLBC honors former chair Bullock
Oct 19, 2023

Smith-Wade-El secures $872K to replace lead service lines in City of Lancaster
Oct 18, 2023

Cephas, Curry, Mayes launch Pennsylvania Black Maternal Health Caucus
Oct 18, 2023

Smith-Wade-El and Hohenstein introduce legislation to create Office of New Pennsylvanians
Oct 17, 2023

PLBC welcomes National Council of Negro Women
Oct 16, 2023