Featured News

PLBC Chairwoman Donna Bullock Remarks on Somber Anniversary

Kinsey: Honoring the Legacy of K. Leroy Irvis

(Jun 28, 2023)

Pa. state Rep. Stephen Kinsey explains his resolution that would rename the current South Lawn at the state Capitol to “Irvis Circle of Equality” in honor of former House Speaker K. Leroy Irvis. In 1977, Irvis was the first African American elected as Speaker of any state legislature in the U.S. and dedicated much of his career to the fight for civil rights. Read more

 

House Health Committee reports out key bill to improve Black maternal health

(Jun 14, 2023)

Better tracking and reporting will ensure that Black mamas and birthing individuals are heard. We know that Pennsylvania needs more people in the medical and perinatal field who look like the people they are working alongside to deliver healthy babies and eliminate birth outcome disparities. This data can help us identify the areas where we need more professionals, such as doulas, who can provide emotional, informational and physical support before, during and after childbirth. Read more

 

Kinsey resolution urging Congress to end legal slavery passes Judiciary Committee

(Jun 08, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 8 – Yesterday, House Resolution 128 introduced by state Reps. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., and Carol Kazeem, D-Delaware, urging Congress to end legal slavery was reported out of the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee. While the 13 th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolished slavery, it left a loophole which allows for slavery/involuntary servitude as punishment for committing a crime. Kinsey’s resolution would urge the U.S. Congress to end this loophole. “Slavery is America’s greatest sin, and we can no longer allow it to continue any further in any shape or fashion,” Kinsey said. “The loophole in the 13th Amendment allows for America’s legacy of slavery and racism to continue- we must end it. No one should be forced to work involuntarily. Today’s committee vote for this resolution is a positive step towards fully abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude in our country.” “Slavery has no place in the world today. Yet here in the United States, through a loophole in the 13 th Amendment, we can still force labor on someone as punishment for a crime,” Kazeem said. “This is not what represents the America of today and it’s about time we finally got rid of slavery in our country. We hope our colleagues in the state House will join us in calling on our Congress in Washington to join us in this mission.” H.R. 128 Read more

 

PLBC celebrates 50 years as a formal caucus with K. Leroy Irvis Day of Action

(May 23, 2023)

HARRISBURG, May 23 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus held its second annual K. Leroy Irvis Day of Action today in honor of the first Black speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and to celebrate its 50th year as a formal legislative caucus. “Today is a joyous day. It is a reminder of the hard work this caucus has done over the last 50 years and the hard work still left to do,” State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said. “We honored our past by remembering the life and legacy of former Speaker K. Leroy Irvis, and we invested in our future by presenting scholarships to the bright and promising young men and women who earned them with their scholarly prowess.” Following a 10 a.m. news event on the front steps of the Speaker K. Leroy Irvis building, Black Pennsylvanians — youth, community leaders, small business owners, clergy and advocacy organizations — gathered for a series of panels on the state of Black Pennsylvania, labor, cannabis and voter disenfranchisement. As part of the day of action, the PLBC congratulated the following recipients of the 2023 PLBC James Roebuck Scholarship: Mamadou Bah, Upper Merion High School; Kayla Banks, Cheltenham High School; Jayant Bullet, Cumberland Valley High School; Makalya Coleman, George Washington Carver High School; Ellyssa Elliot, Reading High School; Read more

 

Parker Working for Financial Literacy

(May 04, 2023)

Pa. state Rep. Darisha Parker joined Auditor General Timothy DeFoor and students and faculty of Martin Luther King Jr. High School in North Philadelphia to discuss the importance for integrating financial literacy education programs into high school curriculum for Pennsylvania students. Read more

 

Representatives host Delta Day at state Capitol

(May 03, 2023)

HARRISBURG, May 3 – State Reps. Gina H. Curry, D-Delaware, La’Tasha D. Mayes, D-Allegheny, and Morgan Cephas, D-Philadelphia, said that they were proud to host Delta Day at the state Capitol on Tuesday. Delta Day is celebrated by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, which was founded in 1913 by 22 collegiate women on the campus of Howard University. Today, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated is one of the preeminent service-based sororities, with predominantly more than 300,000 Black members and more than 1,000 chapters worldwide. The sorority has maintained a commitment to social activism, academic excellence and civic engagement. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated has 29 chapters in Pennsylvania. On Delta Day, members from throughout the commonwealth come to the Capitol to connect with elected officials, advance legislation and serve as a voice for others. “The women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated continue to be magnificent examples of servant-leaders with their commitment to their communities,” Curry said. “That is why I introduced H.R. 100 to recognize and honor the members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated on Delta Day.” “This was the first year back after three years of meeting virtually for Delta Days in Harrisburg,” Mayes said. “It was a great opportunity for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated members to come to our Capitol to lead the conversations Read more

 

Ban on shackling pregnant women, solitary confinement in prison advances in Pa. House

(Apr 19, 2023)

The House Judiciary Committee unanimously reported out House Bill 900, which, in addition to bans on shackling expectant mothers, includes a host of measures to implement best practices, some of which are already in place in federal prisons. Read more

 

Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus calls for Legislature to take action, pass gun safety legislation following continued national tragedies

(Apr 17, 2023)

HARRISBURG, April 17 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus is calling on the General Assembly to act and pass gun safety legislation following multiple mass shootings across the nation and the unjust expulsion of two legislators, and the attempted expulsion of a third, in Tennessee for so-called “disorderly behavior” following their protest in favor of gun reform in the Tennessee House chamber. Today they joined Black legislators across the nation in decrying the parliamentary rules and procedures Republican majorities are using – or abusing – to stifle Black voices and avoid holding votes on the issues people want addressed, such as gun violence, but that they and their big moneyed backers don’t like. According to PLBC Chair Donna Bullock, D-Phila., Republican legislators in Tennessee thought they could hide behind the veil of rules and procedure when expelling Rep. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, and Rep. Justin Pearson, D-Memphis, but the racist undertones prompting their expulsion were obvious. People should look no further than the recently leaked video of Tennessee Republican lawmakers discussing the vote, she said. In recent weeks, the nation has been shocked by the news of not one, but two mass shootings occurring at a school in Nashville, TN and a bank in Louisville, KY. A total of 11 people combined lost their lives in these shooting sprees. PLBC lawmakers are saying enough is enough, and that Pennsylvania and Read more

 

Women’s History Month is the perfect time to recognize women’s issues

(Mar 17, 2023)

Entering Women’s History Month this March has me pondering a lot of issues related to women, especially women of color, and where we are headed. In the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, I can tell you we are going in the right direction in terms of addressing important issues that impact the daily lives of women who have been historically underserved, underrepresented, misunderstood, ignored and generally not heard. We elected the first woman – a Black woman – to serve as speaker of the House. This role has always gone to white men with the exception of K. Leroy Irvis, a Black legislator from Pittsburgh, who served as speaker back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Speaker Joanna McClinton is accomplished, is the former Democratic leader in the House, is an attorney and represents the good folks of the 191st District in Philadelphia and parts of Delaware County. She brings experiences to this General Assembly that resonate with so many Pennsylvanians and is committed to making sure that everyone and every issue is heard during her tenure at the rostrum. Some of the issues that I know exist, and ones that were discussed during my time as chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus’ Subcommittee on Women and Girls of Color, include a backsliding of women’s reproductive rights, the need to raise the minimum wage, period poverty, and health care access and maternal mortality, to name a few. Women’s personal Read more

 

PLBC announces Crystal Bird Fauset Leadership honorees

(Mar 14, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 14 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, announced the awardees of the PLBC Crystal Bird Fauset Leadership Award, which is now an annual recognition event for the PLBC during Women’s History Month. Honorees will be awarded in a virtual ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 23. The ceremony can be viewed live at Facebook.com/PALegislativeBlackCaucus/. The award is named in honor of former state Rep. Crystal Bird Fauset, who was a Democrat elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1938 and represented Philadelphia’s 18th Legislative District. She was the first Black woman elected in any state legislature. “For so long, the accomplishments of Black women have been ignored or minimized,” Bullock said. “While we celebrate these women all year long, we wanted to highlight extraordinary Black women in Women’s History Month and all that they do here in the commonwealth. It’s important for everyone – especially little Black girls and boys – to see someone who looks like them making big impacts in Pennsylvania and in leadership roles. These women are leaders we look to everyday - in both their professional and personal lives. We are so proud of each of them and are grateful for their service to this commonwealth.” The honorees this year are former state House member from Pittsburgh and current U.S. Rep. Summer Lee; former Read more

 

Bullock named chair of House Children and Youth, Ethics committees

(Mar 13, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 13 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., has been appointed chair of standing state House committees on Children and Youth and Ethics for the 2023-24 legislative session. “Our committees drive the entire legislative process by vetting and moving bills to the floor for a vote,” Bullock said. “The committees I chair this session are critical to moving legislation that benefits and considers the well-being of our children, while the Ethics Committee is important to ensuring the ethical behavior of members as they conduct business in our chamber and as elected officials throughout this session. I’m looking forward to getting to work and getting things done for the commonwealth.” In addition to her committee assignments, Bullock was reelected to chair the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. Founded in 1973, the caucus was formed to serve as an information and advocacy vehicle to advance the interests of African American, Latino and other people of color in the commonwealth. Bullock’s district office is located at 2835 W. Girard Ave. Residents can stop by or call 215-684-3738 to set up an appointment or for inquiries. Read more

 

PLBC agenda, governor’s budget priorities are aligned

(Mar 07, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 7 – Prior to his budget address today, the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus sent a letter to Gov. Josh Shapiro outlining their budget priorities. Following is their statement on his budget proposal: “The governor has heard our priorities and heeded our requests, as was evident in his budget address to the General Assembly today when he specifically named the PLBC in his remarks. It was a historic moment for this body and it underscores the importance of our partnership and involvement in the budget process. We are energized by his vision and know our collective voice is heard by the Shapiro-Davis administration. We are confident we will be able to continue and, where needed, expand upon the great work that was started under the Wolf administration. Education, environmental justice, maternal mortality and discrimination are just a few of the issues that we continue to bring to the forefront and we are encouraged by the governor’s including them in today’s proposal. “With a commitment to fairly funding our schools, regardless of location in the commonwealth, we are hopeful that we can fulfill our constitutional commitment to an equitable education for all children. We need to invest in our schools, thereby investing in our children. In addition, we are encouraged by a commitment to higher education, and we want to be sure that our two HBCUs – Cheyney University and Lincoln University - receive the same Read more

 

Bullock Comments on The State of Black Pa.

(Feb 28, 2023)

Pa. Legislative Black Caucus Chairwoman Donna Bullock endorses a report on the State of Black Pennsylvania. The report was compiled by state Sen. Art Haywood’s office and provides data on many issues affecting Black and brown people living in the Commonwealth. Bullock says data from this study will play a critical role in developing policies that provide equity and justice to all Pennsylvanians. Read more

 

PLBC celebrates McClinton’s historic speaker election

(Feb 28, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 28 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released a statement on the election and swearing in of its colleague and current PLBC member, former House Majority leader and now Speaker Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware. “This milestone of not only a woman speaker of the House but a Black woman, is long overdue and very deserved. Joanna McClinton has worked her way through the ranks of the legislature with savvy and grace and always with the knowledge of the tasks before her. We are confident she is ready to lead our chamber into this next two years and beyond. We beam with pride at the accomplishments and the history that is made today with our new Speaker Joanna McClinton.” Read more

 

Food is medicine: Medically tailored meals can help more patients get back to health

(Feb 28, 2023)

“You are what you eat.” “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Society has used these adages and others to explain the relationship between food and health. But here is some food for thought: Food is medicine. The idea of preventative and therapeutic use of nutritious food to help patients suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease is making its way into mainstream medicine. Although the link between nutrition and health has been long established in the medical community, and prescribed medical diets are commonplace in hospital discharge orders, widely accessible resources for filling those dietary prescriptions have never been available. Until now. Across the commonwealth and the country, doctors are referring patients to organizations that provide medically tailored meals. While this is not yet widely covered by insurance, it should be -- and in government, we should help to move the initiative along. For many patients, the healthy food that is part of their disease treatment, and often prescribed by their health provider, may not be available at their local grocery stores or, even if it is, may be unaffordable. Some patients may not physically be able to prepare healthy meals. Prepared and delivered medically tailored meals remove those barriers and are a relief for the patients, their families and our health care system as a whole. Medicaid, private health insurance companies and other programs can be Read more

 

PLBC statement on recent racist social media posts

(Feb 13, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 13 – Responding to a recent uptick in racist social media posts at the middle school, high school and collegiate levels, the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released this statement today: “The rise in racist rhetoric among our young people is not new, but these disturbing posts are symptomatic of the current state of affairs across the commonwealth and the country. Our students are mirroring the political vitriol and uncivil discourse displayed by adults at school board meetings, in the workplace, on social media, and in their homes. “Recent social media posts from students at a Philadelphia Catholic high school, a suburban middle school, and a western Pennsylvania state university are racist, hateful, and wrong. They provide further evidence of the need for bias training and inclusive curriculum in our educational system, such as teaching African American history – not just highlighting it in February during Black History Month but throughout the school year. “We call on local school boards and university officials to review their anti-hate and anti-bias trainings and policies. We encourage school leaders to make Black, Latino, and Asian American history accessible in their schools. We encourage our legislative colleagues to co-sponsor Representatives Burgos, Young, Hohenstein, and Innamorato’s proposed bill for Diverse History Instruction in Schools. “Inclusion must include all of us. Racism Read more

 

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

 

Kinsey: Honoring the Legacy of K. Leroy Irvis
Jun 28, 2023

House Health Committee reports out key bill to improve Black maternal health
Jun 14, 2023

Kinsey resolution urging Congress to end legal slavery passes Judiciary Committee
Jun 08, 2023

PLBC celebrates 50 years as a formal caucus with K. Leroy Irvis Day of Action
May 23, 2023

Parker Working for Financial Literacy
May 04, 2023

Representatives host Delta Day at state Capitol
May 03, 2023

Ban on shackling pregnant women, solitary confinement in prison advances in Pa. House
Apr 19, 2023

Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus calls for Legislature to take action, pass gun safety legislation following continued national tragedies
Apr 17, 2023

Women’s History Month is the perfect time to recognize women’s issues
Mar 17, 2023

PLBC announces Crystal Bird Fauset Leadership honorees
Mar 14, 2023

Bullock named chair of House Children and Youth, Ethics committees
Mar 13, 2023

PLBC agenda, governor’s budget priorities are aligned
Mar 07, 2023

Bullock Comments on The State of Black Pa.
Feb 28, 2023

PLBC celebrates McClinton’s historic speaker election
Feb 28, 2023

Food is medicine: Medically tailored meals can help more patients get back to health
Feb 28, 2023

PLBC statement on recent racist social media posts
Feb 13, 2023

Black History Month recognized in Pennsylvania this February
Jan 25, 2023

PLBC statement on police incident in Lower Merion
Jan 10, 2023

PLBC, Women’s Health Caucus create joint Subcommittee on Women and Girls of Color
Jan 09, 2023

PLBC installs officers for 2023-24 session
Jan 05, 2023