Featured News

PLBC Chairwoman Donna Bullock Remarks on Somber Anniversary

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

 

Philadelphia House Delegation, PLBC respond to independent report on alleged racial bias in charter school authorization practices

(Oct 06, 2023)

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 6 – Leaders of the Philadelphia House Delegation and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today received an independent report commissioned by the Philadelphia Board of Education nearly two years ago that examined alleged racial bias in the charter school application process. In late 2021, the Philadelphia Board of Education commissioned an independent investigation concerning allegations of racial bias in charter school authorizing practices as alleged by some Black charter leaders, and whether the charter renewal process caused discriminatory effects on Black-led and Black-founded charter schools. Philadelphia-based law firm Ballard Spahr LLP led the investigation, and the Ballard firm engaged the Center for Urban and Race Equity, or CURE, to assist in its analysis. The 190-page report was released at 5 p.m. today. Philadelphia House Delegation Chairwoman Rep. Morgan Cephas said that while the report does not appear to reveal evidence of intentional, overt racially discriminatory acts by the school district or its leaders or find racially discriminatory effects of the charter renewal process, the report does include a series of recommendations based on the work of the investigation and is encouraging the school district to engage quickly with state lawmakers, local officials and the public to ensure a better path forward. “The Philadelphia House Delegation is committed to Philadelphia Read more

 

Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus installs new officers

(Oct 06, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 5 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus announced its new officers after a reorganizational meeting this week. The following members were installed as officers: Chairman, state Rep. Napoleon Nelson, D–Montgomery Vice Chair, state Rep. Darisha Parker, D–Phila. Secretary, state Rep. Ismail Smith Wade-El, D–Lancaster Treasurer, state Rep. Justin Fleming, D-Dauphin Outgoing chair state Rep. Donna Bullock, D–Phila., passes the baton to Nelson. Bullock will continue to focus on issues facing Pennsylvania’s children and youth; she chairs the PA House Children & Youth Committee. “We are grateful for Representative Bullock’s leadership, and I look forward to building on the momentum we have to achieve real results for minority communities throughout this Commonwealth,” Nelson said. “I am humbled by this honor.” Bullock guided many PLBC initiatives, including the annual Crystal Bird Faucet 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. “Chairing the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus has been a wonderful and fulfilling experience,” Read more

 

PLBC, PLLC say criminal justice system failed Irizarry family; encouraged by charges being refiled

(Sep 26, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 26 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and Pennsylvania Latino Caucus said they are disappointed to learn that a Philadelphia judge on Tuesday dismissed all charges against former police officer Mark Dial for his involvement in the shooting death of Eddie Irizarry last month but are encouraged to see that charges have been re-filed by the District Attorney’s office. “Yet again, another crime victim, another child, another sibling, another human being let down by our criminal justice system. It is our duty to stand together and demand justice for the family of Eddie Irizarry; they deserve nothing less,” said state Rep. Danilo Burgos, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Latino Caucus. “We are deeply disappointed by this decision. Dial, a former police officer, fired his gun six times at close range. The fact that all charges were dropped is enraging. We demand accountability and transparency in this process. This is not a closed case,” said state Rep. Jose Giral, D-Phila., who represents the district where the killing occurred. “We keep talking about the wrongful use of deadly force by the police, and this is an unfortunate example of that. We are on the victim’s family’s side; we are on the side of justice.” “Make no mistake, we are not surprised by this failure to deliver justice to the Irizarry family. Read more

 

PLBC Chairwoman Donna Bullock Remarks on Somber Anniversary

(Sep 15, 2023)

The members of the PLBC reflect on one of the darkest days in our country's history as a time to honor the strength and struggles of Black Pennsylvanians yesterday and today. Read more

 

Rabb announces legislation to establish Incarcerated People’s Benefit Fund

(Sep 07, 2023)

“It is our duty as legislators to secure fair treatment for all Pennsylvanians — regardless of circumstance,” Rabb said. “We must act with compassion and ensure that justice-involved individuals receive the rehabilitation and resources necessary to successfully reenter their communities.” Read more

 

PLBC calls for equal pay for Black women

(Jul 27, 2023)

HARRISBURG, July 27 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus is calling for an end to the wage gap for Black women on this Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., chair of the PLBC, said Black women make 67 cents on the dollar compared to their white male counterparts. Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is recognized each year on a date corresponding with the amount of time it takes Black women working full-time, year-round to catch up with a white man’s salary from the previous year, on average. “As of today, we are just now catching up with what white men made last year,” Bullock said. “We have closed the gap some from last year, but make no mistake, this is still far, far from equal. Black women, regardless of experience, education or location, continue to be paid unequally for their work and suffer the brunt of the effects of structural and institutional racism and sexism. “The wage gap is the result of a workplace culture entrenched in racism and sexism, and it will persist until we’ve successfully rectified that toxic culture which imposes obstacles for Black women to consistently overcome. Today and every day, the fight for equal pay continues. It doesn’t just go away when the sun comes up tomorrow. We’re ready and won’t stand for it any longer.” Read more

 

Cephas releases statement on enactment of Act 5 of 2023

(Jul 06, 2023)

"Pennsylvania families deserve our utmost attention and the finest health options available to preserve their health and the health of their babies." Read more

 

PLBC releases statement on PA budget passage

(Jul 06, 2023)

HARRISBURG, July 6 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released the following statement on the passage of the Pennsylvania state budget. “In the search for perfection, it can be human nature to sometimes lose sight of good. This budget is far from perfect, and it falls short in some areas that are of high priority for Black communities across Pennsylvania,” state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said. “However, we believe that there are some areas where it measures up, too. “This bill will invest significant money in the recently minted Whole Home Repair Program, in solving the Black maternal health crisis, in uplifting historically disadvantaged small businesses, in sickle cell research, in the Pennsylvania Prison Society, in establishing the Indigent Defense Advisory Committee and in overall violence intervention and prevention programs. “As well, we will continue to work with Governor Josh Shapiro’s administration to revisit the budget to supplement it with additional funding for proven and effective gun violence intervention and prevention programs that didn’t make it into the budget. “We believe that to address institutional inequalities, we must intentionally invest in equitable solutions, and this budget is a start toward that goal.” Read more

 

Abney issues statement regarding U.S. Supreme Court affirmative action ruling

(Jun 29, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 29 – Rep. Aerion A. Abney, D-Allegheny, issued the following statement regarding today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision against affirmative action programs at the University of North Carolina and Harvard University: “I must express that although I am disappointed by the Supreme Court's recent ruling striking down affirmative action, their decision comes as no surprise. The existence of structural and systemic racism in our country is an unfortunate reality that, while not revelatory, has become increasingly evident in the times we live in today. “Affirmative action was established to confront both implicit and explicit biases which prevented individuals from accessing opportunities available to others solely based on their race. It recognized race as one among many factors considered when evaluating an applicant, rather than the sole determining factor. Unfortunately, using a sole determining factor was often used to deny applicants prior to this policy. This policy, however, successfully dismantled barriers that countless people faced and continue to face due to racial discrimination. “Today's ruling serves as another reminder that the system is not broken, and it operates exactly as it was designed to operate. Regardless, we will continue to work with our colleges and universities to help ensure that these institutions reflect the diversity that makes those institutions and our commonwealth a vibrant and Read more

 

PLBC releases statement on Supreme Court affirmative action ruling

(Jun 29, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 29 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus said today they are disappointed with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the cases of Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina and Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard College , which found Harvard and UNC’s admissions process unconstitutional, dismantling affirmative action and ending the consideration of race in the application process. Affirmative action in higher education was put in place in the 1960s, allowing admissions departments to consider race as a factor during admissions to enfranchise historically and systemically disadvantaged populations. Affirmative action's significance extended beyond the boundaries of higher education and had become a useful tool to remedy the racial and socioeconomic disparities that hinder access to quality education, economic opportunities and social mobility. It was an imperfect and partial solution that did help Black and brown students receive admission to institutions they were more than qualified for but otherwise would not have had access to due to racial discrimination and feigned blindness to Black talent. “This is an incredibly disappointing day for higher education in America. This continued rolling back of rights and norms and standards by the U.S. Supreme Court is a distressing trend. I will fight to make sure our children in Pennsylvania have the same rights and Read more

 

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

 

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

Philadelphia House Delegation, PLBC respond to independent report on alleged racial bias in charter school authorization practices
Oct 06, 2023

Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus installs new officers
Oct 06, 2023

PLBC, PLLC say criminal justice system failed Irizarry family; encouraged by charges being refiled
Sep 26, 2023

PLBC Chairwoman Donna Bullock Remarks on Somber Anniversary
Sep 15, 2023

Rabb announces legislation to establish Incarcerated People’s Benefit Fund
Sep 07, 2023

PLBC calls for equal pay for Black women
Jul 27, 2023

Cephas releases statement on enactment of Act 5 of 2023
Jul 06, 2023

PLBC releases statement on PA budget passage
Jul 06, 2023

Abney issues statement regarding U.S. Supreme Court affirmative action ruling
Jun 29, 2023

PLBC releases statement on Supreme Court affirmative action ruling
Jun 29, 2023

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