Hatred does not belong in our Commonwealth, let alone our Capitol

On Monday, March 25, our state saw its first female Muslim representative sworn in. A moment that was supposed to be a sign of growth and diversity in our commonwealth was marred by an invocation given by Rep. Stephanie Borowicz to start the session day. The invocation was divisive and weaponized religion. This prayer was Islamophobic and directly targeted Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell and the guests who joined her for her swearing-in ceremony. Following Borowicz’s invocation, she and several other colleagues left the chamber, refusing to be present for Johnson-Harrell’s swearing-in.

I condemn these actions by my colleagues. I condemn the words of Borowicz. I condemn the representatives that left the chamber. I condemn the use of religion and prayer as an attempt to divide the House of Representatives during a ceremony that celebrated our commonwealth’s diversity. To echo the sentiment of Minority Leader Frank Dermody, these actions were ‘beneath the dignity of the House.’

I urge Speaker Mike Turzai and Majority Leader Bryan Cutler to publicly denounce and publicly condemn the actions that took place Monday. I stand by Johnson-Harrell and will support a censure of Borowicz for these actions. I pledge to work on strengthening our commonwealth. Pennsylvania's diversity should be celebrated because it is truly what makes our commonwealth great. I will work with Johnson-Harrell and my fellow representatives to spread awareness and prevent such hatred. Hatred does not belong in our Commonwealth, let alone our Capitol.