A year after the release of his State of Black Pennsylvania report and subsequent state-wide listening tour, Sen. Art Haywood (Montgomery, Philadelphia) has responded with a set of policy recommendations.

The State of Black Pennsylvania report was released in February 2023, aiming to give a complete picture of the Black experience in Pennsylvania from 2010 to 2021. Issues of health, incarceration, income, population change, and socioeconomic mobility are examined in the report.

This Black History Month and Haywood’s recommendations mark one year from the report’s release and a renewed commitment to stand with our continually changing communities and to strive for racial justice.  The following are among Haywood’s policy recommendations:

  1. Establish equitable school funding to improve the environments and resources that support Black students and educators.
  2. Prepare Black students to take over as next generation of leaders by equipping them early and intentionally with the information, skills, and space for success.
  3. Replace the school-to-prison pipeline with the opportunity pipeline, directing Black students toward underrepresented opportunities while offering support in the forms of mentorship and financial guidance.
  4. Raise the minimum wage to a family-sustaining level.
  5. Increase and improve access to safe, affordable family housing by increasing inventory and removing barriers to homebuying, such as bias and criminal history.
  6. Increase Harrisburg support to municipalities via programs such as Whole Home Repairs.
  7. Support Black entrepreneurs in establishing a strong business community by increasing access to financial and professional resources.
  8. Position incarcerated individuals for success through educational and mental health supports.
  9. Support Black women by increasing access to contraceptive care, pre- and postnatal care, and emotional support.
  10. Increase access to affordable, accessible childcare.

For the past decade and longer, LAMPa has advocated on policy priorities that include several of Haywood’s recommendations for action for Black Pennsylvanians. “From Whole Home Repairs to equitable funding of public schools so all can succeed to raising the minimum wage, LAMPa is already at work supporting many of these policies,” said the Rev. Erin Jones, LAMPa’s Communications and Advocacy Engagement Manager. “This report helps remind us that everything we work on is intersectional in nature, and working to combat systemic racism is key to living into God’s vision of justice.”

Sign up here to join a network of Lutherans working for racial justice and authentic diversity in Pennsylvania.

Haywood’s office recently hosted a conversation about human dignity and the possibility of enshrining human dignity for all people in the Pennsylvania Constitution. You can find a recording of the conversation here.

You can find the report and more information about the state of Black PA here. Yo u can review the recommendations here.

Leave A Comment