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Op-ed

The true fight for police reform is in statehouses across the U.S.

The true fight for police reform is in statehouses across the U.S.

By Sen. Art Haywood

Black Lives Matter protests erupted in the US and beyond following the cruel killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis. Weekly, and in some places daily, rallies and marches demand an end to police brutality and to systemic racism.

And less than two months later, at least 13 states have passed legislation to curtail police brutality.

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Changing the rules to combat racism

Changing the rules to combat racism

Nationwide, Americans continue to staunchly protest systemic racism. The country has not seen action like this since the Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the 1960s. Sixty years later, the demands for action by the people remain loud and clear.

Much like the rules of a game, rules put in place by those in power cause Black people to lose in destructive ways.

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The hard truths of racial injustice

The hard truths of racial injustice

As a member of the Pennsylvania Senate, I am generally reluctant to call out my individual colleagues. I know my fellow senators love our Commonwealth and our country – we just have different ideas about how to best serve our people.

However, times arise when a fellow public servant’s statement demands a response. Senator Mike Regan, my colleague from Cumberland and York counties, recently published an op-ed on the recent protests against police brutality and racial injustices that requires such a response.

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PA must be sure to re-open in just, equitable way

PA must be sure to re-open in just, equitable way

By Sen. Art Haywood

While small businesses owners and politicians have demanded that the state reopen quickly, the reopen health risks are largely on black, brown and white low paid workers.  Essential grocery store, restaurant, food service public transit workers stayed on the job to save us as many of us stayed at home, even worked from home.

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Republican Reopening Scam Is the Worst Kind of Politics

Republican Reopening Scam Is the Worst Kind of Politics

By Senator Vincent Hughes

In the last few weeks, Pennsylvania Republicans have ramped up the political theatre in a brazen attempt at politicizing the Wolf Administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

From staged political rallies organized by out-of-state, extreme right-wing agitators to attempts at strong-arming local officials to ignore the governor’s executive order on reopening, it’s clear that Republican legislators have decided that propping up President Trump — and by extension themselves — is more important than the public health. 

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After the surge

After the surge

By State Sen. Art Haywood

The Covid-19 pandemic has rocked the pillars of our nation. We face challenges that threaten our health and economic well-being while our democracy struggles to respond to the immense suffering. Our society, culture and normal daily life has been turned upside down. 

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Pennsylvania Should Move to All Mail-In Ballot Primary Election

Pennsylvania Should Move to All Mail-In Ballot Primary Election

By Senator Daylin Leach

As we all know, the Coronavirus pandemic has thrown just about everything into disarray. In response to the shut-down orders and social distancing recommendations we are living under, last week the Pennsylvania legislature passed a bill changing the date of our primary election from April 28th to June 2nd. I voted for that bill because we simply couldn’t have people congregating at the polls during the current stage of the crisis and this bill bought us some time. However, I strongly disagreed with setting a new in-person election for early June.

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Voting by Mail is No Longer the Exception

Voting by Mail is No Longer the Exception

By Sen. Wayne D. Fontana

Most college students look forward to summer break and a reprieve from the classroom, but few have the resources to take the “summer off” from one of their most difficult challenges: paying for their education. 

A postsecondary education can be expensive, but it is an investment worth making.  Whether a student attends the Community College of Allegheny County, learns a trade, or receives a four-year degree from the University of Pittsburgh, education is the key to a better future.

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2020 politicians: Stop pandering to black voters and actually come to our neighborhoods

2020 politicians: Stop pandering to black voters and actually come to our neighborhoods

Op-ed by Anthony H. Williams

There has been a lot of discussion about race and racism this political season. While former New York City mayor and billionaire Mike Bloomberg pours millions into ads appealing to African Americans, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s campaign preaches about a coalition including and highlighting African Americans and Latinos. Earlier this month, it was the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania versus the mayor and district attorney. Before that, it was President Donald Trump accusing Gov. Tom Wolf of denying a black Philadelphia girl a scholarship.

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OP-ED: It’s Time for Nonpartisan Municipal Elections

OP-ED: It’s Time for Nonpartisan Municipal Elections

Op-ed by Anthony H. Williams and David Thornburgh

In Philadelphia, 23% or nearly a quarter-million voters effectively don’t get a say in who becomes mayor, represents them on city council or runs the District Attorney’s office. Despite standing in line to cast ballots and informing themselves on candidate positions, these citizens are locked out of the process simply because they’ve not registered to vote as a Democrat. But what if when you went into a voting booth, there were no party labels – no Democrat, no Republican, no Green – but only names? For voters in 85% of America’s cities and towns, that’s the reality – and Philadelphia should join them.

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New Student Loan Program Aimed at Helping Students Afford Post-Secondary Education

New Student Loan Program Aimed at Helping Students Afford Post-Secondary Education

Op-ed by Senator Wayne D. Fontana (D-Pittsburgh).

Most college students look forward to summer break and a reprieve from the classroom, but few have the resources to take the “summer off” from one of their most difficult challenges: paying for their education. 

A postsecondary education can be expensive, but it is an investment worth making.  Whether a student attends the Community College of Allegheny County, learns a trade, or receives a four-year degree from the University of Pittsburgh, education is the key to a better future.

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Antiquated Basic Education Funding Formula is Hurting Lehigh Valley Homeowners and Students

Antiquated Basic Education Funding Formula is Hurting Lehigh Valley Homeowners and Students

The following Op-Ed is from Sen. Lisa Boscola (D – Lehigh/Northampton):

The Basic Education Funding Formula is the single largest education funding stream in the commonwealth’s budget.  Until 2014, each year when the General Assembly passed a budget it distributed basic education funding dollars to our school districts based on what they received the year before — regardless of whether the student population grew or shrank.  This led to large disparities throughout the state when it came to where money went versus where it was needed.  Some school districts received over 70 percent of their funding for their school programs from the state while other school districts received as low as 30 percent.  As you can imagine this led to significant inequality in property tax burdens for homeowners.  

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No more silence: Why our community must address mental health

No more silence: Why our community must address mental health

Op-Ed by Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery County)

Depression. Anxiety. Mood disorders. Dementia.

We hear about these and other mental health afflictions in our regular conversations, on television shows and even in our music, but it remains a consistent public health crisis in the black community because of the stigma surrounding topic.

Phrases like ‘You know how she gets sometimes,’ or ‘he’s always been a little crazy’ belie the awareness that something isn’t quite right with the members of our community, as well as our unwillingness to truly address the root causes that plague people’s dispositions.

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