Biden appoints PA Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, PA Human Relations Commission executive director Chad Dion Lassiter to Presidential Commission
The two officials joined the Presidential Advisory Commission on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans.
MORE IN THIS SECTION
Pennsylvania Representative Malcolm Kenyatta and PA Human Relations Commission executive director Chad Dion Lassiter were among 19 others to be appointed by President Joe Biden on Friday, April 21, to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans.
“HONORED! Thank you @potus for appointing me Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Advancing Education Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans. I’m humbled by your faith in me,” Kenyatta tweeted, confirming his appointment.
“I look forward to advancing the Commission’s mission to aid in developing, implementing, and coordinating educational programs and initiatives for agencies such as the Department of Education,” he added.
Kenyatta will Chair the 21-member commission that includes Marla Blunt-Carter, Stacy Brown, Philpot, Vilicia Cade, Vincent Dorien Evans, Michael Anthony Holmes, Fedrick C. Ingram, Lonnie L. Johnson, Adena Williams Loston, William “Billy” Mitchell, Clarence A. Nesbitt, Jr., Denise Louise Pease, Rebecca “Becky” Pringle, Marisa J. Richmond, Bernice G. Scott, Richard “Mouse” Smith, Joe Tate, Kenny D. Thompson, Jr., and Benaree “Bennie” Pratt Wiley.
The Commission creates and implements educational programs and initiatives for agencies including the Department of Education and provides advice to the president through Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona on issues regarding educational equity and economic opportunity for the Black community.
“The expertise represented on this commission will be an invaluable resource to our department and to the president as we work to Raise the Bar in education and ensure that all Black children have access to an academically rigorous education, safe and healthy learning environments, supportive school communities and multiple pathways to college and career,” Cardona said in a statement Friday.
According to the commission’s official website, the commission;
Provides platforms for youth (and other impacted populations) to make recommendations regarding the policies, practices and programs designed to accelerate learning and development;
Highlight people, programs and practices facilitating the learning and development of African Americans students; and
Serve as a liaison between and among communities supporting Black students of all ages.
A third-generation North Philadelphia native, Kenyatta is currently serving in the state General Assembly and became the first openly Black LGBTQ+ and one of the youngest members elected to the General Assembly in 2018.
He became the first openly LGBTQ+ person of color to run for the U.S. Senate in 2022 before losing out in the Democratic primary.
Kenyatta currently holds several legislative leadership roles, serving as a Member of the State Government Committee with oversight on state agencies and elections, Chair of the Subcommittee on Campaign Finance and Elections, Chair of Automation and Technology in the Committee on Commerce, and Member of the Finance Committee.
Lassiter is well-renowned for his knowledge of American Race Relations and has long worked on race and poverty-related issues in the U.S., Africa, Canada, Haiti, Israel, and Norway.
He’s currently the Executive Director of the PA Human Relations Commission where he’s behind the “No Hate in Our State Townhall,” that addresses the surge of white nationalism in the Commonwealth, and serves as a Racial Reduction Response team for communities impacted by racial hate.
Lassiter is also the co-Founder and current President of The Black Men at Penn School of Social Work, Inc., an organization within the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, the first Ivy League Black male group of social workers.
Kenyatta, the grandson of the civil rights activist Muhammad I. Kenyatta, also reiterated his commitment to serving his constituents in PA’s 181st District.
“I welcome the chance to work with Secretary Cardona and the entire commission of deeply talented public servants to do everything we can to improve educational and economic outcomes for Black Americans across the United States,” he said. “As I take on this new responsibility, I remain committed to fighting every day for the people of the 181st District in the Pennsylvania legislature."
Along with his current commitments, Kenyatta is also hitting the campaign trail as he announced his candidacy for state Auditor General earlier this year on March 9 in Harrisburg. The first Democrat to announce their candidacy, he’s vying for the city’s chief fiscal officer position.
He looks to unseat the incumbent Timothy DeFoor, the state’s first Black auditor general.