Equality and Justice for All

As a life-long advocate for civil rights, I have fought for protection from discrimination for LGBTQ community since my arrival in the legislature in 1999.

My signature legislation, the Pennsylvania Fairness Act, would ensure that no Pennsylvanian could legally be denied housing, fired from their job, or kicked out of a restaurant or business because of their sexual orientation or gender identity or gender expression.

I also fight for immediate, concrete changes in policing, like banning chokeholds and rewriting Pennsylvania’s deadly use of force statute. But those reforms are not enough. We also need systemic changes, like bolstering our mental health supports so that appropriate, trained mental health professionals are answering calls for help.

Just as Pennsylvania’s state and local governments must recognize and address the dangers facing Black and brown people and others due to our broken policing and justice systems, I feel strongly that we must also root out the inequities that put Black lives and others at risk in our healthcare system.

After the Covid-19 crisis hit, I used my position as Democratic Chairman of the Health Committee to partner with the Legislative Black Caucus and the Welcoming PA Caucus to convene a policy hearing on the health disparities that put people of color at an increased risk for contracting Covid-19, being subsequently hospitalized and dying. Health disparities are nothing new for marginalized communities — every time a health threat hits this country or this state, it is those communities that will be hit first, and hit hardest.

Your zip code should not determine your life expectancy, and neither should your ethnicity, your country of origin, your sexual orientation or your gender identity.

After the 2018 attack on the Tree of Life building by a anti-semitic gunman, in a speech before a joint session of the General Assembly, I called on my colleagues to come together to pass a hate crimes package to expand protections to cover all vulnerable groups, increase penalties and improve hate crime reporting procedures.

In 2019, my bill to improve reporting for sexual assaults on college campuses was passed as part of the budget process. This law requires institutes of higher learning to offer online, anonymous reporting options for students.

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Since 1999, Rep. Dan Frankel has served Pennsylvania’s 23rd district, which includes the neighborhoods of Squirrel Hill, Oakland, Point Breeze, Regent Square, Greenfield, and Shadyside.

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