Davis and McClinton rally Black voters for Biden, warn of Trump’s attacks on personal freedoms


Pennsylvania House Speaker Joanna McClinton (center) posing for a photo with members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus prior to President Joe Biden speaking at Girard College in Philadelphia on May 29, 2024. (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

May 31, 2024

Lt. Gov Austin Davis and House Speaker Joanna McClinton launched Black-Pennsylvanians for Biden-Harris on Thursday and warned voters about rights and freedoms being at stake in the upcoming election.

President Joe Biden warned members of Philadelphia’s Black community on Wednesday that “all progress, all freedom, all opportunities are at risk” under a second term for former President Donald Trump.

Less than 24 hours later, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Austin Davis and House Speaker Joanna McClinton echoed those sentiments as they launched Black-Pennsylvanians for Biden-Harris on Thursday.

“We’ve already seen so many rights on the chopping block,” McClinton told reporters. “We don’t want to see many other communities, even in our own black community, have to continue to suffer and have to go into hiding and go back into the time and place where it was not okay for love to win or for you to express yourself any way you want it. And we are not going to allow that. We’re not sitting by.”

Biden was in Philadelphia on Wednesday highlighting his first term accomplishments and how they benefited Black Americans. This includes canceling $165 billion in student loans for more than 5 million Americans, capping insulin prices for seniors at $35 and an economic record that includes the lowest Black unemployment rate in the past 20 years.

Biden also delivered a blistering speech accusing Trump and his loyal followers for banning books and erasing Black history.

“MAGA extremists banned books,” Biden said. “Did you ever think if you had anybody over 30 years old, you’d go through a period where we’re banning books in America? They’re trying to erase Black history. We’re going to write Black history because it’s American history.”

Kenneth Allen, a retired professional engineer and Philadelphia resident, expressed those same concerns. Allen linked the banning of books and the ongoing attacks by Republicans on LGBTQ children to the chipping away of fundamental freedoms.

“I’m worried about the freedoms that we have in this country,” Allen said in an interview before Biden’s speech.

“I’m worried about some of the things I’m seeing about banning books and about the sexual orientation that are being banned. I’m worried about all of those things, rights that all of us tried for that are being slowly chipped away.”

School boards throughout Lancaster and York counties are aligning themselves with anti-LGBTQ organizations responsible for discriminating against LGBTQ students and pushing book bans throughout the state.

Even though these are happening in suburban and rural parts of the commonwealth, both Davis and McClinton expressed concerns about these issues making it into neighboring communities.

“I think when you see people coming for a certain group’s freedoms, while it may not necessarily be in your backyard, it may be coming to your backyard tomorrow,” Davis said.

“I think voters are concerned that while book bans and things like that are encroaching in neighboring communities, that it may come to their communities.”


  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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