Malcolm Kenyatta Could Become America’s First Openly Gay Black Senator
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Could Malcolm Kenyatta become the United States’ first openly gay Black Senator? The Pennsylvania state representative announced last week that he’s planning to run for an open U.S. Senate seat after Republican Sen. Pat Toomey said he will not be seeking re-election in 2022. The door is open for Kenyatta to enter the U.S. Capitol Building.
But who is Malcolm Kenyatta? And why should you join us in wanting to see him join Congress?
Here are five facts about Malcolm Kenyatta and the work he’s done to hopefully get you caught up to speed.
1. He’s a community organizer in the truest sense of the word.
Malcolm Kenyatta got his start in politics as a community organizer and advocate. And, to this day, that’s at the heart of his political agenda.
Kenyatta’s father is Muhammad Kenyatta, a civil rights leader, minister and Philadelphia mayoral candidate from 1975. Following in his footsteps, Malcolm worked in political campaign offices, including for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. He also worked in and with several community organizations like the National Organization for Women, Equality Pennsylvania and the Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club.
Being from North Philly, Kenyatta organized many neighborhood-based initiatives, like block clean-ups, bringing in political candidates to speak with voters in the neighborhood, and mentoring kids.
2. His political policies focus on smaller communities.
Keeping to his background, Malcolm Kenyatta has pushed for political policies that support the everyman and the often forgotten small community. This includes him supporting important issues like raising the minimum wage and bettering the country’s public education system.
While working in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Kenyatta served as vice chair of the Philadelphia House Delegation and is a member of Gov. Tom Wolf’s Taskforce on Suicide Prevention. Kenyatta has also co-sponsored bills for COVID-19 relief for low-income Pennsylvania residents. He’s also voted to support initiatives like demilitarizing local law enforcement and expanding early voting.
3. He’s fought hard against voter suppression.
Malcolm Kenyatta is a vocal advocate for voter rights. This came to a head during the 2020 election when voter suppression efforts were pushed within his state’s House of Representatives. Kenyatta went viral for making an impassioned speech against it.
Watch Malcolm Kenyatta in action for yourself:
“This actually should not be a contentious issue,” Kenyatta said on the state House floor. “It should be a bipartisan issue to allow every Pennsylvanian to have access to their fundamental right to vote.”
4. He was one of the “rising stars” to speak at the 2020 DNC.
Kenyatta was a delegate during both the 2016 and the 2020 Democratic National Conventions (the latter being a virtual event for which he prerecorded his remarks). Kenyatta was one of the few young progressives to support President Joe Biden’s candidacy during the primaries — proof that Kenyatta knows how to bridge the gap between progressives and “the old guard” of the current Democratic Party.
5. He’s open about and proud of his relationship with his fiancé.
Who was sitting next to Kenyatta while he gave that keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention? None other than his fiancé, Dr. Matt Miller. Kenyatta has not shied away from the fact that he’s gay and in a loving relationship. In fact, he’s embraced it. Kenyatta celebrated his July 2020 engagement on social media, had Dr. Miller join him in his keynote speech and included the Ph.D scholar in his campaign announcement video. That’s a political flex we love to see and hope to see more of.
Malcolm Kenyatta is an LGBTQ politician to watch who could make history come 2022. Will he have what it takes to win a Pennsylvania U.S. Senate seat? We’re holding out hope.
Featured image: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival