Lifelong Philadelphian Announces Senate Campaign


Kylie McGovern, Editor     

  Kenyatta in front of childhood home.                           The Philadelphia Inquirer

On Feb. 18, 2021, Philadelphian Malcolm Kenyatta announced his campaign for United States Senate on MSNBC and via Twitter to help “working families.” Kenyatta currently represents these working families as a Pennsylvaniastate representative. But, in his travels throughout PA while campaigning for President Joe Biden, Kenyatta realized that his background is representative of many Pennsylvanians, not just those in North Philadelphia. 

Kenyatta grew up on Woodstock Street in North Philadelphia just a few minutes from La Salle University. “I’m North Philly through-and-through. I grew up here and never left. I believe that North Philly’s best days are ahead. We can make a difference and together we can unleash the possibilities for a better North Philly,” Kenyatta says.  Kenyatta worked his first job at a restaurant at age 12 to help his family pay bills. Kenyatta attended Philly public schools, Temple University and Drexel University. At Temple, Kenyatta studied Strategic Communication.  At Drexel, he studied Public Communication. While in college, Kenyatta led protests against Former Gov. Tom Corbett’s education cuts. His website says that Kenyatta “knows what it’s like to see eviction notices and work a minimum wage job — and knows firsthand the pain that Washington’s failures have inflicted on Pennsylvania.”  

Kenyatta’s fiancé, Matthew J Miller, describes Kenyatta as “being an empath, even to a fault. His policies are authentic reflections of his deepest personal tragedies and he is aware that his personal triumphs have not changed the odds for people with his working-class, Black, queer background. He says the same things in private to folks on our block as he would to a legislative committee. His commitment to remembering those real struggles is his superpower. And him remembering names. Gosh, he’s so good at that.” In speaking with Miller, one can learn that the campaign affects Kenyatta’s family as well. Miller explains that he is “still processing the campaign; virtual life has turned our home into an office and library for me but for him often a call center and mini-studio for his TV hits. It can be exciting but also [feel like] being in the middle of a whirlwind.” Kenyatta made history in his current position in the state government by being the first Black and LBQTQ+ person to be elected to this office. Kenyatta says, “This idea that Black folks can’t win statewide or progressives can’t win statewide or young people can’t win statewide, that’s based on no data. We’ve had very few run. So, it’s not about these labels of progressive or moderate. What people want is someone who will do something.” In addition, Kenyatta is one of the youngest members of the Pennsylvaniageneral assembly and would certainly be among very few senators in their thirties. 


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