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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: April 5, 2021 11:56 AM
From: Representative Stephen Kinsey and Rep. Patty Kim, Rep. Greg Rothman
To: All House members
Subject: Designating the South Lawn as the “Irvis Equality Circle”
This year marks the 151st anniversary of the ratification of the 15th Amendment and the 101st anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Together, these amendments guarantee United States citizens the right to vote regardless of race, color, previous condition of servitude, or sex. In addition, it is important to note that the Old 8th Ward of Harrisburg, whose residents advocated for and pushed for the ratification of these amendments was located where the Pennsylvania Capitol Complex currently stands.

As you may know, the monument, “A Gathering at the Crossroads” was recently erected outside of the Irvis Office Building to honor these amendments, as wells as the residents of the Old 8th Ward. More specifically, the monument features four bronze life-size sculptures of abolitionists and famed orators with ties to the region and the Commonwealth, which surround a pedestal on which the names of 100 legendary leaders of the Old 8th Ward are listed. According to historic newspaper accounts, upon the passage of the 15th amendment, people poured into the streets to celebrate. As such, we will be introducing legislation to build on the monument’s message and symbolism, by designating the lawn of the Speaker K. Leroy Irvis Office Building (the South Lawn of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex) as the “Irvis Equality Circle.”

Please join us in support of this important legislation which not only honors the ratification of the 15th and 19th amendments, but also the residents who once lived and worked on what is now our Capitol grounds. We ask that you join us in paying tribute to our history and honoring the invaluable right to vote.

Introduced as HB1640