Chaka Fattah

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Chaka Fattah

Chaka Fattah is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 2nd district of Pennsylvania.

Fattah is still serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and currently resides in Philadelphia, where, with his third wife Renee Chenault-Fattah, he is raising his four children.[1]

Early life

Chaka Fattah was born to Russell Davenport and Frances Brown on November 21, 1956, under the name Arthur Davenport. His parents divorced when he was young, and his mother soon remarried to a man she met at a national conference on black power in 1968. Following this conference, his mother decided to change her name to Falaka Fattah, to acknowledge her African ethnicity, and Arthur she renamed Chaka Fattah.

When Fattah was 14, his mother and stepfather decided to develop a home for homeless boys and gang members. To help his parents succeed in this endeavor, Fattah delivered a slide presentation to the First Pennsylvania Bank, hoping they would donate their properties to his parents’ cause. The Bank was impressed by this young man’s proposal and provided his parents with the property and funds they were seeking. These properties became the beginning of the House of Umoja Boystown, and the proposal initiated Fattah’s political career. Fattah’s next political act, undertaken while attending Shoemaker Junior High School in Philadelphia in 1968, was campaign volunteer for Mayor Hardy Williams. In 1976 Fattah received his associate’s degree from the Community College of Philadelphia. In 1977, he completed his bachelor’s degree in economics and business at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Next he attended Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he completed the Senior Executive Program for State Officials. Finally, in 1986, Fattah attended the University of Pennsylvania Fels Institute of State and Local Government, receiving a master’s degree in government administration.[2]


Immediately following his schooling, Fattah became, at that time, the youngest man to be elected to the Pennsylvania Legislature as a Democrat. He was also the youngest candidate ever to win by such a large margin. For 12 years Fattah was a state lawmaker, serving six years as state representative and six more as state senator.

In 1994, Fattah was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving Pennsylvania’s Second Congressional District, which includes West and North Philadelphia, Germantown, and Darby. Also in 1994, he was elected whip, which is the legislator who enforces discipline, for the Congressional Black Caucus. In the years that followed, Fattah served on several committees, including the House Appropriations Committee, where he oversaw billions of dollars in funds, the House Democratic Caucus, and the Joint Committee on Printing.

Fattah’s most famous act was created in the year 2000. He titled it the Equal Protection School Finance Act, his first major step in creating equal opportunities in the schools. Later, in September 2003, he renamed it the Student Bill of Rights. In 1998, Fattah took a smaller step targeting education beyond high school. He called this new plan GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs). This program provides support for minorities to pursue higher education. Alongside GEAR UP, Fattah created the William H. Gray College Completion Grant, which provides these minorities with the funds they need to pursue higher education.

Throughout all these years, Fattah was a vocal supporter of Bill Clinton, before, during, and after his years as President. Fattah continually criticized President George Bush, and "passionately disagrees with all the money that is put into the War on Iraq". [3]


Chaka Fattah, now serving in his ninth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, represents the Second Congressional District of Pennsylvania. A member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, which oversees over $800 billion in discretionary spending, Congressman Fattah was appointed by then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Chair the Congressional Urban Caucus.[4]

Nicholas relationship

September 2012, Fattah tweet

Fattah is very close to socialist labor leader Henry Nicholas.

Nicholas protege

Labor boss Henry Nicholas, talked about running for Philadelphia mayor as an independent in the November 1995 election, against Democratic Mayor Ed Rendell.

"When I am a candidate, I expect them all to come out," Nicholas said. They would be hard-pressed not to because I'm not just any candidate. I'm a candidate who paid dues already."

Nicholas wouldn't make his final decision until after the May primary.

If he runs, he puts his latest political protege, Democratic U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, on the hot seat.

Nicholas helped Fattah beat U.S. Rep. Lucien Blackwell, who was Rendell's candidate in the congressional race in 1994.

It's hard for Fattah to represent the city in Washington, D.C., without being at peace with the mayor, and Fattah is a practical politician. He didn't want to talk about Nicholas last week.[5]

DSA endorsement


In July 1996, the Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee endorsed Chaka Fattah, Pennsylvania 2 in that year's Congressional elections.[6]

H.R. 950, the Job Creation and Infrastructure Restoration Act of 1997 was introduced in the 105th Congress on March 5, 1997 by Congressman Matthew Martinez of California. It had 33 original co-sponsors, including Chaka Fattah. The primary purpose of this emergency federal jobs legislation was to provide much needed jobs at union wages to crisis ridden cities by putting the unemployed to work rebuilding our nation's infrastructure (schools, housing, hospitals, libraries, public transportation, highways, parks, environmental improvements, etc. $250 billion is authorized for emergency public works jobs over a five year period.

Congressman Martinez had previously introduced this bill in the last Congress (as HR 1591) at the the request of over 50 prominent Labor leaders who formed the Los Angeles Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs, which is why it is often referred to as the "Martinez Public Works Jobs Bill."[7]

This is the most significant jobs legislation introduced in Congress since Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal established the Works Progress Administration (WPA). This bill is the WPA-type program for today. It has strong provisions which will put hundreds of thousands of unemployed building trades workers to work as well as provide jobs for victims of plant closures, welfare recipients who are parents, youth, and the long term unemployed. The public works projects which will be established under this bill will be built in communities with the highest levels of unemployment and with the greatest needs.
The goal of the New York Coalition for Public Works Jobs is to build the movement to pass the Martinez Jobs bill as part of the National Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs. You can help by asking your union, community organization, or local government body to to join those who have already passed resolutions to endorse the bill. Such a resolution has been introduced in the New York City Council. Calling on additional Congressional Representatives to co-sponsor the bill is very important. We will be organizing petition campaigns, visits to elected officials, and demonstrations and other actions for a public works jobs program.

The leaders of the Los Angeles Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs and its only affiliate New York Coalition for Public Works Jobs, were all known supporters or members of the Communist Party USA.

Los Angeles , National Labor Coalition For Public Works Jobs

A New York affiliate, New York Coalition for Public Works Jobs, c/o Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2.

Pro Democracy Convention

The Pro Democracy Convention was held June 29th To July 1, 2001. It started with a National Town Hall Meeting, Annenberg Center, University of Pennsylvania.

Come to a National Town Hall Meeting! Hear speakers representing a wide range of communities, including academics, labor leaders,lawyers, organizers, and elected officials, speak out about Election 2000, recommendations for electoral reform, and how we all can build the movement to expand democracy in the U.S.

Partial List of Invited Speakers and Presenters:

Health Care Access resolution

John Conyers promoted House Concurrent Resolution 99 (H. Con Res. 99) Directing Congress to enact legislation by October 2004 that provides access to comprehensive health care for all Americans. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES April 4, 2001.

Sponsors:John Conyers (for himself), Jan Schakowsky, John Tierney, Barbara Lee, Donna Christensen, David Bonior, Dennis Kucinich, Earl Hilliard, Maurice Hinchey, Jerry Nadler, Donald Payne Chaka Fattah, Peter DeFazio, John Lewis Tammy Baldwin, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Barney Frank, Henry Waxman, Cynthia McKinney, Jim Langevin, George Miller Alcee Hastings, Patsy Mink, John Olver , Bennie Thompson, Pete Stark, Julia Carson, and Mike Capuano submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce;[9]

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), that the Congress shall enact legislation by October 2004 to guarantee that every person in the United States, regardless of income, age, or employment or health status, has access to health care..

Congressional Progressive Caucus

In 1998 Chaka Fattah Democrat was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[10]

As of February 20 2009 Chaka Fattah was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[11]

Congressional Black Caucus

Chaka Fattah is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus for the 113th Congress:[12]

Slavery Memorial/President's House

As a community activist, Michael Coard is a founding member of Avenging The Ancestors Coalition (ATAC). ATAC is the organization that led the successful battle- in connection with the historic President’s House/Slavery Memorial project- to force the federal government to commemorate the nine African descendants enslaved by President George Washington at America’s first “White House,” which was located at the current site of the new Liberty Bell Center.[13]

Avenging The Ancestors Coalition provided substantial documentation to U.S. House Appropriations Committee member Congressman Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania who was instrumental in securing an amendment to the Interior Department's 2003 budget requiring the National Park Service to develop plans for the Slavery Memorial/President's House site, including an "appropriate commemoration" of the nine enslaved African descendants there.

In August 2005, primarily through the efforts of Congressman Fattah along with the assistance of Congressman Robert Brady of Pennsylvania, $3.6 million in federal funding was made available for the site and the commemoration.

Venezuela oil deal

On Jan. 27, 2006, Rep. Chaka Fattah, announced that Citgo, a U.S. subsidiary of the publicly-owned Venezuelan national oil company PDVSA, was going to begin shipping 5 million gallons of discounted heating oil to Philadelphia as part of a plan to provide assistance to 25,000 low-income families throughout the city. [14]

The first Citgo delivery was made the next day to Geraldine Shields in the West Oak Lane section of Philadelphia. Neighbors and friends applauded, waving U.S. and Venezuelan flags, as they welcomed the oil delivery to their community.

Former Congressman Joseph Kennedy, CEO of Citizens Energy, was driving the truck loaded with the Venezuelan owned oil. Citizens Energy is a nonprofit corporation that is supporting and financing the oil distribution program.

Fattah, Venezuelan Ambassador to the U.S. Bernardo Alvarez, and Citgo CEO Felix Rodriguez also participated in welcoming Shields’ home delivery.

Ambassador Alvarez said Venezuela welcomes the opportunity to show true friendship to the American people, especially those in need. Citgo’s Rodriguez said the gift was possible because PDVSA is publicly owned: “Our shareholders are the Venezuelan people,” he said.

Fattah planned to meet with Gov. Ed Rendell’s staff the following week to discuss whether the program can be expanded throughout the state. He credited fellow Congressman William Delahunt (D-Mass.) and Kennedy for helping arrange for the program in Philadelphia.

Last September, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez had announced that he would help lead a campaign in making oil from PDVSA (Petroleos de Venezuela, SA) available to low-income families within the U.S.

Chavez toured Manhattan and Bronx communities in New York City after he attended the United Nations World Summit. Afterward, Citgo began to work with the nonprofit groups to supply low cost oil to low-income families in New York City, Rhode Island, Vermont and Indian reservations in Maine. A similar offer was made to the Chicago Transit Authority, but was declined by its management.

In a radio interview, Fattah was asked why he was “embarrassing the U.S. government,” since the Bush administration considers Chávez, a socialist, an enemy. “This is not a political matter. We have the ability to keep families in Philadelphia warm. I’m deeply appreciative of this humanitarian gesture,” he said. [15]

Calling on Israeli Govt. to lift Gaza Travel Ban

On Dec. 22, 2009, thirty-three U.S. Representatives wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling on her to request that the Israeli Government end the ban on student travel from Gaza to the West Bank. Chaka Fattah was one of the signatories of the letter.[16] The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.

Supported Lifting the Gaza Blockade

On Jan. 27, 2010, U.S. Representatives Keith Ellison and Jim McDermott led 52 other members of Congress in signing a letter addressed to President Barack Obama, calling for him to use diplomatic pressure to resolve the blockade affecting Gaza. Chaka Fattah was one of the signatories of the letter. [17] The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.

Town Meeting for Jobs Not Wars


A Town Meeting for Jobs Not Wars, was held Saturday, October 30th, 2010, from 9 AM to 3 PM. Community College of Philadelphia, Bonnell Hall, Auditorium BG-10

Speakers were:

CLUW awards

Chaka Fattah, center

On Thursday, June 16th, 2011, the Philadelphia Chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, held their annual Working Women's Awareness Week Awards Reception. Labor Justice Radio, a program of the Media Mobilizing Project, was among the honorees.

A proclamation from U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah and a Citation from State Representative Babette Josephs were also presented to Labor Justice Radio. Other honorees included:

CLUW member, Ellen Slack, of AFSCME Local 590, presented the members of Labor Justice Radio with the award.[19]

CLUW staffer

Coalition of Labor Union Women activist Cindy Bass is a policy formulator and community activist, in Philadelphia. She is the Senior Policy Advisor on Urban and Domestic Policy to Congressman Chaka Fattah.[20]

Sharpton rally

Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network, along with AFSCME and partners in labor, civil rights, and clergy from across the country, held rallies in over 25-cities on December 9th. 2011, to "bring attention to the growing economic disparity in these cities, lack of employment, and equality issues surrounding our current economic state".

The 25-city rallies will call attention to key issues that have not yet been remedied such as the disproportionate layoffs of Blacks, Latinos, and other minority groups, and the growing wealth gap.The rallies will be held in cities that are most impacted by joblessness and attacks on workers’ rights.

Philadelphia speakers were;[21]

Cooperatives conference

The UN designated International Year of Cooperatives was featured at the 4th national worker cooperative conference, June 22-24. 2012, at Northeastern University.

Speakers included Congressman Chaka Fattah , Noemi Gizpenc, Rob Everts, Elizabeth Arredondo and John Langley on such topics as Fair Trade, Foreign Policy and Global Solidarity, and We Bought Our Building Without the Banks.[22]

Lifting travel ban on Cuba

A May 03, 2013 Press release from the radical controlled and Institute for Policy Studies affiliated Latin America Working Group's Cuba Team stated:

Due to your action/emails/phone calls we have 59 signatures from House representatives urging President Obama to support travel to Cuba by granting general licenses for ALL current categories of travel.
By eliminating the laborious license application process, especially for people-to-people groups, that is managed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the majority of the bureaucratic red tape that holds up licensable travel to Cuba would disappear and actually facilitate what the President wanted to see in 2011, liberalized travel regulations.

Signatories included Rep. Fattah.[23]


The following are past and present staff:[24]

External links


  1. PA book libraries bio
  2. PA book libraries bio
  3. PA book libraries bio
  4. PA book libraries bio
  5. [, Nicholas' Hat In The Ring? He Eyes Ed's Seat Amid Skepticism Ads by Google by Cynthia Burton, Daily News Staff Writer Staff writer Dave Davies contributed to this report Posted: March 13, 1995, Nicholas' Hat In The Ring? He Eyes Ed's Seat Amid Skepticism, by Cynthia Burton, Daily News Staff Writer Posted: March 13, 1995]
  6. Democratic Left, July/August 1996, page 21
  7. [1] The Job Creation and Infrastructure Restoration Act of 1997 (H.R. 950)From the New York State Communist Party 16 March 1997, email list, accessed June 14, 2010
  8. [, internetdemocrats1 · Internet Democrats1, National Town Hall Meeting Posted By: impeach_bush@...Mon Jun 4, 2001]
  9. Dem. Left, Summer 2002
  10. DSA website: Members of the Progressive Caucus (archived on the Web Archive website)
  11. Congressional Progressive Caucus website: Caucus Member List
  12. Congressional Black Caucus: Members (accessed on Feb. 24, 2011)
  13. am bio, accessed Dec. 2012
  14. PW, Poor people in the U.S. also benefited from Venezuelan oil, by: Special to, March 11 2013
  15. PW, Venezuelan discounted oil arrives in Philly, by: Rosita Johnson, February 3 2006
  16. John Dingell's House website: Letter to Hillary Clinton, Dec. 22, 2009
  17. The Minnesota Independent: Ellison, McCollum and Oberstar urge Obama to lift Gaza blockade, Jan. 26, 2010 (accessed on March 14, 2011)
  18. [political allies *ActionCalendar: Town Meeting for Jobs Not Wars]
  19. Labor Justice Radio website, Labor Justice Radio Honored with Award from the Coalition of Labor Union Women
  20. Cindy Bass for District Council website
  21. website, National Action Network (NAN), Along With Labor & Civil Rights Leaders To Attack Joblessness & Voter ID Laws That Are Threatening People’s Voter Rights Across the Country on December 9th in 25-City Rally For Jobs & Justice
  22. The Yankee Radical, June/July 2012
  23. Update on Cuba Travel: We Gathered 59 Signatures, The LAWG Cuba Team: Mavis, Emily and Karina on May 03, 2013
  24. Accessed 12/16/2011