Openly gay Pennsylvania State Representative (181st District-North Philadelphia), Malcolm Kenyatta is one of 17 rising Democratic stars, and one of three gay lawmakers chosen by Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden to deliver the keynote address during day two of the Democratic National Convention.
Kenyatta made history as the first openly gay Black politician elected to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. His pre-recorded speech will air on Tuesday night during the virtual convention originally scheduled to be held in Milwaukee before the coronavirus pandemic.
Kenyatta shared his reaction on Twitter to Biden's decision to select him to speak, saying "honored is an understatement."
In an interview with the The Philadelphia Inquirer, Kenyatta marvel's at his arrival on the DNC national stage from such humble beginnings.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever get over the fact that a poor, black, gay kid from North Philly is about to be on this stage. And obviously it’s a bunch of us and it’s prerecorded, but I think that’s the reality — there isn’t just one future leader, there are a bunch of people at all different levels of government who are stepping up to do a bunch of different things.
“My hope is that I can be the role model that I didn’t have growing up. That there’s some gay kid watching somewhere who’s like, ’You know what ... I can do that too.‘”
On his political career and early support of Joe Biden:
“It’s not lost on me that every time I walk into the House chamber, I’m one of the youngest members, one of only two members who openly identifies as LGBTQ, the only one who is a person of color. I grew up in a working family, so I come in with a perspective that is not common in the place that I work.
“So often, working people and young people, we’re asked to work on other people’s campaigns, we’re asked to wait our turn, but I think the time for turns is over.”
Is Joe Biden a working person? Tell me why you chose to back Biden shortly after he got into the race.
“That is one of the reasons. He grew up in a very working-class family; he was the poorest member of Congress. He is someone who I felt really possessed the character, confidence, and compassion that we needed in this moment.
”Yes, I have an incredibly progressive voting record. There are areas where I would support a more aggressive approach, but I think one of the things I love about Joe Biden is that he really listens. I introduced a bill called ‘Philip’s Law,’ about a young boy in my district, 11 years old, who died by suicide. Suicide prevention is deeply emotional to me. [The bill] would require schools to report a ratio of how many mental health professionals we have per student. I talked to Biden about this in New Hampshire.... He made it part of his LGBTQ plan.”
Watch Kenyatta in an impassioned speech on the General Assembly Floor below:
Day two of the Democratic National Convention begins at 9pm EST on all major networks and online.