Art Haywood was raised by his mother, a public-school teacher, who instilled in him the value of hard work and getting a quality education. He began working at the age of nine as a newspaper delivery boy.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree and graduating Magna Cum Laude from Morehouse College, Art went on to attend the London School of Economics as a Marshall Scholar to complete his master’s degree, and then graduated from the University of Michigan Law school in 1985.
Art began working at Community Legal Services, saving families from home foreclosure. He also worked at Regional Housing Legal Services, and in private practice as a lawyer, assisting nonprofit organizations to revitalize neighborhoods. Art has previously served as legal counsel to Esperanza, a community development organization in the Hunting Park section of North Philadelphia.
In 2009, Art was inspired by President Barack Obama to run for township commissioner in Cheltenham. He won that election, and his work as commissioner included divesting pension money from gun-makers, starting the Sustainable Cheltenham initiative, and creating a non-discrimination ordinance for sexual orientation and gender identity. After serving as President of the Board of Commissioners in Cheltenham, he was elected State Senator for the 4th district in 2014.
Through his leadership as a State Senator, Art has worked to reduce homelessness through expansion of the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Act, passed requirements to test for lead in water in Pennsylvania schools, and successfully championed legislation to relocate domestic violence survivors living in public housing.
Art completed his Poverty Listening Tour in 2019 and issued a report with 20 recommendations to reduce poverty in every community of Pennsylvania. In 2020, he fought for $193 million in federal CARES Act funds to be allocated to prevent evictions, foreclosures, and homelessness in Pennsylvania during the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2020, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency awarded Art the Award of Excellence for his advocacy for affordable and fair housing and homelessness prevention.
Art is the author of Campaigns for COMPASSION: A Story of Community Change, published in January 2021. The Arc of Pennsylvania honored him with their 2021 “Legislator of the Year” award for demonstrating exceptional leadership in addressing the needs of Pennsylvanians with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
In February 2021, Governor Tom Wolf appointed Art to his COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force to improve the vaccine distribution in Pennsylvania. City & State Magazine listed him on the Pennsylvania Healthcare Power 100 List in their July 2021 issue for his work as the minority chair of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee and member of the task force.
Most recently, Art organized with African American college students to end campus racism at Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education universities. He was instrumental in the state legislature passing $200 million for PASSHE, which includes funding for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This will ensure the safety and success of Black, Brown, and White students on the 14 college campuses.
Art has three adult children and resides in Wyncote with his wife for 30 years, Julie.