In Disappointing News, Providence City Council Postpones Voting On The Community Safety Act

28 Apr

Providence City Council Meeting Community Safety ActLast week there was excitement from Providence, Rhode Island community members over the fact that the City Council, in a preliminary vote, voted yes to pass The Community Safety Act (CSA), an act designed by community members to protect communities of color, and individuals, from acts of police racial profiling, and use of excessive force. Three years in the making, the CSA, had the backing of Mayor Jorge Elorza, who said he would sign the bill into action once passed by the City Council.  Last night, in what angered, and deeply upset those in support of the CSA, was the hedging of City Council members, believed to be both intimidated and pressured by the Police Department, and the Attorney General, who do not want to see the bill passed. The City Council voted to table the bill until June so that it can be reviewed once more.

Please read the RI Future post for it’s excellent coverage of the City Council meeting.  I am not surprised by the snippets of conversation I have heard this week in my workplace by some people who see this as a divisive, if you are for the CSA, you are against cops, matter. “I heard the mayor is passing a bill so that police can’t ask for identification if they have probable cause to stop a vehicle…” and “stay out of’s not going to be safe anymore…” There is also an on-line article floating around on social media written by a police organization on how the “mayor is allowing criminal and thugs to have free reign over the city..” Not surprised anymore about the ways people flip the script, and would rather perpetuate racist policing policies, instead of seeing the horrific impact racism has on community of colors and policing, or understand the mission of the CSA to give equal, dignified, respectful protection to all of our city’s citizens, and to build positive police and community member relationships. The relationship between police and communities of color have been doomed to fail given the systems of white supremacy that created segregated low-income neighborhoods through discriminatory housing laws, and have created and perpetuated myths of these neighborhoods as filled with drug dealers, thugs, and gang members. If only we looked at the conditions that have blocked individuals in these communities from having access to safe housing, quality public schools, employment opportunities, and opportunities to build wealth, then we’d see how important it is to change the way policing happens in these neighborhoods. Then we’d see just how badly we need the Community Safety Act to pass.

Thank you, again, Steve Ahlquist, over at RI Future for this coverage of last night’s City Council meeting.



Photo Credit: RI Future




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