“Unfortunately, my Representative did not commit to making a public statement despite supporting every issue I raised because they were concerned that publicly contradicting the Speaker would have consequences for future legislation.”
Today members of the Sunrise Movement and other local activists took action together to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. Inspired by this historic holiday, Rhode Islanders across the state gathered for a virtual rally, called elected officials, and turned their homes into mini protests demanding their elected officials take action.
Throughout the day, participants hung signs and banners and chalked sidewalks with the message “A Better World is Possible,” also posting their signs online with their demands. Approximately 150 people then called their Representatives and Senators to ask them to express public support for the General Assembly to reconvene to address urgent needs ranging from rent and mortgage relief to criminal justice reform.
Rhode Island resident Sheila Ressenger commented that her Representative stated they were “now in touch with a tech expert who has volunteered to set up a Zoom meeting that will accommodate at least 100 people,” in the hopes they can hold public meetings.
Other Rhode Islanders had different experiences. Ian Lawson stated that he had a pleasant experience speaking with his Representative and that they were “pressing the Speaker to hold the session but that there is not currently a detailed plan for how to hold session safely.” Lawson commented further that, “Unfortunately, my Representative did not commit to making a public statement despite supporting every issue I raised because they were concerned that publicly contradicting the Speaker would have consequences for future legislation.”
“It was frustrating to hear my Representative say that Governor Raimondo is doing a great job with the recovery process and that relief is already coming to workers who have lost their jobs and to folks who are incarcerated,” said Sunrise Providence member Emma Bouton. “But what’s been done is clearly not enough to protect Rhode Island’s most vulnerable residents and to leave the state more resilient in the future. It’s clear to me after speaking with her that we need to keep up the pressure for the General Assembly to reconvene.”
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Every day our General Assembly does not meet Rhode Islanders are bearing the weight of this pandemic and living in fear for their futures. That’s why Sunrise Providence, RI Working Families Party, Providence DSA, and other groups, will continue to keep up the pressure on the General Assembly’s leadership until a just and sustainable recovery plan is in place.