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Elected officials moving swiftly to remove “Providence Plantations” from state name



The steps I am announcing today are just the beginning, and I am fully committed to continuing to work alongside the community in stamping out individual and institutional racism in our state.

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed an Executive Order on Monday removing the phrase “and Providence Plantations” from gubernatorial orders and citations, executive agency websites, official correspondence, and state employee paystubs.

“Our work to dismantle systemic racism in Rhode Island did not start today and it will not end today, but we can rise together and make meaningful progress toward racial equity now,” said Governor Raimondo. “Rhode Island was founded on the principles of acceptance and tolerance, and our state’s name – and actions – should reflect those values. The steps I am announcing today are just the beginning, and I am fully committed to continuing to work alongside the community in stamping out individual and institutional racism in our state.”

The governor also unveiled her “RIse Together vision for a more equitable and resilient Rhode Island” and announced immediate steps her administration will be taking to address some aspects of systemic racism

As part of her ‘RIse Together’ vision, the Governor has:

  • Directed the Department of Administration to institute mandatory implicit bias training for all Executive Branch employees;
  • Directed the Department of Administration to build a plan for more comprehensive equity training;
  • Directed the Rhode Island State Police to form a Community Outreach Team that will be tasked with working with community leaders to find ways for departments to better engage the Rhode Islanders they serve; and
  • Directed Rhode Island State Police Colonel James Manni to develop a plan and explore grants and other funding sources to equip all State Police officers with body cameras, building on the existing efforts within the State Police to increase accountability.

In addition, the Department of Administration is currently undergoing a comprehensive study of all state contracting practices to ensure that minority-owned businesses have an equal shot at procurement opportunities – the first of its kind in 25 years.

Among the people speaking at the press conference was Faith, one of the organizers of the historic youth march for Black Lives on June 6th. She was also a featured speaker at Friday’s Juneteenth rally.

At the same press conference State Senator Harold Metts (Democrat, District 6, Providence) and Representative Anastasia Williams (Democrat, District 9, Providence) announced today that the Rhode Island General Assembly would be removing “and Providence Plantations” from official General Assembly documents.

In a joint statement, President of the Senate Dominick Ruggerio (Democrat, District 4, Providence) and Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello (Democrat, District 15, Cranston) wrote, “We both support placing on the ballot this November the decision whether to remove the word ‘and Providence Plantations’ from the state’s name. In the meantime, we know this is an important issue to a lot of people, so the General Assembly will be removing the reference to ‘Plantations’ from Assembly documents.”

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Metts introduced and the Senate passed a resolution to place a referendum on the November ballot asking voters whether to change the official state name. The proposal would eliminate “and Providence Plantations” from the state’s official name. Representative Williams promised that she would introduce a similar bill in the House.

Earlier in the day Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner announced that his office will remove the words “and Providence Plantations” from the state’s checks. “We will also remove those words from our letterhead, citations, and other Office correspondence,” said Magaziner in a statement, adding, “Besides, everyone calls us just “Rhode Island” anyway.”

On Friday Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza signed a similar executive order for the City of Providence.

Here is the rest of the video from the Governor’s press conference:

Secretary of Health and Human Services Womazetta Jones
Senator Harold Metts
Representative Anastasia Williams
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza
Providence City Council President Sabina Matos
Providence City councilmember Nirva Lafortune (Ward 3)

About the Author

The hardest working news organization in Rhode Island! Uprise RI was founded in 2017 by Steve Ahlquist, and focuses on civil liberties, social justice, and human rights.