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Black Lives Matter RI demands the removal of DHS official in Pawtucket

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Black Lives Matter RI protested outside the Department of Human Services (DHS) offices in Pawtucket Thursday morning to demand the firing of Special Project Supervisor Laura Larrivee and DHS Director Courtney Hawkins.

Larrivee has been the target of outrage and an online petition four about four months now, since posting videos on TikTok that include, per the petition, “disrespectful jabs at planned parenthood, BLM, social inequalities, and police brutality.” As her immediate supervisor, Director Hawkins was also targeted at the protest.

Protesters were reacting to Larrivee’s recent comments, calling for the removal of the Black Lives Matter flag being displayed outside the Barrington Town Hall.

“Let’s put a final nail in the coffin of this enabling of state sanctioned violence, state sanctioned racism, state sanctioned segregation in all of its forms,” Mark Fisher, Senior Director of Black Lives Matter RI, told reporters.

Asked for comment, Alisha Pina, Chief Public Affairs Officer for DHS, wrote, “DHS is committed to diversity, equity and building an environment for our staff to do their best work and for our customers to thrive. We can’t comment on personnel matters.”

Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade. atomicsteve@gmail.com