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Highway signs reading “Prison is Genocide” and “Gina You’re Killing Us” placed over night

Both signs display paintings of a person behind bars, looking out directly at us. The words are decorated with paintings of the COVID-19 virus.



Two signs, addressed to outgoing Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo were placed on either side of Route 95 early Thursday morning, between the Veterans Memorial Auditorium and the Promenade Apartments. Based on the messaging, the signs appear to have been placed by prison abolitionists imploring Governor to do more, including releasing people from prison, to stop the spread of COVID-19 with the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) and to protect the health and safety of the incarcerated persons under her care.

The signs are similar. Both display paintings of a person behind bars, looking out directly at us. Above the person is a second sign that reads, “Prison is Genocide,” “Gina You’re Killing Us” and “Stop COVID-19.” The words are decorated with paintings of the COVID-19 virus. The sign facing the northbound lane features a person with darker skin, the sign facing the southbound lane features a person with lighter skin.

Advocates for incarcerated people have pushed the Raimondo Administration to take stronger measures at the ACI to prevent the ravages of Covid since the pandemic first hit Rhode Island. They remain critical of Governor Raimondo’s actions, or lack thereof, which they see as not going far enough to protect the health and safety of incarcerated persons. As the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the ACI beginning late last year, the fears of these advocates were validated as two inmates and one prison guard died from the disease. The ACI was reporting near 100% positive cases in some units.

As of this writing no one and no group has taken responsibility for these signs.



UpriseRI has been covering the intersection of the pandemic and the ACI for months. See previous reporting and opens here:

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Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.