Press Release

Elected officials speak on AntiRacism Policy Measures in South Kingstown

“[Systemic racism] has harmed members of the South Kingstown community for years, decades, centuries longer than COVID-19 and there is little end in sight to be seen without the hard work and dedication of our community members and officials.” On Thursday, Toward an Antiracist South Kingstown (TASK), held an online public forum with local candidates and elected officials. During the
Photo for Elected officials speak on AntiRacism Policy Measures in South Kingstown

Published on August 21, 2020

The following is a press release and not an Uprise RI-written news story.

“[Systemic racism] has harmed members of the South Kingstown community for years, decades, centuries longer than COVID-19 and there is little end in sight to be seen without the hard work and dedication of our community members and officials.”


On Thursday, Toward an Antiracist South Kingstown (TASK), held an online public forum with local candidates and elected officials. During the proceedings, TASK members shared personal experiences with racism in the South Kingstown community. Attending panelists responded with their vision of a more progressive future for South Kingstown. A second forum is scheduled for Sunday.

https://www.facebook.com/taskrhodeisland/posts/119754703167928

TASK is an organization of local students, teachers, parents, and community members to consolidate equality efforts for Black, Indigenous, and all people of color in South Kingstown. The forum highlighted various issues which affect BIPOC nationally and locally, including affordable housing, public transportation, and unfair schooling policies.

“Slaves were historically called the n-word, but does that mean you should call them that openly in class while discussing slavery?… A solid line needs to be drawn between hurtful and historical,” stated Quiraea Robinson, a Narragansett native, black, and white youth. Robinson spoke to the importance of accurate historical education and cultural literacy in schools for both students and teachers.

“[Systemic racism] has harmed members of the South Kingstown community for years, decades, centuries longer than COVID-19 and there is little end in sight to be seen without the hard work and dedication of our community members and officials,” said Daria-Lyric Montaquila, a Black URI graduate and lifelong Rhode Island resident. She then spoke about the importance of accessible public transportation, “whether it is by design, to limit minority engagement with the South Kingstown community, or by accident, merely lacking the willingness or foresight to acknowledge our marginalized communities, [the bus route] is a design that has failed people of color.”

TASK member and co-founder Mwangi Gitahi, shared “what we hope is that this town can be a model town. We should seize this opportunity and moment of change.” We need to rise to this occasion of change.

Over a dozen panelists, including State Senators and Representatives, Town Councilors, and School Committee Members, and candidates for these offices, responded with a mix of shock, anger, and concern at the stories raised by community members. Many committed to specific policies and all committed to work with TASK, whether elected or not, to continue addressing racism in South Kingstown.

In response to one of the forum questions, Town Council Vice President Bryant Da Cruz stated his opinion that while “affordable housing is really important, I also feel that affordable housing clusters like Champagne Heights and Fournier Estates should have never been created. Affordable housing should be spread out throughout the community, and you shouldn’t be able to tell who’s living in affordable housing and who’s not living in affordable housing.”

TASK will host a second forum with a new round of panelists on Sunday, August 23rd, at 5pm over Facebook Live.


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