Last year, shortly after the Presidential Election, around a thousand people gathered in the cafeteria of Hope High School in Providence to discuss strategies “of self-defense and liberation under President Trump.”

Over the next year, Resist Hate RI, under the leadership of founders Representative Aaron Regunberg (Democrat, District 4, Providence), Georgia Hollister-Isman and Laufton Ascencao, worked to blunt the worst effects of the so-called Trump agenda, but also widened its focus to take on the systemic problems that led to the election of a figure like Trump in the first place. Resist Hate RI helped to embolden Rhode Island’s congressional delegation to take a strong position against Trump. Resist Hate RI organized rallies and helped to resist the two attempts by a Republican-controlled Congress to repeal the ACA, aka Obamacare. Resist Hate RI also mobilized fantastic turnouts at the Rhode Island State house to support important progressive legislation.

The group has encountered some criticisms. Its top down organizational structure and lack of democratic access for one, and its overwhelming sense of East Side whiteness for another. Over the last year Resist Hate RI has made some efforts to address both these issues, with limited success.

Walter Anthony Jr

Now in its second year and as part of an effort to address the issue of top-down leadership, the group met at St Martin’s Episcopal Church in Providence to discuss the future. About 150 people attended. Organizers promised to be responsive to the interests of volunteers. They wanted to get a sense of what issues those in attendance were interested in tackling. Attendees were encouraged to list the issues most important to them on index cards. Then the attendees broke up into discussion groups to get an idea of how people felt Resist hate RI should move forward.

Steering Committee member Walter Anthony Jr introduced the Resist Hate RI Statement of Purpose:

“Resist Hate RI brings Rhode Islander together to fight for racial, economic, environmental and social justice, and against the Trump agenda. We provide a doorway to activism, community-building, education and opportunities for collective action to combat systemic oppression.”

This statement was worked out by the steering committee. Some in the audience suggested their interest in wordsmithing the statement.

The hard working Steering Committee members present were Walter Anthony Jr, Justin Boyan, Kyle Stumpe, and Jane Tucker. Kate Vander Wiede, Raul Figueroa, Carlos Torres, Georgia Hollister-Isman, Laufton Ascencao and Abby Godino are also on the steering committee.

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Jessica H Sherwood
Jessica H Sherwood

Sherwood here. (Wow, I even get a tag!) I am not on the RHRI Steering Committee, although I sometimes act like it. Steve, thanks as always for your coverage.