On Wednesday afternoon dozens of community members and local activists came together at the Rhode Island State House to call for legislative action on the Rescue Rhode Island Act, the local component of a nationwide Green New Deal. The rally was in conjunction with hundreds of other events across the country, as part of a national day of action in support of massive investments in a new green economy for all.
Activists with the Sunrise Movement called on Senators Dawn Euer and Cynthia Armour Coyne to bring the package of bills known as the Rescue Rhode Island Act – which set aside investments in local food, affordable housing, and Green Justice Zones – to the floor of the Senate for a vote. As of April 7, the legislation is sitting in committee and held for further study.
The Rescue Rhode Island Act was written with the concerns of frontline community members centered, and demands immediate action and investment in local food, affordable sustainable housing, and Green Justice Zones.
“We brought our lived experiences to the table to create these policies,” said Monica Huertas, one of the co-chairs of the Renew Rhode Island coalition, about the Rescue Rhode Island Act. “These are our lives, our children, our humanity. We’re the experts in our own communities.”
“We need regular everyday people to be up here (in the State House) fighting for radical change like the Rescue Rhode Island Act,” said Maggie Kain, a candidate for Rhode Island Senate District 37. She called on organizers and activists to run against the politicians who were keeping transformative legislation like the Rescue Rhode Island Act from becoming law.
“Housing is a human right,” said Tarshire Battle, a member of the Renew RI coalition and one of the founders of Roots 2 Empower, an organization dedicated to economic empowerment for people who have been formerly incarcerated
“Rhode Island has a flourishing food economy, and yet we see unacceptable levels of food insecurity and hunger throughout the state,” said Jazandra Barros, with the Southside Community Land Trust.
Sunrise Providence with a song:
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“We need to fight for climate justice,” said Arden Reynolds, a member and leader of Sunrise Providence. “If you block the Rescue RI Act, you show that you are not concerned about climate justice and that you on’t actually care about the lives of your constituents.”
Chanting from Sunrise Providence:
Marco David Carrasco, a Sunrise Providence leader:
Sunrise Providence with a closing song: