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Rhode Island

DHL Strikers Pepper Sprayed, Arrested On Picket Line In Rhode Island

Pawtucket, Rhode Island - Police arrested DHL strikers on the picket line in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, on September 9, as the strike by local delivery drivers entered its 12th week. About 70 delivery drivers struck on June 22 against Northeast Transportation Services, a contracted provider of international logistics giant DHL. The workers are demanding wages to keep up with the cost of living, affordable health care, retirement benefits and safety issues. Northeast has hired scabs, who are reportedly being paid $55 an hour, with DHL drivers earning only $18 an hour on average. Pawtucket police and Teamsters Local 251 confirmed the arrest of five people outside the DHL Express ServicePoint. The arrests took place as 50 to 60 protesters approached a gate which opens onto Concord Street, Teamsters business agent Thomas Salvatore told The Providence Journal.

‘Affordable’ For Whom?

Providence, Rhode Island - Around 90 people gathered in Burnside Park in Providence, Rhode Island on Sept. 1 to protest a development plan for so-called “affordable” housing. The plan would give millions in government subsidies and tax breaks to a private real estate developer to convert The Industrial National Bank Building into luxury apartments. Like the rest of the country, Rhode Island is in the midst of a statewide housing crisis where truly affordable housing is almost impossible to find, and evictions and rent hikes run rampant. Protesters called on the government to fund public, affordable homes while protesting the gross misuse of a building which could house hundreds of families.

Tackling The Housing Crisis With Public Power

Rhode Island - In June, Rhode Island passed a $10 million pilot program that will use COVID-19 stimulus money to build mixed-income public housing. By acting as a public developer itself, Rhode Island would be the only state to acquire its own land and build housing directly, cutting out profit-gouging developers — a model approach for the rest of the country amid a housing crisis that has only grown more dire since the start of the pandemic. The state’s pilot housing program is already shaking things up at the local level. On Monday, Providence mayoral candidate Gonzalo Cuervo added a municipal public developer plan to his housing policy platform as Reclaim RI — the progressive organizing group that backed the state’s pilot program — endorsed his campaign. Cuervo also adopted a rent stabilization plan that would institute a four percent cap on year-over-year rent increases.

Four People Arrested At Invesco’s Shareholders’ Meeting In Atlanta

Yesterday afternoon people interrupted and disrupted Invesco‘s annual shareholders’ meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. Invesco responded by dragging them out of the meeting. A crowd rallied outside of the shareholders’ meeting calling for Invesco to end their investments in the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls, Rhode Island. The protest ended with four people being arrested. The Wyatt has faced controversy and ongoing protests after signing a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2019, allowing the Wyatt to detain people on behalf of the agency. After this contract was signed, widespread community opposition led the board overseeing the Wyatt to cancel the agreement with ICE.

New Reparations Focus: Black Enclaves Lost To Development

Providence, Rhode Island - Terrell Osborne knows well what happens when urban renewal comes to communities of color. As a child growing up in Providence, Rhode Island, in the 1950s and 1960s, huge swaths of his neighborhood of Lippitt Hill, a center of Black life at the foot of the stately homes of the city’s elite East Side, were taken by eminent domain for redevelopment projects. Hundreds of Black families and dozens of minority small businesses across some 30 acres were bulldozed. In their place rose an apartment complex catering to downtown workers and students and faculty at nearby Brown University, as well as a shopping plaza now anchored by a Whole Foods and a Starbucks. Meanwhile, Black families like the Osbornes were scattered across the city and never compensated.

Burrillville Power Plant Blocked By RI Regulators

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — After more than two years of widespread debate, state regulators on Thursday rejected a $1 billion proposal to build a gas-fired power plant in Burrillville. The three-member Energy Facility Siting Board, which oversees all major energy developments across the state, unanimously voted against the proposal by Invenergy to build what would have become the largest power plant in Rhode Island. The board determined Invenergy failed to prove the plant was needed.

Professors Protest At Community College In RI

For some time now, I have argued that neoliberalism as a system of governance has a talent for co-opting the vocabulary and grammar of Left-leaning projects so to further their own designs for those they govern. This was brought home to me on January 2, 2019 at a picket line held by the faculty of the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) expressing their opposition to J-Term, a project forced on the college by the administration that broke norms of shared governance, involved dubious processing of paperwork in relation to the Curriculum Review Committee, and portends an erosion of an educational institute in Rhode Island that has been a major pillar for working class, African American, and Latinx students for decades.

Housing Activist Asata Tigrai On Gentrification In Providence

By Andrew Stewart for Rhode Island Media Cooperative - Though she is not the tallest person in Providence, one local housing advocate casts a long shadow in her fight against gentrification. The following is a case study of that urban phenomenon that is intended to center her voice in the discourse and emphasize how important it is to provide such venues. In a very broad sense, any sort of journalism that deals with gentrification as an urban phenomenon requires a significant understanding of the process’s political economy and how that informs an understanding of not just a financial dimension but also the geographic and political spheres. Putting it another way, a proper reporter on the issue of gentrification must account for the behavior of landed capital that finances the process, the space in which the process takes place, and the elected officials who pass laws and statutes that permit the process to move forward. Ergo reporting on gentrification in Providence requires a firm connection to both local populations impacted as well as the utility of public records that can illuminate the inner workings of the process and its sponsorship on the state and local level by public and private capital.

A Municipal Vote In Providence For Police Reform Carries National Implications

By Shahid Buttar for EFF - After three years of sustained community mobilization and advocacy, the Providence City Council in Rhode Island voted this Thursday to unanimously approve among the most visionary set of policing reforms proposed around the country to protect civil rights and civil liberties, including digital liberties. EFF supported the proposed Community Safety Act (CSA), and its adoption represents a milestone that should prompt similar measures in other jurisdictions. Reflecting an understanding of of how many different communities endure parallel—but seemingly separate—violations of civil rights and civil liberties, the CSA aims to address surveillance alongside racial and other dimensions of discriminatory profiling. The ordinance imposes crucial limits on police powers at a time when local police have become the leading edge of mass surveillance, as well as longstanding abuses of civil rights and digital liberties rooted in the war on drugs. The most notable facet of the CSA is its sheer breadth. It addresses a wide-ranging set of issues in a single reform measure.

Power Plant Battle Follows Governor Raimondo To Washington D.C.

By Steve Ahlquist for RI Future - Lee Stewart entered the JPM Chase United States Capitol Visitor Center in Washington DC and followed the signs to the forum. When he got to the desk, he asked if he could attend, even though he hadn’t pre-registered. The people at the desk registered him and gave him a name tag. Stewart then found the room where Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo was sharing the stage with Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA); Governor Mary Fallin (R-OK) and Michael Bloomberg and sat down and waited. When Raimondo began to speak Stewart stood up and said, “Governor Raimondo, I have a a very simple message for you from the people of Rhode Island...

National Grid Wants RI Ratepayers To Guarantee Its Profits

By Steve Ahlquist for RI Future - National Grid is requesting that the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission(RIPUC) approve a 20-year gas capacity contract” withAlgonquin Gas Transmission Company LLC(Algonquin) for natural gas transportation capacity and storage services onAlgonquin’s Access Northeast Project (ANE Project).” The multinational energy conglomerate not only wants Rhode Island ratepayers to subsidize the construction of fracked gas infrastructure, they want consumers to ensure that the project is profitable for the company.

Rhode Island Activists Intervene In Invenergy Power Plant Construction

By Peter Nightingale for RI Future - During the last two days activists filed rebuttals with the Energy Facility Siting Board as they contest Invenergy’s attempt to suppress public input on its proposal to build a fracked-gas power plant proposal. In a press release late last month Fossil Free Rhode Island cited as reasons for filing a motion for intervention with the Board: The construction of the proposed power plant —part of the energy policy of team Raimondo— would slow down the transition to renewable energy.

Community United Against FERC Facility

By Steve Ahlquist for RI Future - No one spoke in favor of the project, but more than 100 people packed the room and 33 people spoke against National Grid‘s plan to build a $100 million methane gas liquefaction facility in Fields Point in South Providence before representatives of FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), the agency tasked with the job of approving or disapproving the project. One after another speakers from the affected community, environmental activists, concerned Rhode Islanders and elected members of the General Assembly spoke passionately about negative environmental impacts and the explicit environmental racism implicit of National Grid’s plan.
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