Archive for August, 2014

Antiwar activists plan protest to coincide with President Obama’s visit to Rhode Island

When: August 29, 2014 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Where: Burnside Park, Providence, RI
Who: Rhode Island Antiwar Committee; RI Coalition to Defend Human and Civil Rights; Occupy Providence

Rhode Islanders who are not millionaires will have a chance to “speak to” President Obama this Friday, August 29 between 5:00 and 6:30 PM at Burnside Park in downtown Providence. The open-mike rally will draw parallels between U.S. foreign policy and the recent killing of the unarmed African-American, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri. Also included will be calls to: stop police brutality in communities of color from Palestine to Ferguson; end the militarization of our cities; end the war on Gaza and all aid to Israel; end the U.S. military presence in the Middle East; and stop NSA spying on private citizens.

“One reason for our choice of locale,” said Paul Hubbard, spokesperson for the Rhode Island Antiwar Committee (RIAC), “is that President Obama will be fund-raising among the 1% at a secluded ocean-front mansion in Newport. The other 99% of his constituents will probably be unable to catch even a glimpse of him, due to the blocked roads and high security surrounding his brief visit. This situation strikingly symbolizes the truth about which groups the U.S. government is really serving.”

The rally is also calling on Obama to keep his campaign promises and hold out against war hawks trying to escalate the Iraq war and spread it to Syria. “The public – and the media – seem to have forgotten that after the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, the military disarmed the Sunnis first, (debathification) and created a civil war between Sunnis and Shia with the surge of 2007. The years following the U.S. partial withdrawal have been a reaction to that bloodbath, and they show that continued U.S. military action will only bring further resentment, brutal killings, and terrorist attacks,” noted Christopher Murphy, another RIAC member. Instead, RIAC demands that more resources be devoted to solving our many domestic problems. The bombings, invasions, and occupations of countries around the world are an exercise in unchecked U.S. imperialism that primarily benefits privilege-seeking corporations and the military-industrial complex.

However, RIAC notes that Obama recognized overwhelming public opposition to war with Syria last summer and cooperated with Russian President Putin in removing Syrian poison gas stockpiles.

Other sponsoring groups include the RI Coalition to Defend Human and Civil Rights and Occupy Providence.

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What: Planning meeting
Where: Olneyville Neighborhood Association (ONA), 122 Manton Ave., Providence
When: August 27, 6pm

So much resistance every day to police violence and racism – one part of that here in Providence is the struggle to win the Community Safety Act – a city law that would limit the way police can profile, stop, and search people, protect our rights to videotape police, spell out clearer rights for limited English speakers, transpeople, and immigrants, and provide new ways for the community to enforce civil and human rights.

So many people already helped create the ordinance and bring it to City Hall on last June 19th. Now that the craziest part of election season is almost over, we need to get our plans solid for how to convince city council people to pass the Community Safety Act!

What: Vigil
Time: August 22, 2014, 4pm
Place: Exchange Street opposite the Post Office, Providence

Gather on the sidewalk by Burnside Park on Exchange St in Providence at 4pm. We will hold the struggles of all oppressed people, especially those who are subject to police and military violence in the circle. AFSC-SENE will provide signs, but you are welcome to bring your own.

Facebook link is here.

Notes from 8/16/14 meeting of RI Coalition for Human and Civil Rights Rochambeau Library, Providence 1PM

Present: Terry Cummings, Randall Rose, Nick Schmader, Richie Cooke for part of mtg.,Cathy Orloff.

Facilitator: Randall.

Notes: Cathy.

  1. Vigil on Thursday 8/14 downtown Providence, against police brutality and Michael Brown’s shooting in Missouri. Turnout very good, probably more than the 200 reported in ProJo; crowd very nice, mostly young; inter-racial pictures on projo.com very good. Also maybe this event and the one at Brown last fall with the NY Police Commissioner might slow down local police from getting overly abusive with the public? Negatives re: Journal coverage; for one thing it left out a lot of what the speakers said of their personal experiences of police brutality. Also there was no TV coverage. Times are changing: the (corporate-owned) media sometimes totally ignore mass demonstrations. Recently the BBC ignored 20,000 rallying outside its own building! Also FaceBook and Twitter are so popular now, despite their vulnerability to mass surveillance. Maybe more people don’t turn out because even though the events are well-intentioned, the ralliers often have complaints but lack specific proposals, so what was really accomplished? Cathy said she would like to address that more fully and will send a draft to Terry.
  2. Obama-in-RI Aug. 29 Vigil The new RI Anti-War Committee is organizing it; many of us overlap both groups. We also discussed location; 2 seemed for Newport, 1 for Providence and 1 was OK with whatever the larger group decides. Possible locations in Newport were reviewed. What to officially ask for: end NSA spying, end aid to Israel; US drones and troops out of Middle East; end blockade of Gaza. Also reform Wall St. and clean up stock market activities. Also end the war on youth of color; stop torture, close Guantanamo, demilitarize local police forces. ( Perhaps too many demands will be too distracting? ) There’s another RIAntiwar meeting this Wednesday evening 8/20 to continue planning.
  3. RI Constitutional Convention – Whether to have one will be on the Nov. 2014 ballot. If yes, delegates will be elected in 2015; proposed amendments will be voted on in 2016. Groups favoring one: Operation Clean Government; (Common Cause is neutral); some “insiders” like Gary Sasse and former Justice Robert Flanders. RI Taxpayers group. Randall favors it and is working with April Collins and Mike McCarthy to try and put together a platform; he may run as a delegate? Groups against it: Unions, many progressives: Planned Parenthood, Gay Pride, some in the “Democratic elite” ( e.g.House Speaker Mattiello); Tea Party. We decided to have the RICHCR favor having one, but again since our attendance was low today, if anyone has major objections, please post on the listserve.
  4. Senator Dawson Hodgson to attend our meeting? This had been favorably discussed before. He is running against Kilmartin for the Attorney General office. Suggested to invite him to our September meeting, in which case we need a big turnout for that event. The buzz from the Snowden revelations is waning; that may be why our attendance has fallen off? But police militarization issue is also a Rights issue, we can do more with that. Nick volunteered to look into that.
  5. Brown Student Outreach – They have an Activities Fair in their old gym in early September. Maybe we could attend and recruit some students? Also find out if there is a corollary group on campus. Randall, Terry, Richie and Nick may be able to do this.

Note from Cathy – I later realized that we neglected to mention the Aug 5
rally re: RIPTA and Kennedy Plaza – ably organized by Patricia Raub! Also with a decent turnout and good coverage. So it has been a productive month, IMO!!

Next meeting, September 13, probably at Rochambeau library again.

On Thursday, August 8, 2014 people will gather in cities across the country to take part in a national moment of silence for victims of police brutality. Please join us on Finance Way on the grass across from Providence Place Mall at 7:00 PM. The gathering will be to stand in solidarity with recent victims of police brutality and their families and loved ones.

If you can, please bring signs bearing the names of the fallen so that we may honor them and passersby may not forget them. Those who are comfortable with doing so are encouraged to share stories.

To identify each other and show solidarity, wear a red ribbon/cloth/bandana on your right arm at the vigils.

Follow #NMOS14 on twitter to learn more.

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August 16, 2014 — Monthly Meeting

Posted: August 13, 2014 in Meetings
  • Time: Saturday, August 16, 2014, 1pm
  • Location: Rochambeau Library, 708 Hope St, Providence, RI 02906