Raimondo’s Black History Month Comments Ripped by Former State Rep Rickman

Friday, February 03, 2017


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Ray Rickman

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo's comments on Black History Month released Thursday drew the ire of former State Representative and black historian Ray Rickman.

Raimondo's full statement, which can be seen below, saw the Governor state, "[My] administration will fight every day to work towards real economic opportunity for all in our state who work hard and play by the rules."

"This is a right-wing statement," said Rickman on Thursday. "My reaction was, did she really say this?  In a celebratory message?  It's a subtle criticism probably not known to the writer of the release."

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Raimondo, who recently pledged to increase minority participation in state contracts, has one black senior staff member out of a total of fourteen, and four black cabinet members out of a total of 28.

"She made a statement about increasing minority participation in state government, but I've seen no mechanism, no directives," said Rickman. "If she had any sense, she'd have all the quasi-government agencies in. There are ten things she could have done by now."

But Rickman said he took issue with the "work hard and play by the rules" line he said he has heard used many times before in other contexts -- but not in the recognition of the contribution that black Americans have made to the country. 

"That's a vapid comment with negative overtones in this case," said Rickman. "I'm sure she didn't mean it." 

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