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Rhode Island’s Nonprofit of the Year 2015

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

 

In a year that saw #BlackLivesMatter at the center of discussion and debate in Rhode Island, the NAACP Providence Branch served as both an advocate and voice of reason.  It may be over a hundred years old, but the NAACP is just as relevant and important now as at any point in history.  

One of the biggest issues on race occurred in the state in October, when the story that GoLocal first broke of a Dunkin’ Donuts working writing #blacklivesmatter on a Providence Police officer’s cup went national — and the conversation, and debate, ensued around the BlackLivesMatter movement. 

Retired Providence “Dancing Cop” Tony Lepore, Sr. called BlackLivesMatter a “radical organization” — but NAACP Providence Branch President Jim Vincent had a different perspective on the movement. 

The reason why we have 'Black Lives Matter' -- it's because it doesn't seem like our lives matter," said Vincent. “Saying "all lives matter' is a way to avoid the topic. So why can't someone say 'Black Lives Matter, and once we've established that we can go and say 'all lives matter." But first we need do say, and agree -- Black Lives Matter."

Addressing Equality Issues

Jim Vincent

One of the biggest issues that the NAACP continued to work on in 2015 was diversity in the workforce and leadership ranks in Rhode Island, from the Governor’s office, to the Providence Police Department, to the judicial benches of the state’s court system. 

When Governor Gina Raimondo took office this past January, Vincent and the NAACP were among the first to decry the lack of diversity in her staffing decisions.  

"I'm very fond of the Governor, but that does not mean we can't push and hold people accountable," said Williams.  "I think she's a maverick, and the right person to move the state's economic agenda forward.  But when your Chief of staff, Deputy Chiefs of Staff, and top level staff comprise a relatively homogeneous group of people, it shows as a state we tend to be paternalistic."

In 2015, the NAACP Providence Branch along with community leader Kobi Dennis started the “Black Major Movement” to try and get an officer of color appointed to the leadership ranks in the Providence police force. 

"Providence police do not have a black officer above the rank of Sergeant and they have just one black female -- period," said Vincent in May. “The lack of diversity makes those jobs for those officers harder.  We see what happens when there's not a diversity in leadership -- Ferguson is a prime example.” 

Of the judgeships in the state, Vincent has the following to say. 

"People of color represent over 25% of Rhode Islanders, yet the number of judges and magistrates of color could fit into my car," said Vincent of the more than 80 judges and magistrates in the state's judicial system.  "We need a [judicial] system at the highest ranks that reflects the diversity of our population here in the state."

Vincent and the NAACP interceded on behalf of a Black pastor Chris Abuhlime, when he said he was having trouble in the Town of Johnston trying to get a new church established there. 

“I contacted Jim Vincent with the NAACP to try and intervene, but he’s not getting anywhere with the city, either,” said Abhulime. " I told him we’re being treated differently — we just need someone to speak for us.  Maybe others went through the same thing.  The way we’ve been treated is not right.”

Focus on Youth

Providence NAACP youth taking part in America's Journey for Justice

The NAACP Youth Branch leader Pilar McCloud was recognized at one of “15 Who Made a Difference in 2015” by GoLocal.  

She helped lead the NAACP Providence Youth Council at this year's Journey for Justice in Washington, DC.  She was awarded the Providence NAACP Rosa Parks Award for 2015. She received the National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion Award given to recognize outstanding public service and civic engagement.  

McCloud earned much deserved recognition for constantly being involved with issues close to the community, whether it was weighing in on a controversial rapper coming to Rhode Island, spearheading the #nomore social media campaign, or organizing rallies for youth, McCloud's high energy leadership is felt throughout the city.

"My feeling is that I felt that it was important for NAACP Providence branch to have the right person to be the leader of our youth council -- I'm happy I've found the right person," said Jim Vincent, President of the NAACP Providence Branch.

 

Related Slideshow: GoLocal’s Top 15 Stories of 2015

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#15

Johnston Blocks Black Church Says Reverend, City Official Calls Him “F___ing Black Owner”

In a video tape exclusively obtained by GoLocalProv, a Johnston town official is heard making a racially charged statement regarding a church pastor’s attempts to rehabilitate a historic church in town — and the reverend is calling the town’s treatment of his efforts racist. (Starting at the 2:25 mark of the video).

In a meeting with his supervisor and the contractor on the project that was taped, Johnston building inspector Ben Nascenzi can be heard referring to Reverend Dr. Chris Abhulime as “the fucking black owner” of the former historic Belknap Church.

Read the story here.

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#14

Top 20 Salaries in Governor Raimondo's Office

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In total, a recent Access to Public Records Act (APRA) request shows that the recently selected staff of 30 has a salary range between $35,756 and $167,118.

See the salaries here.

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#13

EXCLUSIVE: New PawSox Stadium Location Emerges in Providence

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The eight-acre parcel at the location of the former Victory Plating company offers a number of potential benefits over the park land proposed by the new ownership group of the Pawtucket Red Sox.  Jim Skeffington,

President of the PawSox, has been asking for state for highly valuable land as part of $120 million in concessions the PawSox are demanding from the state of Rhode Island and the City of Providence.

Read the story here.

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#12

Prov. Municipal Judge Caprio's Cars Registered in Narragansett

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The six vehicles include: two Mercedes, two Lincolns, and Infinity G37 and a Toyota Highlander and all of the vehicles are late model. 

Combined, Caprio’s vehicles are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and by registering them in Narragansett versus his claimed home in Providence he has saved tens of thousands of dollars over the past few years.

Read the story here. 

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#11

EXCLUSIVE: President's Daughter Malia is Scheduled to Tour Brown Next Week

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According to press sources, she has previously visited NYU, Columbia, Stanford and Cal Berkley. 

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Read the story here

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#10

Rhode Island’s 50 Wealthiest and Most Influential - 2015 Edition

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This list is not of simply those with the greatest wealth. Or those with political muster - this list are those exclusive few who have the combination of both.

Represented are many of the public business leaders of Rhode Island - and some are more private - but all get their phone calls returned. 

Read the story here.

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#9

50 RI School Cafeterias with the Most Health Code Violations 

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Inspectors noted at some cafeterias observations that included lack of adequate hand washing facilities, accumulation of food and debris on equipment, improper food storage -- and open holes in doors and flooring, which is an infraction under "insects, rodents, and animals not present."

Read the story here.

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#8

Big Radio Companies Facing Bankruptcy - WPRO and WHJY’s Parent Co’s in Financial Turmoil

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The two biggest radio companies in the United States are on the verge of massive restructuring or bankruptcy, as they each have billions of dollars in debt and little chance of managing the building financial obligations.

How bad is the situation?  According to one leading radio analyst, the problem is catastrophic.  “$20.5 billion in debt for iHeart — billions more than the city of Detroit when it went bankrupt."

Read the story here.

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#7

EXCLUSIVE: Star RI Startup Nabsys Closes in Providence

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Read the story here.

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#6

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Read the story here.

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#5

Providence Pension Watchdog Riley Releases Report, Calls for More Answers

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Writes Riley in his report, "Providence, Rhode Island is misleading its municipal bond investors and has been for as many as 20 years. Misleading municipal bond Investors is a violation of Federal securities laws."

Read the story here.

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#4

EXCLUSIVE: Dunkin' Donuts Worker Writes '#BlackLivesMatter' on Police Officer's Cup

A Providence Police officer went to purchase a coffee on Friday night and his cup had a message from the Dunkin' Donuts employee writen on the cup, "#BlackLivesMattter."

The event happened at the Dunkin' Donuts located on Atwells Avenue at the corner of Bradford Street. William "Billy" O'Donnell posted a picture of the cup and a description of the events.

Read the story here.

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#3

The Top High Schools in Rhode Island 2015

The grades are in — GoLocalProv’s sixth annual Top High Schools in Rhode Island has determined that East Greenwich is head of the class for 2015.

Based on a formula developed at Babson College to assess and weight each school's latest NECAP and SAT scores, plus per pupil funding, student-teacher ratios, and graduation rates, GoLocal has provided a comprehensive performance list of the state's public, charter, and technical high schools. 

Read the story here.

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#2

Providence's Dancing Cop Denied Holiday Work Over #BlackLivesMatter Comments

Providence's Dancing Cop has been denied the chance to dance this season by the City of Providence, following his outspoken comments after a Dunkin' Donuts worker wrote "BlackLivesMatter" on a police officer's cup. 

Retired Providence Police officer Tony Lepore, Sr, who usually "dances" during the holiday season in the city, provided the following message on his Facebook page after meeting with the City. 

Photo/Flickr: Jef Nickerson

Read the story here.

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#1

Moses Brown Cancels School for Blizzard Juno with Hilarious Video

Moses Brown Head of School Matt Glendinning took to YouTube for a special message to the students of the Providence prep school to announce a school closure due to snow. Set to the tune of Frozen's "Let it Go", here's Glendinning's rendition of "School is Closed."

See the video here.

 
 

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