Jim Vincent: 18 Who Made a Difference in 2018

Saturday, December 29, 2018


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Jim Vincent

The longtime head of the Providence NAACP Branch has made GoLocal’s list of those who made a difference in Rhode Island, back in 2014, when he helped lead the fight to reopen the Davey Lopes pool in South Providence. 

Since then, he’s been out front advocating for a number of issues — including the need for diversity among judges in Rhode Island. 

"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 in 2015,  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."

In June 2017, Vincent appeared on GoLocal LIVE where he spoke to Governor Gina Raimondo’s appointment of Melissa Long to the Rhode Island Superior Court, calling it an "excellent choice."

Long, who worked as a legal intern for the United States Court of Federal Claims and then as the Deputy Secretary of State, was at time the only woman of color to serve in the Rhode Island Judiciary; Vincent pointed out Long was only the second woman of color ever appointed as a judge to the Rhode Island Judiciary. 

Fast forward to 2018, and Vincent continued to press for judicial diversity. 

“There are currently two judges of color out of nearly 90 judges and magistrates, in a state that's nearly 30 percent people of color, and that's just not acceptable," Vincent said. "Clearly this isn't representative of the people of Rhode Island." 

"The NAACP has been championing this issue of diversity in the judiciary for years," Vincent said. "We feel that there is an excellent opportunity for the governor to appoint a person of color to the Superior Court, with candidate Maria Deaton, and also on the worker's compensation court with Keith Cardoza." 

In December,  Raimondo announced six judicial nominees she will send to the Senate after session begins in January — and Vincent’s efforts, along with others leading the fight, showed. 

"They'll have the opportunity to set the tone in the courtroom -- of seriousness, humility respect and equality under the law," said Raimondo.  "I'm proud to be appointing one of the most diverse sets of judges one governor has appointed at one time."

They are:
* Keith Cardoza, Jr.
* Susan Pepin Fay
* Melissa DuBose
* Christopher Knox Smith
* Melisa Darigan
* Richard Merola


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