Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 07-02-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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10 OPINION JULY 2-8, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER EDITION I, for one, am glad to see that the governor is removing "Providence Plantations" from state sta- tionery, paychecks, etc. Yes, I am aware that its initial history had nothing to do with slavery, but the reality is that meanings change, particularly when they become intertwined with subsequent reality. In far too short a time this state became steeped in slavery from trade to farms, so the meaning carries connota- tions of a dark history for this country and the state. This is not a case where a recent letter to the editor (Providence Journal 6/24/20) wrote "If we do away with everything that anyone finds offensive, there will be nothing left." A remind- er of the murder, rape of black women, subjugation of human beings, beatings, etc., is hardly a slight. seems to confirm that I am 97 percent Irish. I'm not crazy about being called a "mick" but wouldn't deck somebody. I would take more offense if a statue was erected of a prominent "know-nothing" adherent like 13th President Millard Fillmore, on Broad Street in Providence where a mob tried to attack the Sisters of Mercy who resided there. They had incurred their wrath because the nuns were teaching the Irish children of the "human chimpanzees" (Charles Kingsley). To suggest that the removal of Confederate generals' statues and Confederacy flags is to desecrate history is either incredibly naive or racist. They belong in museums or textbooks about the Civil War. To enshrine them in the center of a city clearly messages a white supremacy message. The South lost. In a real world we shouldn't lionize people who lost their crusade of hate. Most Americans cheered when the Saddam Hussein statue was toppled in Iraq but see no correla- tion to enshrining bigots in this country. While I am at it let me aggravate some of you even more by suggest- ing that women are missing from the "statue" depart- ment. War is glorified even when the men lost the battle but Harriet Tubman can't get on American cur- rency. Racism not only pervades who gets honored by whom but also shows itself insidi- ously in 2020. When $34 million was paid for the Convention Center "field hospital retrofit' not one penny went to any minor- ity businesses. Isn't this "overlook" prejudice? The governor "excused' the lack of minority work by saying it was an "emergency," yet, even assuming arguendo it was, why weren't any black contractors on her Rolodex? Now there is a vacancy on the Rhode Island Supreme Court and it seems that a white legisla- tor has the job all sewed up with the governor's appointees on the Ethics Board voting to allow the candidacy despite the staff recommendation that it violated the revolving door rule. It's easy to pontificate about justice in changing stationery since taxpayers foot that bill but to barter away the appointment of a political ally is something else. There is a surfeit of competent black lawyers who could fill that spot so the court reflects the soci- ety over which it rules, but the failure of appointing a minority black or Hispanic crystallizes again that a power post won't be theirs. It would be important if the governor and judi- cial screening committee exhibit real commitment to equality. Let's see. Violet is an attorney and for- mer state attorney general. Racism is not always blatant "We did this event and (pre- viously) we told some stake- holders about it. But let me tell you who we didn't tell. We didn't tell politicians because we didn't want (the message) to be clouded. We needed to come out with a direct state- ment." Bold words last week offered in my radio interview with Sid Wordell, former Little Compton police chief and now executive director of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association while discussing a news-breaking presentation last week. In the immediate aftermath of the George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks tragedies, the collective police chiefs in Rhode Island issued Twenty for 2020. It begins with a statement of principles, the first being: Acknowledgement About the Realities of Police Brutality in the World. Read that slowly to yourself. That's just not easy to do. But they did it. In writing. And with it are principles of defending the profession and commitment to improving training standards. They've packed in a lot. Included is the idea that the police "Bill of Rights" law be updated. Today in Rhode Island, if, God forbid, some officer acted like Derrick Chauvin spending eight min- utes and 46 seconds with a knee in George Floyd's neck, there would be no provi- sion for an immediate firing. Chauvin, of course, was ter- minated immediately and our country's reaction was immedi- ate and traumatic. Can you imagine here, with an imme- diate maximum short-term suspension, what kind of hell could break loose? To be clear, this is police management talking, not the rank and file. The chiefs, the vast majority of whom have come up through the ranks, have been looking for more authority to pierce the "blue wall" with more transparent discipline for years. Always buried in the legislature for further study and even now with a new higher-powered "study commission," the chiefs have taken a different route. Skip the politicians and their angles and deals, at least to start, and go direct to the people. You owe it to yourself to read the twenty promises. Burrillville finds new Sanctuary issue Meanwhile last week, one local chief is likely keeping his headache meds close. Burrillville's Stephen Lynch said all the right things about enforcing the state COVID guidelines that have the effect of law amidst his town council's declaration of "First Amendment Sanctuary." A year from the momentum of its "Second Amendment Sanctuary" declaration, the council is once again fighting back against, well, Gina and her "rules." The Town Council voted 5-2 to not fund its police to enforce the rules. But the chief explained that his depart- ment would enforce state law. Truth is, the curve-lowering and other restrictions installed by the governor have been remarkably mostly executed by the public without polic- ing drama while the movie in the heads of local elected Trumpers plays on. No Fourth of July fireworks gatherings I'm really going to miss that traffic on Mendon Road on the third and Old River Road on the Fourth. Memo to the folks out there who think they instead deserve a month-long homegrown and quite illegal private fireworks operation: Not sure what you're actual- ly celebrating or why it charg- es you up. There are plenty of sleep-deprived families and their animals holed up in bath- tubs shaking in fear who are asking the same. Please knock it off. May we find a safe, sane way to celebrate our indepen- dence this year while we keep washing our hands and wear- ing our masks. I'm hoping we don't need the earplugs. Dan Yorke is the PM Drive Host on 99.7/AM 630 WPRO, Dan Yorke State of Mind weeknights on MyRITV/Fox Providence and owns communications/crisis con- sulting firm DYCOMM LLC. Chiefs take bold stand with Twenty for 2020 Poli-Ticks ARLENE VIOLET DAN YORKE Founded in 1956 by The Burgess Family Volume LXV, Number 18 July 2, 2020 @ Observer THE VALLEY BREEZE & ABOUT US The Valley Breeze Newspapers are a locally operated group of free weekly newspapers serving the people of Cumberland, Lincoln, North Smithfield, Woonsocket, Smithfield, Scituate, Foster, Glocester, North Providence, Pawtucket, R.I., and Blackstone, Mass. Each Thursday, 58,500+ copies are distributed to retailers, banks, offices, and restaurants and other busy spots. Circulation is audited by the Circulation Verification Council of St. Louis, Mo. and has earned its "Gold Standard Award." OUR MISSION It is the Mission of The Valley Breeze to facilitate a positive sense of community among the res- idents of Northern Rhode Island by providing a forum for the free exchange of ideas, and to provide information of local events and neighbors. It is our further Mission to provide the highest quality advertising at the lowest possible cost to retailers, professionals, tradespersons, and other service providers in order to enhance the economic well-being of our community. James Quinn, Deputy Publisher Jack Birolini, Director of Sales Ethan Shorey, Managing Editor Barbara Phinney, Controller

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