STATE HOUSE — Rep. Grace Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence) has issued a statement congratulating Gov. Gina Raimondo for her executive order removing the words “and Providence Plantations” from official state documents.
A member of the Rhode Island Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, Representative Diaz said she was also gratified by the decisions of House and Senate leaders to remove the phrase from legislative documents as well.
“Regardless of the historical context of ‘plantations’ in the 17th century, the plain fact is that today the word conjures hurtful images of the slave plantations of the antebellum South. I supported the ballot initiative to remove the offending word in 2010, even though voters rejected it.
“However, the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police has had a profound effect on all the communities of Rhode Island, galvanizing a movement to at long last address the disparities and injustices that have hurt communities of color for so long. Symbols are an important part of that. And when a symbol causes pain and suffering to a group of people, it’s like a scar that needs to be treated.
“I congratulate and thank Governor Raimondo for taking the step she has taken to treat those wounds. I pray that it’s just the beginning of a long-term effort to right other social, economic and judicial wrongs in this state. And I look forward to working hard to make Rhode Island a better place for communities of color.”