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Thursday, June 11, 2020

Hundreds march in South Kingstown because Black Lives Matter

Most of South County, except Charlestown, have come out for Black Lives Matter

A youth led and organized protest/march drew between 4 and 500 people in South Kingstown Tuesday afternoon. The rally started at Old Mountain Field, with sign holding along the road. Then the march began, a brisk walk through South Kingstown that made a loop back to the start. 

Along the walk people in cars honked and waved in solidarity, people emerged from their homes to cheer the march on. Back at Old Mountain Field, the rally took a knee in the road for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time a Minneapolis police officer kept his knee of the neck of George Floyd, ending the man’s life.

Since Floyd’s death, rallies and marches have been staged across the country and throughout Rhode Island, calling for an end to the police murder of Black people.

EDITOR'S NOTE: While nearly every other town in South County has taken some tangible action to memorialize the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing international protests against racism, Charlestown remains conspicuously silent. 

About the only related action by the town has been to adopt the town budget concocted by the ruling Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party) that continues to pay a $24,000 annual retainer to attorney Joe Larisa. Larisa's sole function for Charlestown is to monitor the Narragansett Indian Tribe and block any action they undertake. When his "monitoring" leads to legal activity on his part, he gets to bill us extra.

Narragansett Tribal leaders have called Larisa an "Indian hater" and a racist. 

Larisa knows about these protest marches because he re-re-tweeted video on the South Kingstown march on his Twitter account along with a snarky message that this march shows that schools should be holding in-person graduation ceremonies. 

- Will Collette

“There’s so many Black and Brown people here,” said Ginger Mombelly, who recently graduated from South Kingstown High School. “We see so much racism and prejudice here, I think it’s really important for us to stick together, especially right now, and what better way than to make a group?

“Me and my friends are trying to get together a Black Lives Matter organization SK,” continued Mombelly. “We’re going to have a meeting this Sunday at The Collective from 5-6:30. We’re going to get together a list of demands, start petitions, start rallies to go to – Because we really want to make steps for a change.”

“We’re here to support the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Abby Dech, a junior at South Kingstown High School and one of the organizers of the event. “Since the death of George Floyd by a police officer, the whole country has been in an uproar, realizing how much people of color have been disadvantaged by our criminal justice system. 

People of color have higher incarceration rates, they experience a lot of police brutality because of their race so we’re standing with the Black community to show our support and hopefully make a change in Rhode Island so stuff like this doesn’t happen here or anywhere else every again.”

ANOTHER EDITOR'S NOTE: Steve's original article is loaded with photos from the SK march and protest. He also provides a video of the event that features, near the end, Bella Noka of the Narragansett Tribe.

Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade. Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading.

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