Labor Unions, Activists Protest Racism During Labor Day Rally, March

Sep 5, 2017

A couple hundred union workers, local activists and concerned Rhode Islanders protested racism Monday during a rally and march to the Statehouse in Providence. 

The Labor Day event was organized in response to a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia where white supremacists took to the streets last month. 

Protesters in downtown Providence chanted, "The people united will never be defeated!" in solidarity with all races, the working class and immigrants. Other chants included, "Whose streets? Our streets!" and "This is what democracy looks like!"

Paul Rakotoarisoa with the Providence chapter of Democratic Socialists of America helped organize the event. He said marches like these are important because they force people to take action.

"In this kind of environment we can get people to understand that it’s more than just talking about things," said Rakotoarisoa. "It’s being out there and getting involved putting your body on the line, whether it’s through the talents you have, or your money, or your at-risk conversations with people in your family, it’s about getting involved and not just thinking an idea." 

Credit Avory Brookins / RIPR

Donna Sams, a Black woman from Providence who was a child of the 60s, said she thought the days of racism would be over by now.

Sams said it’s time for America to finally stop discriminating against minorities. 

Credit Avory Brookins / RIPR

"We’re too good a country in so many ways. We’re better than that and I’d like to see us be better than that and act better than that," Sams said. "Even after all these years and with everything that’s going on, I’m still hopeful. I’m still hopeful."

The march was organized by labor unions and local activist organizations. 

Credit Avory Brookins / RIPR