Elected leaders and state officials celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with events across the state. Many will attend a celebration at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Providence this afternoon. NAACP Providence director Jim Vincent said he wants to see those leaders hire more staff of color. “25 percent of Rhode Island is communities of color. Those staffs don’t have to exactly mirror the population that, but they should somewhat, so that people can see demonstrated leadership; we know that you’re here, we hear you, and we want to work on all these problems together.
Recent grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, have sparked a national focus on police-community relations. At issue is a number of cases in which unarmed black men have been killed during encounters with white police officers. Rhode Island hasn’t seen this much concern about police-community relations since a black police officer was killed in a friendly-fire incident almost 15 years ago. So how much things have changed?
The president of the Providence chapter of the NAACP says he was saddened, but not entirely shocked, by the George Zimmerman verdict. The Florida neighborhood watch volunteer was acquitted over the weekend in the killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen. The NAACP is calling on the Justice Department to investigate Zimmerman for possible civil rights violations.
Jim Vincent, president of the Providence chapter of the NAACP, struggled to come to terms with the Zimmerman verdict Sunday, is headed to Orlando, Florida for the group’s annual meeting.