Organizers Are Demanding That Community Leaders Recognize Incarceration As Violence & End Collaboration With Police: Issue An Immediate Call For Community Resources Be Utilized In Violence Prevention

On Friday June 18th organizers and community members will hold a Mother’s March to demand that community leaders invest in resources for youth rather than policing and incarceration as a response to gun violence. Support The Coalition Radio Network? Consider A Purchase From Any Of Our Vendors

Organizers have released a public letter addressed to the Nonviolence Institute, calling for the redistribution of $500,000 in funding they were awarded by Brown University and RI Foundation following the Carolina Avenue shooting, as well as an end to collaboration with police. The letter is signed by seventeen different organizations and over eighty individuals, including several family members of youth who were injured in the shooting and a former Senior Streetworker at the Institute who has also released an individual statement

The letter notes that “families have received no financial or emotional support from the Institute since their children left the hospital,” and that the Institute’s partnership with police “not only makes it complicit in the violence our communities are experiencing. It also makes the Institute tone deaf and ineffective in its efforts to squash conflict.” A quote from Joseph Shepard, a former Streetworker, states: “Every time there’s a shooting or stabbing, they give information back and forth with the police department. I watched them sitting there in a circle with the cops trying to help the cops put two and two together.” 

The Mother’s March will begin at Direct Action for Rights and Equality at 340 Lockwood Street in Upper South Providence. Protestors will March down Broad Street holding signs that state “Housing is Violence Prevention”; “Healthcare is Violence Prevention”; “Out of School Programming is Violence Prevention”; and “Free the People, Fight the Power, F*ck the Police.” 

The March will be followed by a speaker program of community members and organizers who have been impacted by gun violence, policing, and incarceration. Speakers are calling for investment in housing, mental health, and support for mothers, youth, and families of color experiencing surveillance and incarceration. Organizers state: “We aim to reframe policing and incarceration as violence, not violence prevention. Those two things don’t improve the health of our communities and in fact only destroy them.” 

Earlier this summer, organizers occupied space at the Rhode Island Hospital with the families of the Carolina Ave shooting victims, after police denied families information and access to their children. After two days of protests outside the hospital, family members were given in person and virtual visits. At least one youth is currently being held without bail at the ACI. 


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