Our Loving Rage: prominent musicians fight for police accountability in Providence

Against the backdrop of systemic violence and discrimination from law enforcement, musicians are coming together in Providence, RI to support the Community Safety Act, legislation intended to create more accountability and oversight of police.

Renowned artists including Taina Asili of the Rolling Stone premiered anthem, “No es mi Presidente,” Black Pus (Brian Chippendale of Lightning Bolt), nationally recognized poet Justice Gaines and more will be performing in support of the Community Safety Act at the Columbus Theater on May 6, 2017.

The night of music, art and action will be hosted by Victoria Ruiz of Downtown Boys, playwright Vatic Kumba and film and concert director Peter Glantz (OK GO, Wilco, Death Vessel), will benefit groups fighting for justice, community safety and police accountability.

For over two years various community groups and organizations in Providence and greater Rhode Island have been harnessing energy to pass the Community Safety Act. In short, the Community Safety Act seeks to hold law enforcement accountable to communities who have experienced police brutality, racial profiling, and stop and frisk tactics.

The City Council recently bowed to police pressure and fear mongering by delaying the critical final vote which would make the CSA law. It was scheduled for April 27 and has been pushed to June 1 to “review police concerns”. It is urgent that the public demands the council do the right thing and vote yes on June 1 without compromise or further delay.

The initial ordinance was introduced to Providence City Council in June 2014, before the uprisings in Ferguson, New York, Minnesota, and throughout the country in response to police murder and for Black Lives Matter. In the wake of a national sentiment of distrust of the police, particularly by marginalized communities, there was even more energy and urgency to pass the ordinance.

Groups including Youth of Color lead Providence Youth Student Movement, Direct Action for Rights and Equality, the American Friends Service Committee, Rhode Island Jobs with Justice, Olneyville Neighborhood Association, and others worked endlessly to meet with city councilors, gain support of ally organizations and businesses, and speak with residents throughout the city to send a message that the Community Safety Act was more than an ordinance, it was both a response and pro-active measure against the unaccountability of the police. It includes simple measures such as giving people a standardized form after they are searched with who they were searched by and why, acknowledgement of one’s gender expression when deciding who would search someone, restatement of translation and interpretation rights for non-English speakers, and basic numbers and reports that law enforcement would have to keep on searches and arrests.

The event, entitled “Our Loving Rage,” will start at 7pm, and features: Boston Comedian Nonye Brown-West, poets Justice Gaines and Sussy Santana, and musical acts Taina Asili and Black Pus (Brian Chippendale of Lighting Bolt). Tickets are sliding scale and available at the door and online.

“Our Loving Rage is a moment of inspiration,” said Vatic Kumba, who is organizing the event along with Victoria Ruiz of Downtown Boys and Peter Glantz, “A celebration of the power people to protect each other.”

Check out Downtown Boys’ performance on Democracy Now! below.

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