Fresh off his appearance on CNN where he stood up for his position to protect all the residents of Providence from the threats of a Trump administration, Mayor Jorge Elorza held a Community Conversation in the Providence Career Technical High School cafeteria with well over 300 people in attendance. Elorza’s notoriety as an elected official willing to take a stand against President-elect Donald Trump‘s espoused immigration and deportation policies brought him national attention and a plethora of community allies, including the Latino Policy Institute, NAACP, The Lady Project, Millennial Professional Group of RI, Sojourner House and the RI Commission on Prejudice and Bias. Political allies include Representative James Langevin, Central Falls Mayor James Diossa and a small number of state reps and senators.
But not everyone is smitten by Elorza’s stance. Most state elected officials, including Governor Gina Raimondo, seem to be taking a “wait and see” approach. Former state representative Doreen Costa, a Trump supporter, has written that Elorza “has hinted at breaking the law, should the President set forth a mandate he doesn’t personally agree with. If the Mayor of our capitol city refuses to honor the federal or state law, I believe he should be arrested.”
Elorza’s best moment was when he went off script. [See: 6m38s in the video below]
“When I hear someone talk about the immigrant community, and devalue the immigrant community, and threaten them,” said Elorza, “it destabilizes our collective family.”
“Who’s doing that?” asked a man in the audience.
Elorza smiled and said, “Donald Trump does that, Sir.”
Also speaking at last night’s event was Annavonh Phasouvor, a senior at Central High School. Phasouvor organized an after school event in response to the Trump election in which Central High School students held hands in a ring around their school “to spread the message of togetherness and unity during a time that was very difficult for so many in our school family.”
The room then broke into discussion groups, to organize and collaborate on the issues of health, immigration, support for the youth and LGBTQ issues.