Community groups lead a march through Olneyville to remind Governor Gina Raimondo of her election year promise to sign an executive order giving undocumented residents of RI access to driver’s licenses. The groups carried the written promise with them as they marched, signed by the then candidate for governor when she met with them. The pledge originally said that as Governor she would issue the executive order within thirty days of being elected, but Raimondo crossed out thirty days and wrote in “one year.”
Community member Victoria Ruiz, who worked on the Community Safety Act, put the issue in terms of the criminalization of people of color. Not having a license, says Ruiz, is a path to criminalization, and is seen as “somehow not as bad or severe as other paths… but it’s all coming from the same system policing that wants to see all people of color criminalized…” Driver’s Licenses are a form of documentation, and a part of a “longer and bigger struggle for racial justice.”
The march was organized by the Comite en Accion, part of English for Action and a member of the We Are All Arizona coalition.About a dozen other states, including neighboring Connecticut, have a way for undocumented residents to obtained legal driver’s licenses.
The march started at the Price Rite on Valley St and continued through Olneyville Square.