Sen. Lou Raptakis’ and Rep. Ray Hull’s bills targeting Black Lives Matter highway protests addresses the tactic of calling attention to invisible racism and institutional injustice. But Rhode Island still has significant work to do on the root causes of invisible racism and institutional injustice.
A recent report ranked Rhode Island as the third worst in the nation for Black people. There are very wide racial gaps in income, employment and education. And it was only 14 years ago that a Black Providence cop was shot and killed by a White Providence cop.
So I asked Sen. Lou Raptakis and Rep. Ray Hull, the sponsors of the bills that would make highway protests a felony, what they think of the Black Lives Matter movement, and other pointed questions about racism in Rhode Island and historical context.