Truth Telling & Reconciliation
The Truth-telling and Reconciliation Subgroup supports the mission of the African American Ambassadors Group by uncovering the truth of past and present wrongs and their impact on African and Indigenous peoples, celebrating both surviving communities as well as individual survivors, and laying the groundwork for quality of life improvements by establishing processes for resolution, reconstruction, reparations, and reconciliation in the City of Providence.
- Since the launch of the Truth-telling, Reconciliation and Reparations Executive Order, community members came together to submit their thoughts and ideas to help frame the direction for the contracted historians.
- Members worked with the City to create a logo to reflect this process.
- On September 3, 2020 members of the African American Ambassador Group voted to officially engage with a research and documentation team.
Group researched best practices across the country to begin preliminary discussions and action items for truth-telling and reconciliation processes
TRUTH: This process shall begin with Truth, first by identifying, compiling, and synthesizing the relevant corpus of evidentiary documentation of the institution of slavery, the genocide of Indigenous people, and the forced assimilation that existed within the State of Rhode Island and the City of Providence; and
The Truth will include documentation and examination of the facts related to: the capture and procurement of Africans; the transport of Africans to Rhode Island for the purpose of enslavement, including their treatment during transport; the sale and acquisition of Africans as chattel property in interstate and intrastate commerce; the treatment of African slaves in Rhode Island, including the deprivation of their freedom, exploitation of their labor, and destruction of their culture, language, religion, and families; and the extensive denial of humanity, sexual abuse, and chatellization of persons; and
The Truth will include documentation and examination of the facts related to: the capture and procurement of Indigenous people; the sanctioned genocide of Indigenous People, the treatment of Indigenous people in Rhode Island, including the deprivation of their freedom, exploitation of their labor, seizing of their land, and destruction of their culture, language, religion, and families; and the extensive denial of humanity, sexual abuse, and chatellization of persons and property; and
The Truth will examine the role of the State of Rhode Island and the City of Providence in supporting the institution of slavery, the genocide of Indigenous people, forced assimilation, and seizure of land in constitutional and statutory provisions, and
The Truth will examine the state and municipal laws that discriminated against formerly enslaved Africans and people of color and their descendants and Indigenous people from when they were deemed United States citizens to the present.
The Truth will examine and document those laws, policies and customs that created a “Separate and Unequal” existence for African heritage people in Providence and Rhode Island after the abolishment of slavery and continued throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Truth will examine the other forms of discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed African slaves and their descendants, Indigenous people and people of color from when they were deemed United States citizens to present, including but not limited to redlining, educational funding discrepancies, and predatory financial practices.
The Truth will examine the lingering negative effects of the institution of slavery, Indigenous genocide, and seizure of Indigenous lands.
The Truth will examine and document that although slavery was abolished with the end of the Civil War, the brutalities of racial discrimination persisted under the guise of Jim Crow laws in the South and Jim Crow traditions in the North.
THE RESEARCH PROJECT VISION STATEMENT
Providence, Rhode Island history is the collective memory of its entire people and throughout the year, citizens must recognize the important roles that people of all walks of life played in the building of our city. The interdependence between these people is what made our city, state, and country strong and our history unique. To tell the story completely, it must be inclusive.
African heritage and Indigenous people have made and continue to make major contributions to the city’s history and culture. This legacy has its roots in Ancient Africa and America before European colonization and adaptations are statewide, particularly here in the City of Providence.
Historically, Providence, starting with Indigenous people and by the 17th century, African heritage people, have long been a part of our city and in present day, African heritage and Indigenous people can be seen in our many city residents of African, bi-racial, Latino, Cape Verdean, Caribbean, and Native People’s backgrounds. Yet, the accomplishments and contributions of African heritage people have generally been invisible in public education.
This important research effort will not only document and validate the struggle for African heritage and Indigenous people to survive and thrive in the City of Providence but will help to create an environment that will increase fairness, equity, and justice.
The Research and Documentation Team is comprised of the following historical and academic leadership:
- Rhode Island Black Heritage Society (Team Leader)
- Rhode Island Historical Society
- 1696 Heritage Group
- Providence Preservation Society
- Historical Author – W. Paul Davis
- The Team will also review collections and access documents through the Providence City Archives, State of Rhode Island Archives and Providence Public Library Archives.
- Currently being developed by community members as historians lead truth-telling research.
Truth-Telling and Reconciliation Subgroup Members
Adama Brown- Hathaway
Brooke T. Waldron
Brother Muyideen Ibiyemi
Debra L. Sharpe
Dr. Tom Keefe
Mary Beth Meehan
Rep. Anastasia Williams
Theresa “Soni” Stokes
Tracey M. Giron
Dr. Tom Keefe
Our AAAG Members
Alejandra De Paz, City Staff
Anjel Newman - AS220
Annette Alves – Federal Hill House
Anthony Carrion – Dean of Students, Nowell Leadership Academy
Brooke Waldron - Indigenous Community member
Caterina Cable – Community member
Cedric Huntley – Executive Director, Nonviolence Institute
Celeste Johnson – Community member
Chase Baptista – Providence Public School District
Charles Newton – Administrator, State of RI
Cheryl Galloway – The MET School
Cheryl Isom-Wie – Director, The MET School, Coordinator, Consultant and facilitator at STEM Based Education
Corey Brown – Providence Police Officer, Community Mentor, WE GOT NEXT
Cris Potter – Founder, Red Rooster Solutions
Crisolita Figueiredo – Community and Political Activist
Deborah Harris – D.A.R.E
Denise Debarros - Community Advocate
Desmond Ranglin - JARI
DJ Rukiz – The Juice 88.9 online radio
Doug Victor – South Side Community Land Trust
Dr. Adama Brown-Hathaway - UWRI
Dr. Dannie Ritchie - MD, MPH Founder, Community Health Innovations of Rhode Island
Dwayne Boo Hackney - It's on US/ No More Murder
Elaina Scorpio - Tenant Network RI
Elise Swearingen - Project Manager, Community Advocate
Enrique Sanchez – BLM RI PAC, Reclaim RI, Prov DSA, Rhode Island Socialists, PSL RI
Georgina Sarpong – Co-owner,Abundance Farms, Black Lives Biz
Gina Fisher-Cook - State of RI Traffic Tribunal, Community Advocate
Dr. Hume Johnson -CEO and Brand Strategy Partner at Hume Johnson Consulting LLC,RWU
Jacob Brier - Historian
James Monteiro - Reentry Campus Program
James Vincent - NAACP
Jamiere Wilson - Artist
Jennifer Hopgood - Family Nurse Practitioner & adjunct professor at Simmons University
Jessica Brown - RI School of Design, Jessica Brown Designs
Jessica Vega – City Counsel Ward 5, Central Falls
Joseph Bruce – Artist
Joshua Avila - City Staff
Julius Kolawole - African Alliance
Justin Russillo - Realtor at Phipps Realty, Community Advocate
k. funmilayo aileru- studio artist and freelance designer
Kathleen Egersheim – Awakening Church
Keith Stokes – Rhode Island Black Heritage Society/1696 Heritage Group
Kenya Fullen – Dept of human services
Kendra Ault – College Unbound
Kenia Richards – Clinical Therapist, Community member
Kie Hamrick – Community member
Latifat Odetunde - Youth Advocate
Marchae Belcher – Community member
Marco McWilliams -Founder PBSS, Center for Reconciliation, the Swearer Center Brown University, College Unbound
Mary Beth Meehan - Photographer, Writer and Educator
Meko Lincoln - Amos House
Michael Shepherd – City of Providence Staff
Nicole da Cruz - Rhode Island School of Design
Pamela Hughes – Mount Hope Cowboys
Regina Clement – Delta Sigma Theta-Prov Alum
Rochanda Delves- Community member
Sade Lee – Community membe
Sharon Morris – Omni Development Corporation
Shirley Hood- Destiny Productions
Sonia Thomas – Dunamis Synergy, West Elmwood Housing Development Corp
Taritha Hill-Cooper – Simply Mom, Inc
Teresa Guaba Community member
Terri Wright- DARE
Theresa Guzmán Stokes – Rhode Island Black Heritage Society/1696 Heritage Group
Tiarra Mack – RI State Senate District 6
Wayne Montague – WINN Residential