Press Release: State Rep Tanzi Attempts to Prevent Occupy Providence Ejection from RI State House

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  State Rep. Teresa Tanzi Attempts to Prevent Occupy Providence Ejection from RI State House


Providence State House- Last night Occupy Providence attended the budget session show support for House bill H7729 which calls for increasing income taxes for Rhode Islanders who earn more than $250,000 a year from 5.99% to 9.99%.

The bill is a start to meeting the demands issued by OPVD and is sponsored by Representative Maria Cimini, whom Occupy Providence mentioned by name in a “mic check” un-amplified group announcement in between votes at approximately 11:25pm.

“We are OPVD, we are here in support of the Cimini Bill to raise taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Rhode Islanders. Budgets are balanced by taxing the wealthy and corporations, just like during the Great Depression, not by laying off workers and cutting pensions. Solidarity not Austerity, Thank you.”

A small number of legislators outwardly expressed disapproval of the act but a glance around the room showed many smiles and supportive nods from others.  Speaker Gordon Fox called for order as the group announcement ended, stating that if decorum could not be maintained, visitors would be asked to leave.

Although OPVD complied, Capitol police stormed the visitor balcony threatening to arrest any OPVD members who would not leave the premises immediately. State Rep Teresa Tanzi (Democrat, District 32) raced out of session to intercept police as they began escorting the group from the building, stating that citizens had the right to be present at the assembly. A two to three minute debate ensued between Tanzi and the police, in which she implored officers to recognize that the group had complied when the Speaker called for order and so should not be made to leave.

State Representative Tanzi was over-ruled by Capitol police who then physically escorted OPVD from the building. No arrests were made.

James Vecchione of Occupy Providence expressed concern: “What kind of democracy do we have when police can throw you out of your own state house with a state representative right there insisting that you’ve done nothing wrong?”

November 1, 2011 Press Release

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Occupy Providence Media

Susan Beaty, member of the Occupy Providence Direct Action Working Group

Victoria Ruiz, member of We Are All Arizona and coordinator at the Olneyville Neighborhood Association

Occupy Providence and We Are All Arizona Coalition Hold Press Conference and Action
Groups Call for Immigrant Rights in Rhode Island and an End to Secure Communities

As part of Occupy Providence’s “week of action,” Occupy Providence and We Are All Arizona, a coalition of immigrant rights groups from across the state, will hold a press conference and action for immigrant rights at 12PM on Tuesday, November 1st. The event will specifically target the Secure Communities Immigration Program. The groups will gather at noon in Burnside Park, hold a press conference on the steps of the Federal Building, and march to the state house to deliver a letter to Governor Chaffee thanking him for supporting in state-tuition and urging him to speak out against Secure Communities.

The groups’ press conference will highlight a recent report by the Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at the University of California–Berkeley called “Secure Communities by the Numbers: An Analysis of Demographics and Due Process.” The report details the horrific impacts of the Secure Communities program and offers concrete recommendations. This Tuesday’s event is one of many press conferences slated in cities across the country to shed light on the Warren Institute’s findings. The report is attached for further data and information.

After the press conference, the group will march to the state house to present a letter to Governor Chaffee. The letter, signed by community groups and coalitions from across the state, thanks the governor for supporting in-state tuition for undocumented students and urges him to move forward on his recent proposal for drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants. The letter also requests that the Governor considers making an official statement against the Secure Communities program.

Secure Communities is a devastating federal immigration program that mandates information sharing between local police departments and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), forcing local police to do the work of federal immigration agents and imposing a massive financial burden on cities and states. The program claims to target only the “worst offenders,” but data shows that the majority of people deported through Secure Communities in Rhode Island have no criminal record. Instead, research finds, the program serves to separate families and criminalize immigrants by entangling local and federal law enforcement and fostering racial profiling and other human rights abuses.


October 30 Press Release

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Occupy Providence Media

Susan Beaty, member of the Occupy Providence Direct Action Working Group

Occupy Providence Kicks of “Week of Action”
Announces Series of Protests in the Coming Week

This Sunday, October 30th, Occupy Providence kicked off a “week of action.” They invited their supporters to join them in a series of protests against corporate power and inequality in the coming week. They will partner with a number of community groups- including the We Are All Arizona immigrant rights coalition, the Coalition to Defend Public Education, and the Tenant and Homeowner’s Association of Direct Action for Rights and Equality. Their protests will focus on the Secure Communities immigration program, Secretary of State Arne Duncan and federal education policies, Providence Public Library, and the major national banking institutions.

They released the following statement to their supporters over the weekend:

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Thank you to all of those who have supported us during our first week in Burnside Park. We are awed and inspired by the outpouring of love and solidarity from across the state, and sustained by your generous donations of food, supplies, time, and energy. As our encampment swells and the movement against corporate power grows, we are evermore confident that together we will build a world for, by, and of the 99%.

The system that we seek to change is far-reaching and deeply rooted. We see its countless impacts in our communities—in rising unemployment rates and stagnant wages; in cuts to schools, transportation, and other vital public resources; in foreclosed homes and homeless families; in tuition hikes and ever-rising student debt; in poisoned landscapes; in endless wars and occupations; in families broken and lives destroyed by deportation and incarceration—and the list goes on. Because corporate power and inequality affect us in so many ways, we know that the battle for a more just and equitable world will be waged on many fronts, here in Rhode Island and beyond.

In this spirit, we are thrilled to announce a week of direct action! Check out the details below. Join us as we fight for justice in our own back yard, demanding equality and justice for all Rhode Islanders!

1) Monday, October 31st at 2:30PM: Occupy Trick or Treat!
Join Occupy Providence as we pay banks and other businesses in downtown Providence a Halloween visit. We’ll go to door to door to corporations that received bailouts and tax credits asking them for our money back. Gather in costume at Burnside Park at 2:30PM.

2) Tuesday, November 1st at 12PM- Action and Press Conference for Immigrant Rights: No to (In)Secure Communities!
Join We Are All Arizona, a state-wide coalition of immigrant rights groups, for an action and press conference against “Secure Communities” (S-COMM). S-COMM is a devastating federal immigration program that mandates information sharing between local police departments and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), forcing local police to do the work of federal immigration agents and imposing a massive financial burden on cities and states. On November 1st we say NO to Secure Communities, the separation of families, and the criminalization of immigrants. Gather at Burnside Park at noon for a press conference, followed street theater and a march.

3) Wednesday, November 2nd at 3PM and 5PM: Tell Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to SAVE OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS!
This Tuesday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will visit Rhode Island. Secretary Duncan has led the national attack on teachers and the movement to corporatize public education. He will be speaking at $300 a plate dinner at the Rhode Island Convention Center on how to “reform” urban public schools. Join Occupy Providence and the Coalition to Defend Education for a rally at 3PM at Providence Career and Technical Academy, followed by a rally outside the Convention Center at 5PM.

4) Thursday, November 3rd at 12PM- Public Libraries for the People!
Two years ago, Providence Public Library (PPL) threatened to shut down nine neighborhood library branches amidst a budget crisis. When Providence Community Library (PCL), a non-profit organization, stepped in to rescue these libraries, the city entered in to a lease with Providence Public Library which will expire on January 1st, 2012. Until PPL transfers the buildings to the city as promised, PCL cannot make desperately needed repairs on the neglected buildings, and the future of the community libraries may be in jeopardy. PPL, a private organization with over $27 million in investments and endowment funds, is demanding that the cash-strapped City of Providence pay several million dollars for these buildings. PPL may be the legal owners of these buildings, but this private organization has no ethical right to them- they were built with substantial public funding, and they belong to the people of Providence! Join us for a rally to demand that Providence Public Library turn these library buildings over to the city! Gather at 12PM at Burnside Park.

5) Saturday, November 5th at 10AM: National Day of Action Against the Big Banks!
On Saturday the 5th, Occupy movements across the country are calling on the 99% to “move their money” from the big banks to local financial institutions. These greedy banks- including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JP Morgan Chase- drove the nation into financial crisis and then took billions of taxpayer dollars in bail outs. They continue to foreclose on our families, lay off thousands of employees, and profit off of economic injustice. This Saturday we say ENOUGH is ENOUGH. Join us as for a rally against the big banks and a march to Bank of America where we will close our accounts once and for all. Gather at Burnside Park at 10AM.

(For more information visit:


October 29 press release

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Saturday, October 29th

Occupy Providence Declares Sunday, October 30th “Solidarity Sunday”
Calls on Supporters to Join Them in Burnside Park

In response to recent statements by Police Commissioner Paré and Mayor Taveras indicating that city officials plan to take legal action to end their non-violent protest in Burnside Park, Occupy Providence is calling on their supporters to join them in Burnside Park this Sunday in a show of strength and solidarity. Occupy Providence sent the following statement to their supporters this Friday:

Friday, October 28th

As you may have heard, Police Commissioner Paré paid us a visit yesterday afternoon to deliver a notice giving us 72 hours to leave the park. As we stated in an open letter earlier this week, we believe that our presence is in the park is a legitimate exercise of our right to free speech, and we intend to remain here for however long it takes to build a society by, for and of the people.

As the city moves to take legal action against our non-violent protest, and with the threat of eviction looming, your strength and support is needed now more than ever. We are declaring this Sunday SOLIDARITY SUNDAY- a day for Rhode Islanders to stand with Occupy Providence against corporate power and economic inequality. Join us in Burnside Park for a day of community building and a rally at 4PM to demand that our peaceful occupation be allowed to continue. Together we will send a message to Mayor Taveras, Commissioner Paré, and the city of Providence—the 99% is too big to fail.

Solidarity Sunday will kick off with an afternoon of activities, including a non-denominational religious service at 2PM, a community soap box at 3PM, art and music making, games, and discussions. We will hold a rally at 4PM and a special General Assembly at 6PM, followed by a potluck dinner. The day ends with a solidarity slumber party in the park!

Yours truly,
Occupy Providence