Day in court for protesters


The 18 protesters arrested July 2 at the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls – including members of the local Jewish community – were arraigned this morning at 6th District Court in downtown Providence.

Each person had been charged with disorderly conduct for blocking the gate to the facility where Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees are being held. They had been part of a larger gathering that day to protest treatment of immigrants at the U.S. border and in Rhode Island.

The City of Central Falls offered the defendants the opportunity to have the charges against them dropped in exchange for a $100 donation to a Central Falls nonprofit or a commitment to perform 10 hours of community service within the city. Sixteen of the defendants, each appearing individually with an attorney, took the offer and had their cases dismissed.  The remaining two were not in court but are expected to take a similar offer.

The group rallied under the banner of  “Never Again Is Now,” a national movement that saw groups protesting the current administration’s immigration policies across the United States. In Central Falls, they protested alongside Providence-based Alliance to Mobilize Our Resistance (AMOR).

Those arrested ranged in age from millennials to senior citizens, and included State Rep. Aaron Regunberg.

In a news release from Never Again is Now RI, Regunberg is quoted as saying, “We’re here today because we cannot stand by and watch the atrocities being committed against migrants at the border and immigrants here in our own community. As Jews, immigrants, and allies, and as family members of Holocaust survivors, we understand where state-sponsored persecution can lead, and we know from our history how important it is to speak up when vulnerable communities are targeted with hate, legal exclusion, and violence. That is exactly what is happening at the border camps and in for-profit ICE detention facilities like the Wyatt. And that’s why we will continue standing up and speaking out until the attacks on our immigrant neighbors have ended.”

FRAN OSTENDORF is editor of Jewish Rhode Island.