June 1


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In this Newsletter: 
  • Remembering George Floyd and too many others
  • June 1 - Housing Resources
  • June 2 - Presidential Preference Election Day options
  • Campaign information and events
  • COVID-19 Community Resources

Dear friends,

I wrote this e-mail before the President spoke tonight. I don't want our anger and fear about his authoritarianism to detract from what got us here this week. We are on a long trajectory to this point in time and history, and it is long past time that we reckon with our history and move forward to a better place together. I fear this President is taking advantage of the strong white supremacist underpinnings of our nation to serve him and his corrupt and authoritarian tendencies. We must work together to be heard and to make our country finally live up to its ideals. (See Nikole Hannah-Jones here for more on America's founding ideals.)

Black Lives Matter.  This should be obvious, but clearly we need to say it. This is a week to reflect on the need for racial justice in America. Our country is built on the unpaid labor of Africans brought here as slaves, on land taken from Native Americans. And we've never figured out how to gather everyone at the table to build a just future together. 

The week started with video of a white woman calling the police on a Black man who was a bird watcher in Central Park. She had her dog off the leash, he asked her to follow the rules, she called the police and used his race to tell the police that he was threatening to her. We know this could have ended so differently.

We saw with our own eyes a police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, for so long, as George died. One officer killed him, others helped and stood by, complicit or participating. This is a system that needs justice. George Floyd deserves justice. 

The injustice we're seeing, the police violence against Black Americans that killed George Floyd this week and earlier killed Breona Taylor, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and too many more is not new. It's on video now. We see it and we must not turn away. I keep hoping that this time will be the last time, the last hashtagged name. 

There are protests all over the country. We are seeing police in other cities show up in full tactical gear. There is a lot of video of some police running cars into protesters, shooting tear gas on residential streets, and targeting members of the press. The President has said he will call in the military if the protests haven't ended by Monday - the military, on American soil, against people protesting killing of Black people by the police. These are authoritarian tactics and another reminder that we need a new President, one who doesn't spew white supremacist slogans. He is both a part of the problem and a symptom of deeper, long-standing white supremacist structures within our society.

We have a lot of work to do - first to acknowledge the injustice of the structures and policies of our society and then to work together to build something new and better. For folks who want to do some reading about race and our country, you can google "anti-racist reading list" and a lot will come up. Some books I've read that I've found informative and helpful, about race, racial justice, and policy are The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and Between the World and me by Ta-Nahisi Cotes. Next up on my reading list is How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X Kendi. 

There will be a Black Lives Matter rally on Friday at 4:30 at Kennedy Plaza, details are here

Please feel free to join my zoom conversation at noon on Thursday. We can talk more about this, or anything else on your mind. We must all do something to stand up for justice, and it will be different for each of us. But we cannot be silent in the face of injustice. 


Please read on for information on a few opportunities to connect by zoom, information about housing, elections and for state and community COVID-19 information and resources. 

As always, please follow me on 
Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or write to me at info@rebeccakislak.com. You can also call or text me at 401-400-2338. I look forward to hearing from you!
June Rent Due - Housing Help and Concerns

Today is June 1st. Rent is due. Courts open tomorrow, June 2d, for evictions. I'm concerned about constituents and renters around Rhode Island. Money is tighter than usual. We have some resources here in RI, but could be doing better. Our neighboring states have more protections in place for their tenants. To see different state responses to housing security and COVID-19, take a look at this Housing Policy Scorecard from Eviction Lab.

Here is the District Court order relating to how eviction cases will proceed. 

There is some financial help available at housinghelpri.com. For legal assistance you can contact Rhode Island Legal Services or the Center for Justice
June 2 Presidential Preference Primary Day

Have you sent in your mail ballot? If not, please do not mail it now... it must be received by 8 p.m. on June 2, so the USPS almost certainly won't deliver it in time if it's not already in the mail. You can drop your mail ballot off at a drop box at City Hall or the Board of Elections or elsewhere - check here: vote.ri.gov

Was your mail ballot received? You can check here: vote.ri.gov

If your mail ballot wasn't received or if you haven't sent it, you can go vote at your polling location. Many are closed, so you should check at vote.ri.gov to make sure you're going to the right place.  A lot of District 4 is voting at Temple Beth El, but you should check. If you go to vote in person remember to bring and wear your facemask, and bring a photo ID and maintain social distancing.
Upcoming Events

June 4, noon - 1    Lunch break with Rep. Kislak - by zoom. Event information here

June 10, 7 - 8 p.m. Zoom Cocktail Party and Campaign Fundraiser. Let's have some fun kicking off her re-election campaign with a remote cocktail party. Drinks are BYOB, or for those contributing over $75, get a cocktail kit delivered to your home from RI Spirits (in-district only).  We'll gather virtually on June 10 at 7 p.m. to hear about Rebecca's legislative priorities, enjoy cocktail mixing demonstrations from RI Spirit’s owners Kara Larson and Cathy Plourde along with some time for conversation. Here is the link to the event RSVP.

June 16, 10:30 - 11  Coffee break with Rep. Kislak - by zoom. Event info here

Community Resources for COVID-19 

General Information

Information about reopening

Here is the chart describing how we are navigating through these COVID-19 times as a state. Phase 2 started today, June 1, and some hair salons, gyms and more are opening this week. Some religious services started in-person this past weekend. All beaches and state parks are now open. reopeningri.com is the website with up to date information about reopening plans, and includes a link to provide feedback to the Governor and her team about what's working well and what could work better. Please remember to wear your mask when you're out and about, maintain social distancing and record your contacts.

Neighborhood mutual assistance
To volunteer through the Summit Neighborhood Association, or to connect to our great network of neighborhood volunteers, please fill out this form (or, if you know someone who could use a little extra help who doesn't have access to a computer, please ask them if you can fill it out for them).

Providence has a website with current COVID-19 information here: http://www.providenceri.gov/pema/faqs-covid-19/ You can also call the city hotline at 3-1-1 with questions for the city services folks.

RI Department of Health
The RI Department of Health has current information, guidance, links to announcements about openings and closings and more here: 
The COVID-19 hotline is 401-222-8022 for any COVID-related questions. 

School will be on-line through the end of the school year.  More information is available from the RI Department of Education at 401-222-4600 or 
https://www.ride.ri.gov and the Providence Public Schools online learning hotline: 401-456-0686 https://www.providenceschools.org/covid19

Meals and Food Assistance
Breakfast and lunch are available at Hope High School for children (and available at other locations throughout the city and state), and dinner is available at the Vincent Brown Rec Center (and rec centers throughout the city). Meals for the week are distributed on Tuesdays and Fridays. More information is here

All children enrolled in Providence public schools should have received funds through the P-EBT program to support families providing additional meals to their children who otherwise would have been eligible for meals in school (which is all PPSD students). For families who already receive SNAP, it will be added to their EBT card; everyone else should have received a new P-EBT card in the mail with instructions on how to activate the card. This is available to all of us, even if we are not otherwise eligible for SNAP. It is not a public charge issue for immigrants. Please use the card to buy your groceries. If you are fortunate enough that you don't need it, please consider donating money directly to an organization that provides food to our communities.
Rhode Island Food Bank
AMOR mutual assistance for immigrants COVID-19 Response

Here is a list of food assistance providers. 

TDI and Unemployment
including information for self-employed and contract workers

If you are sick or quarantined with COVID you can apply for Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI): https://dltweb.dlt.ri.gov/TDIReserve/Home

If you are laid off or the place where you work closes, you can file for Unemployment Insurance: http://www.dlt.ri.gov/ui/fileclaim2.htm

The state has removed the 7-day waiting period for unemployment and new federal laws will help extend how long people can collect unemployment.

The state urges you to use the web site before using the phone if you are able to.

The federal government will be introducing new support for independent contractors and self-employed people, including unemployment benefits, through the CARES Act.
Contact the RI Department of Labor & Training at 401-462-2020 

National Freelancers Relief Fund: https://www.freelancersunion.org/resources/freelancers-relief-fund/

National COVID-19 Restaurant Workers Emergency Fund: https://www.restaurantworkerscf.org/

Information for artists and other self employed people: https://covid19freelanceartistresource.wordpress.com/

Small Business Hotline
(401) 521-HELP
e-mail info@commerceri.com 



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