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9/10/2020 Rep. Williams thanks Chief Justice Suttell and others for their support to diversify RI’s judicial system
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence) is thanking Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Suttell, and others, for their support in addressing the systematic inequalities within in the state’s judicial system, including the need to diversify the state’s roster of judges with jurists of color.  On September 3, Representative Williams held a rally at the State House where she called for the support of Rhode Island’s chief judges and state leaders to appoint two well-qualified candidates of color to the bench, Superior Court Associate Justice Melissa Long to the Supreme Court and Central Falls Municipal Judge Elizabeth Ortiz to the Family Court.

“I’d like to thank Chief Justice Suttell for his commitment to ensure that Rhode Island’s courts operate in a manner that guarantees ‘equal justice for all’ and for his willingness to acknowledge that our court system is lacking in fair representation and diversity for our state’s community of color.  His compassion toward the struggles and inequality that too many of our underserved residents face on a daily basis and his leadership to rectify this injustice is a breath of fresh air in our current climate and I truly commend his effort to implement the change that has been called for, and now demanded, by our residents of color.  I look forward to supporting his efforts to finally fix our inequitable judicial system and a good place to start would be advocating for the qualified head of his ‘justice for all’ steering committee, Associate Justice of the Superior Court Melissa Long, to be appointed to the Rhode Island Supreme Court,” said Representative Williams.

“I would also like to thank Geoff Schoos for his insightful September 8th commentary, Black Lives Matter on the RI Supreme Court (, in which he concisely, eloquently, and truthfully describes the reasoning behind and the important need to diversify our court systems so that all of our residents feel that they are properly and fairly represented on our court benches,” added Representative Williams.

“Finally, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the efforts led by Brown University President Christina Paxson to not only remove the word ‘plantations’ from Brown University’s official name, but also her support for the upcoming November election ballot campaign to strip this hateful word from the state’s official name.  We all know that Brown University has extensive ties to slavery in its past and I am grateful that leaders like former President Ruth Simmons and President Paxson have done so much to shine a light on this insidious history and their efforts to rectify the lingering aspects of systematic racism within Brown University and the City of Providence.”

“Our movement to repair the injustices perpetrated by our judicial system and its lack of fair representation is growing by the day and we will continue forward with our campaign until we stamp out the systematic racism that has permeated our state and its institutions for far too long,” concluded Representative Williams.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903