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State of Rhode Island General Assembly
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Women in House don black to say no to sexual harassment
STATE HOUSE – Many female members of the House of Representatives donned black for session Tuesday in solidarity with the Time’s Up movement and to make a united statement against sexual harassment.
The action was organized by Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell (D-Dist. 5, Providence) Monday, the day after many attendees at the Golden Globes also donned black for the same reasons. Time’s Up is a movement launched last week by 300 women in the entertainment industry to fight systemic sexual harassment in Hollywood and in blue-collar industries nationwide.
Representative Ranglin-Vassell said the members plan to continue wearing black on Tuesdays at least through February to maintain the focus on addressing sexual harassment, an issue that gained traction worldwide this fall as news of sexual harassment by power brokers in the entertainment industry emboldened women from all walks of life to share their stories of sexual harassment. She said she hopes for even greater participation in the future, since this week’s action was hastily arranged by word-of-mouth among the female representatives.
“As leaders, we owe it to our constituents to be outspoken advocates for the changes that need to be made in our society,” said Representative Ranglin-Vassell. “As women, we owe it to ourselves, our families and the women who came before us and will come in the future to say, ‘No more. We will not accept disrespect or mistreatment of women anywhere.’”
Said Rep. Kathleen Fogarty (D-Dist.35, South Kingstown),” We wear black to support the Time’s Up movement. As leaders, we support sexual harassment prevention. We want to see the end of pay disparity between men and women. We reject discrimination in all fields of work.”
Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence) added, “I wore black to show solidarity to those women and men who have been victims of sexual harassment and/or sexual assault in the workplace. The first step in solving a problem is acknowledging that there is an issue. We need to bring awareness to this problem so that we can work together to ensure that no person ever has to say ‘me too’ again.”
In photo: Front from left, Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett), Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence), Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell (D-Dist. 5, Providence), Rep. Susan R. Donovan (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth), Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport), Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) and Rep. Julie A. Casimiro (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter). Back from left, Rep. Grace Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence), Rep. Shelby Maldonado (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls), House Deputy Speaker Charlene M. Lima (D-Dist. 14, Cranston, Providence), Rep. Kathleen A. Fogarty (D-Dist. 35, South Kingstown), Rep. Mia A. Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln), Rep. Joy Hearn (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence), Rep. Deborah Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown) and Rep. Edith H. Ajello (D-Dist. 1, Providence).
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
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