Rhode Island To Change Official Name To Remove Racial Connotation

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Rhode Island Governor Raimondo announced she has signed an executive order authorizing her state to change its official name amid a movement of racial sensitivity.

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, groups have sprung up across the country to protest police brutality. As these protests have continued for weeks, they have evolved. Now, the groups are specifically targetting statues and memorials of people they claim to be racially oppressive, including statues of Confederate icons and U.S. presidents.

Amid these protests, Governor Raimondo said the official name of her state, the “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,” would be dropping the second half of its name.

“Our work to dismantle systemic racism in Rhode Island did not start today and it will not end today, but we can rise together and make meaningful progress toward racial equity now,” Gov. Raimondo said in a tweet on Monday, after she announced the change.

“Rhode Island was founded on the principles of acceptance and tolerance, and our state’s name – and actions – should reflect those values,” she added.

“The steps I am announcing today are just the beginning, and I am fully committed to continuing to work alongside the community in stamping out individual and institutional racism in our state,” the governor also said.

The Hill reports:

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Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) signed an executive order on Monday declaring that her office would not use the word “plantations” in future executive orders, citations or on its website.

And last week, the Rhode Island state House signaled it will move forward with state Senate legislation to get a referendum on the name change on the November ballot. The state’s only Black state senator, Harold Metts, introduced the bill.

“Whatever the meaning of the term ‘plantations’ in the context of Rhode Island’s history, it carries a horrific connotation when considering the tragic and racist history of our nation,” Metts said in a statement last week, according to the Providence Journal.

The name change will now be subject to a vote on November’s ballot.

“I urge the voters to approve the name change in November but will take all measures now that are within my control to eliminate the name from my official communications and those of my executive agencies,” the governor said in the order.