Updated CSA!

A huge thank you to organizations and businesses that have submitted their letters of supports. It is having a significant impact on City Councilors who are feeling that pressure. A shoutout to the Cambodian Society of Rhode Island, The Economic Progress Institute, the Providence Wholistic Health Care, and Representative Joseph S. Almeida for being among some of the first organizations and representatives to submit their letters.

There’s still time for your organization / business to submit their letter. Email vanessa@prysm.us for a sample but also make sure to CC her in the letter when submitted.

If you need the most recent updates made to the CSA, check out “Full Text of the CSA”.


URGENT- Organizational / Business Letters of Support Needed

The Community Safety Act is now in the Ordinance Committee and almost ready to move to the whole City Council!

Our allies on the City Council have said the rest of the Council really need to hear from more organizations to remind them that this is indeed a community ordinance broadly supported by the community.

We know you have supported the CSA, now is the moment we need you to show it. Please write and send a letter expressing your support, written on organizational letterhead. If you are not part of an organization, please get an organization or business to write a letter of support.  You will find a sample letter below for your use as you see fit. Try and include why the CSA is important to you and your constituents. Please send the letter by April 10th as we are having a 2nd Public Hearing on April 10th at 530pm.

Mail your letter to:
Providence City Council, City Hall, Room 310
25 Dorrance Street
Providence, RI  02903

You can also scan and email your letter to:  nfleming@providenceri.gov
Please cc vanessa@prysm.us so we can track how many letters have been sent!

In your email ask Nigel Fleming to please make copies and distribute to each Council Member.


Dear Providence City Council Member,

On behalf of my organization, ___________, I am writing in support of the proposed city ordinance, the Community Safety Act.  We are grateful for the years of work and months of negotiation that have produced such an important ordinance.

As cities around the country have shown, finding ways to hold police, who are hired to serve and protect all the people of the city, to values and standards that reflect the whole city, it is important that there are ways of holding them accountable to those values and standards.

[include why the CSA is important to you and your constituents, for example these words on immigrants and youth]

In these troubling times it is all the more important that our city ordinances and policies protect the immigrants who live in our midst and protect our youth.  We are painfully aware that now simply being listed on a gang database can be the cause of a deportation.  There is no room for mistakes. 

We hope that you will support this important ordinance.

Thank you.


Hey Community,
There is no public hearing on the 21st anymore.
A version of the CSA that we the community had not looked at was almost voted on by the Ordinance Committee earlier this month. Luckily, we were able to stop that process and demand a copy of this not-CSA to look over.
This process is grueling and hard. It’s draining but we’re still pushing for OUR CSA and are hoping to have one passed in the next couple of months.
Thank you for your continuous support. Thank for you contacting your City Councilors and Mayor Elorza. Please continue this pressure as it is helping us talking to Councilors we were unable to reach before.
We will keep you updated as much as possible.
in solidarity,

Where We Are – An Update

We still here! We’re still working on this ordinance!

It’s a long process to pass an ordinance is what we’re learning. There are so many meetings, so many emails, and so many conversations about how do we powerfully create police accountability.

Where we are now is that we have a newer version of the CSA that has a few changes to it. These changes are based on feedback from City Council’s office, folks who are working hard with us to make sure that we get this ordinance passed immediately.

On Tuesday February 7th at 530pm, the CSA will be a part of the Ordinance Committee agenda. This is not a vote on the CSA but rather re-introducing the CSA with all of the latest changes. Afterwards, we will be holding another public hearing for the CSA on February 21st (time to be determined) to testify once again on the importance of this ordinance.

We will need you on the 21st to pack City Hall and to say that we have waited long enough. We have compromised long enough. We need safety now.

Invite all of your friends, community members, and family to the CSA Public Hearing on Feb. 21st (time to be determined). And please check our Facebook (/Community Safety Act) for more instant updates.

in solidarity,

An Open Letter to Our Community

We are still reeling from this past election. We are still in shock but not surprised that white supremacy has taken the highest office. But we are not done fighting for you, for us.

We are committed to our community, which is why we drafted this bill in the first place. We came together as community organizations and activists, but mostly as individuals who are directly affected by this work. We heard your stories of police harassment and brutality, knew of the trauma that you talked about because we’ve experienced it too. So, we drafted the CSA as a form of protection for us, the community, from the Providence Police Department.

Now that White Supremacy is in office, we must work faster to pass the CSA. We must protect the most vulnerable people in our community, from youth to immigrants to people of color. We do not want to compromise the safety of our community any longer.

To Mayor Elorza who has publicly stated that he wants to pass his own CSA, you are compromising the safety of our community. We have come to you repeatedly since you took office to be a part of this work and you refused until we shamed you to a meeting. And now, to say that you want to write a new CSA from scratch and invite us to the planning table is an insult and a danger to us.

We have been at the table. We built the chairs, the table, the house, everything. We have poured so much time, resources, energy into this ordinance. So when you tell us that you want to start from scratch instead of investing in what the community has repeatedly told you it needs, well Mayor Elorza that’s a danger to our safety.

We are done waiting for you to support our community.

The City Council of Providence is holding a special Ordinance Committee on November 28th at 515pm to vote on the Providence Community Safety Act. If 3 members of the Ordinance Committee vote yes, the CSA comes to a full vote before the City Council. We would need 8 City Councilors to vote yes for the CSA to be law. And if Mayor Elorza vetoes it, then we would need 10 City Councilors to vote yes.

Providence Community, this is our time. We must show up stronger than ever and demand our protection. Pass the CSA!

The Ordinance Committee hearing will be at 5.15pm Monday, November 28th. The City Council meeting will be December 1st at 7pm. Both will take place on the 3rd floor of City Hall.

For more info, contact vanessa@prysm.us.

In Solidarity,

The STEP UP Committee.

We’re Having A Public Hearing!

It’s happening, folks.

Wednesday September 14th at 5pm, 3rd floor of City Hall.

We are asking for all people of Providence to pack City Hall and stand with us as we testify for the need of police accountability in making our communities safer. We need to show that it’s not just one part of Providence, but ALL of Providence asking for police accountability.

Leading up the public hearing, please email, call, text, fax your City Council representative and remind them why we need such a critical ordinance passed! Currently, we have the following City Councilors who have stated their support:

  1. Luis Aponte
  2. Mary Kay Harris
  3. Kevin Jackson
  4. Wilbur Jennings
  5. Sabina Matos
  6. Carmen Castillo

We’ve identified the following Councilors as possible supporters who just need a little more push to be able to say YES to the CSA:

  1. JoAnn Ryan
  2. Sam Zurier
  3. Bryan Principe
  4. John Igliozzi

If you live in the wards of potential supporters, please reach out to them as much as possible to let them know that their constituents are asking for the CSA.

Hope to see you + your friends + community there!
Contact vanessa@prysm.us for more info.


As we listen to the news from Baton Rouge of yet another brutal murder by police it touches deep cords in communities here that have also experienced police violence. While the police continue to have free reign over our communities, we will continue to see these heartbreaking episodes of unnecessary killings by police.

While we recognize that no ordinance can fully address the culture that supports increased violence in the name of safety, the Providence Community Safety Act, a city ordinance that would address police policies and accountability, would work towards an ideal of preventing legal lynchings in the future. We long for that time. In the meantime we channel our grief and rage into the passage of the ordinance and call our community to action. If listeners would like to get involved you can email vanessa@prysm.us.