Video: Hundreds denounce racism in Warren

Warren Town Hall rally called in response to recent discovery of racist literature.

By Ted Hayes
Posted 4/18/21

A crowd of more than 100 called for peace, understanding and change in Warren Sunday afternoon, when the East Bay Divsersity group called a rally in front of Warren Town Hall to renounce the dozens …

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Video: Hundreds denounce racism in Warren

Warren Town Hall rally called in response to recent discovery of racist literature.

Posted

A crowd of more than 100 called for peace, understanding and change in Warren Sunday afternoon, when the East Bay Divsersity group called a rally in front of Warren Town Hall to renounce the dozens of racist and hateful stickers found recently on light and utility poles along Water Street and the Town Common.

Ted Hayes, Rich Dionne for Eastbayri.com
Clips from an anti-racism rally in Warren on Sunday
The rally drew dozens of residents from around the East Bay, Providence and beyond, and leaders of Black Lives Matters Rhode Island and East Bay Diversity.
"Let's work together, get rid of this hate," said Brother Gary, BLMRI's founder and executive director.

"White supremacy has ruled this country for almost 350 years. We want to fix this problem now. We can't fix the past, but you've got time to fix the future."

For two hours, speakers from Warren and beyond laid out what they said is the sad but sadly not surprising truth, that racism exists in Warren.

"I never thought that in this town, that this would happen here," said Gerry Cabellon, a multi-generational Warren resident of Filipino descent who said his family has been discriminated against during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I am proud to be a part of this town. My family is proud to be a part of this town. But it's so hurtful that I see this stuff in my town. We need to end hate now, because if we don't it's going to get worse."

The stickers, which promote the Ku Klux Klan, Nazism and white power, were first publicized by Warren artist William Schaff, who said that while he has been taking them down for weeks, they keep being put back up by unknown hands.

This is not the first time similar white nationalist and extremist literature has been found here. Resident Joyce Katzberg spotted and took down stickers for PatriotFront, an extremist right wing organization, shortly before last November's election. Not all are willing to speak out about what they've seen, she told the crowd Sunday, but they have seen it:

"There are people here who are traumatized," she yelled. "If you hear a lot of emotion in my voice, I am letting it out. I am giving it to you in full voice on behalf of those who are too afraid to!"

Warren Town Council president Keri Cronin said one of the reasons she ran for office, she said, is to give voice to and represent all citizens. Thus, "I denounce (racism) in every shape and form."

She believes that it scourge must be battled with empathy and the understanding that despite races, ethnicities, creeds and orientation, all are united in humanity:

"So many really get motivated (to make change) when we can personally identify with other people's humanity, and that's wrong," she said. "We can't let up. We need to feel others' humanity and dignity, and respect them, every day."

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