I am proud to stand with so many fellow Rhode Islanders as we raise our voices against the un-American bigotry put forward by Donald Trump on Friday.
Today we are sending a message that this neo-Nazi authored rot has no place in our country and no place in the lively experiment that is Rhode Island.
To members of our immigrant and refugee communities, I want you to hear something that doesn’t get said enough - our community is strong because of YOU. You make our state a more vibrant, a more beautiful, a more special place, and we are so proud that you call Rhode Island home.
This issue is personal for me. I exist in this world only because my grandfather was able to escape Nazi Germany and find safety as a refugee in the Philippines. Most of his friends and family were not so lucky, because so many countries - including our own - refused to take in the desperate Jews trying to flee the destruction of the Holocaust.
That policy decision to turn away my Jewish forebears remains a deep mark of shame on the United States. And yet here we are, repeating that same exact shame once again.
Except this time there’s a difference. Because this time, millions and millions of Americans are standing up to say not on our watch. Hundreds of thousands of us are rallying at airports and State Houses and taking the streets saying we will not let this Nazi BS happen again.
And we’re rallying at our own State House because although this rot may start with Trump, it’s been brought here as well. Right now, there is legislation in our General Assembly, some of it signed by Democrats, to strip away Providence’s sanctuary city status, to make it a punishable offense for public officials to not investigate immigration leads, to discriminate against Muslim refugees. You know what we say to that? Not. On. Our. Watch.
And there’s resistance legislation here, as well. There’s a bill to stop local law enforcement in our state from cooperating with deportation orders. And there’s legislation l I will be introducing this week requiring the state of Rhode Island to divest our pension funds from any companies that are hired by the federal government to help build Trump’s racist wall, because if you’re making profit off this hate then we shouldn’t be giving you a dollar of our state funds.
So I encourage everyone involved in this work to commit right now to showing up at the State House when my colleagues and I are in session and walking inside the front door and then, after you’ve filled up those chambers, then to together stand and shout, No Ban No Wall.