PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Days after Providence’s 14th homicide of the year, Black Lives Matter Rhode Island is demanding that Mayor Jorge Elorza address the recent increase in violence.
“He dropped the ball,” Executive Director of Black Lives Matter RI Brother Gary Dantzler said. “You’ve got a stream of violence that’s happening right now and no one is talking about it.”
Mark Fisher of Black Lives Matter RI tells 12 News the ongoing violence in Providence is happening too often among young, Black men.
“The violence ─ these murders, stabbings, shootings ─ on a daily basis is too much for our community to bear and we are trying to bear the weight and we are getting no help,” he said.
Within the past week, Elorza and several members of the Providence City Council have requested an increased police presence in neighborhoods across the city, but Dantzler believes that’s not the answer.
“Bring back the programs for the kids,” he said. “We need more programs for the kids. We don’t need more cops in our communities. They want to get this new program with policing. We’re tired of the police not working with the community, only when it’s time to solve a crime.”
In a statement Friday, Elorza agreed with Dantzler and said more needs to be done to support the community.
“The recent spell of violence is what happens when the support system for kids and people in need breaks down,” he said. “Our approach will continue to emphasize both immediate responses to interrupting the cycle of violence and long-term solutions that provide hope and support in our youth.”
“We have spent the past 20 years becoming leaders in community policing and in building holistic supports for our kids,” he continued. “While COVID has undermined many of these efforts, we know what works and we need to continue investing in them.”