PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Legislative Black and Latino Caucus will vote on a new name next month.
State Rep. Leonela Felix and Sen. Jonathon Acosta, who co-chair the group, said they are looking for a name that is more inclusive and representative of the legislators who are part of the caucus. Twenty-one members comprise the group, with two Asian Americans joining the ranks in 2023.
Former State Rep. Anastasia Williams has carried the name ‘Black and Latino Caucus’ for more than 15 years, when it was changed to include Latinos. The group has doubled its membership over the years.
In addition to changing the group’s name, Felix and Acosta said they are crafting their legislative agenda for the session. Acosta said they hope to push forward legislation that addresses the needs of Rhode Islanders regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background.
“As people of color, we are familiar with many of the issues that affect our community, but we also today represent a wider range of professional and personal backgrounds,” Acosta noted.
Felix said she hopes increasing access to the State House will encourage more people of color to get involved in local government.
“When you look at the demographics of our community, you should have more representatives that look like us,” Felix said.
The caucus plans to vote on its new name Feb. 2.