PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WJAR) — The Rochambeau Library in Providence was packed Thursday as community members and leaders came together for a discussion titled, "How to Achieve Racial Justice Through Organizational Transformation."
"The number one thing that you can do to assist Black institutions, Black people and Black neighborhoods are to invest in Black institutions, Black neighborhoods and Black people," said Keith Stokes, vice president of the 1696 Heritage Group.
The BLM RI PAC brought six racial justice advocates to sit down as panelists and discuss what is being done and can be done to dismantle systemic barriers and create equity for Black communities in the state.
"We need an organization that starts with the data but doesn't end there. We don't go into data paralysis. We become a do tank instead of just a think tank," said Kyle Bennet, public policy and research director of United Way of Rhode Island.
Panelists touched on the massive amounts of data over the years that show disparities in Black and Brown communities.
They say the unsettling results are still the same and they're calling for more action.
"I was completely shocked at about how many bills are introduced every day that have huge implications to what happens to communities of color," said RI Kids Count Executive Director Paige Clausius.
And the need for more money to continue to uphold the organizations already doing the work.
"I want them to provide the funding that's needed so we can sustain for another 20 or 40 years," said Cedric Huntley, executive director of the Nonviolence Institute.
But with the call for action was an urge for Black people of all ages to get more involved.
"We need to make sure that we involve the young generations and also as young generations we need to make sure that we work with the older generations as well," said Larome Myrick, executive director for the Division of Youth Development.
And to never doubt their abilities.
"Don't be afraid. Apply for that job, take that shot, just put your all in it and if you don't get it, just keep going," said Chief of Policy and Planning at the Department of Labor and Training Corey Jones.