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Central Falls might adopt the most sweeping racial justice policy in Rhode Island

Central Falls City Council President Maria Rivera chatted with a resident before the beginning of a Colombian Independence Day flag raising ceremony at City Hall in July.
Central Falls City Council President Maria Rivera chatted with a resident before the beginning of a Colombian Independence Day flag raising ceremony at City Hall in July.Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe

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Happy Monday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and with the way the Red Sox are playing, I’m thankful that a third of the season is already over. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 20,335 confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, after adding 70 new cases. The most recent test-positive rate was 2.2 percent. The state announced two new deaths, bringing the total to 1,021. There were 79 people in the hospital, eight in intensive care, and three were on ventilators.


We know that voters will have the chance to remove “plantations” from Rhode Island’s official name in November. We know that Providence is in the beginning phase of a reparations conversation. And we know that there’s a slow-moving effort to reform the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights up at the State House.

But if you’re looking for the most substantive effort by any government entity in the state to achieve racial justice and equity, you might want to tune into the Central Falls City Council meeting tonight.

Council President Maria Rivera, who is the heavy favorite to be elected mayor later this year, will introduce a far-reaching ordinance that aims to hire more people of color, requires that a minimum of 25 percent of all procurements and construction projects be awarded to minority business enterprises, and bans the use of chokeholds by law enforcement.

When it comes to hiring, the ordinance would require the city to interview at least one minority candidate for all vacant city jobs, and secondary preference will be given to those who speak a second language. For contractors, the city would have the ability to suspend payments or terminate contracts with companies that don’t work with minority business enterprises.


“I want to make sure that when we hire staff in our city we prioritize our city residents and, most importantly, our diverse community,” Rivera wrote in an e-mail over the weekend. “It’s very important to me that we employ staff that understands our community, our cultures, our different languages, and mirrors who lives in Central Falls, and also give opportunities to those who have been historically underserved.”

Nearly two-thirds of residents in Central Falls are Latino, according to the US Census Bureau. Rivera’s ordinance has three co-sponsors, so it already has the support of the majority of the council. She said she isn’t aware of any opponents on the council, although it’s unclear when a vote will be scheduled.

Tonight’s meeting is at 6 p.m.


Amanda Milkovits reports that there’s turmoil on Block Island as town officials seek to prevent young tourists from ignoring coronavirus restrictions. But a group of business owners are pushing back against the town.

⚓ This week’s Ocean State Innovators Q&A is with Emma Butler, founder and CEO of Intimately, an online retail store and platform that provides adaptive lingerie for women with disabilities. Have someone Ed Fitzpatrick should talk to for this weekly interview? E-mail him at edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com.


⚓ In an op-ed for the Globe, members of the New England Board of Higher Education write that “we cannot afford a ‘lost generation’ of learners, particularly underrepresented, low-income, and minority students — some of whom may not enroll or are at risk of dropping out if on-campus opportunities are reduced.”

⚓ Writing for the Globe Magazine, Jeff Harder has a fun tale about raising Rhode Island Reds (chickens).

⚓ Elsewhere: It’s possible that US Senator Jack Reed has already printed out and framed this glowing piece from Wonkette.


Coronavirus: How New York has emerged as the country’s leader in battling COVID-19.

Education: My colleague Deirdre Fernandes has an interesting story on how colleges are asking students to sign waivers and consent agreements if they want to return to campus.

Music: Boston used to be a used to be a rock ‘n’ roll capital, but David Scharfenberg writes that keeping the musical soul of the city alive is harder than ever.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: Many of the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing are facing an internal conflict over whether the pursuit of a death sentence, and the sense of justice it would bring, is worth the anguish of a new trial and the prospect of years of uncertainty from further appeals.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.


⚓ It’s the first night of the Democratic National Convention, and the key speeches to watch include Michelle Obama, US Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and former Ohio governor John Kasich.

⚓ The Narragansett Town Council is holding a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. on a proposed ordinance to limit the number of students that can live in the same home.

⚓ Commerce Rhode Island is hosting a 4 p.m. Zoom training for small businesses that are still seeking relief from the state.

⚓ Need something fun to do tonight? “The Karate Kid” is playing at the Misquamicut Drive-In at 9 p.m.

⚓ Do you ❤️ Rhode Map? Your subscription is what makes it possible. We’ve got a great offer here.

Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to dan.mcgowan@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you tomorrow.

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Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.