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Providence hires Roger Williams University to lead next steps of reparations process

The proposal lists the Providence Cultural Equity Initiative as a subcontractor and the Providence Public Library as a partner

The front door of the Market House in Market Square, the epicenter of Providence's trade and markets in the mid-18th century.Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

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Happy Thursday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I’m not embarrassed to say that I’ll watch the “Gossip Girl” reboot. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

As the city of Providence continues to explore a municipal reparations program for Black and Indigenous people, it has hired Roger Williams University to lead the next step in the process.


The city will pay the university $99,000 to oversee a community outreach effort that will involve identifying stakeholders, crafting key goals for reparations, and developing a framework for future phases of the program by the end of the year, according to the university’s proposal.

Roger Williams was the sole bidder to oversee the program. The proposal lists the Providence Cultural Equity Initiative as a subcontractor and the Providence Public Library as a partner.

“Community meetings will take place first and foremost in Providence’s neighborhoods that have historically been populated by African heritage and indigenous communities, and will involve centering the prominent and active stakeholders associated with each neighborhood, with lead stakeholders to serve as paid consultants,” the university’s proposal states.

Mayor Jorge Elorza announced last summer that Providence would launch a reparations program, but he made it clear that the city would first focus on telling the truth about the city’s role in inflicting pain and violence against residents of color (particularly when it came to the slave trade).

Roger Williams has been tapped to lead the second phase of the process – known as reconciliation. That will involve community conversations about the city’s history, and discussions about what a reparations program could look like.


The final phase will focus on reparations, which is likely to begin in 2022.

Elorza has said he is open to multiple options for reparations, which could range from cash payments or college tuition assistance to investments in neighborhoods. He has not placed a price tag on the program or said how the city would pay for it.


🎤️ Podcast: Don’t miss the latest edition of Rhode Island Report, where Amanda Milkovits interviews Jon Dodd from the Atlantic Shark Institute. Read more. Subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotifyAmazon MusiciHeartRadio, and Google Podcasts.

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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.

⚓ BIRTHDAYS: Rhode Map readers, if you want a friend or family member to be recognized on Friday, send me an e-mail with their first and last name, and their age.

⚓ Governor Dan McKee and Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos are holding another virtual community conversation on Facebook at 5 p.m. about what Rhode Island should look like in 2030. This week’s focus is on transportation and infrastructure. 

⚓ At 10:30 a.m., Governor McKee and US Senator Jack Reed are announcing $7.2 million in federal funding for  public health, school-based health, and community-based organizations’ workforces for Rhode Island’s COVID-19 response and recovery.


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