Rhode Islanders vote to change the state's name on Tuesday. Some say it's racist.
via Taber Andrew Bain / Flickr

The tiniest state with the longest name may soon just be the tiniest state after November 3. Rhode Island is voting on whether to change its official name from "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" to "The State of Rhode Island."

Lawmakers in the state would like to shorten the name because the term "plantations" has a historical connection to slavery in the United States.

This isn't the first time the state has attempted to remove "plantations" from its name. Rhode Island attempted the change ten years ago and 78% of voters opposed the idea.


A "Yes" vote supports amending the Rhode Island Constitution to remove "Providence Plantations" from the official state name in the Preamble, Article III (Oath of Officers), and Article IX (Commissions).

"I've never had anyone ask me where I'm from and I say, 'The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,'" Bill Lynch, the chairman of Rhode Island United, told WPRI. "We've seen in other parts of the country some really bad things happen to show that we may have made progress, but not enough on race relations, generally speaking."

The move comes in the wake of an executive order from Governor Gina Raimondo in June to remove "plantations" from government documents.

"Many of the State's residents find it painful that a word so closely associated with slavery should appear in the official name of the State," Raimondo said.

"The pain that this association causes to some of our residents should be of concern to all Rhode Islanders and we should do everything in our power to ensure that all communities can take pride in our State," she continued.

Opponents of the bill claim the term "plantation" had no connection to slavery when Roger Williams settled Providence in 1636.

In fact, Williams was an abolitionist theologian and it's believed included "Providence Plantations" to refer to a new settlement, not an estate cultivated by slaves.

via Jimmy Emerson / Flickr

However, Rhode Island does have an ugly past when it comes to slavery. In the mid-18h century, it was a vital part of the slave trade and had a higher slave population than any other Northern colony.

Even though it was the smallest state in the colonies, the vast majority of slave ships came from Rhode Island ports.

Slavery began on small farms which then grew to Plantation-like size. "Eventually, these farms grew to be plantations comparable to those in America's southern colonies," wrote Salve Regina University adjunct professor Fred Zilian, "and with these plantations, a class of Narragansett planters emerged."

Slavery was phased out in the state after the passing of the Gradual Emancipation Act of March 1, 1784.

Although it appears as though the original intent of the state's name had nothing to do with slavery, it's hard to separate the historical meaning of the world with how it's interpreted in 2020. Especially at a time when Americans are taking a deep look at its racist history.

"This isn't going to solve the race relations problem in the country, but it sends a message in Rhode Island that we care," Lynch said.

Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less
via Noti Tolum / Facebook

A group of beachgoers in Mexico proved that when people join together and stand up for justice, you can triumph in even the direst of circumstances.

Municipal police in Tulum, Quintana Roo got received a tip that there were men allegedly committing "immoral acts" on the beach. So the officers, armed with AR-15 rifles, picked up two Canadian men.

"The officers approached a group of young foreigners," local politician Maritza Escalante Morales recounted in her video. "After about 20 minutes passed, a patrol car arrived and proceeded to arrest them with handcuffs."

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less

This story was originally published on The Mighty.

Most people imagine depression equals “really sad,” and unless you’ve experienced depression yourself, you might not know it goes so much deeper than that. Depression expresses itself in many different ways, some more obvious than others. While some people have a hard time getting out of bed, others might get to work just fine — it’s different for everyone.

Keep Reading Show less
via @jharrisfour / Twitter

The 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) kicked off in Orlando, Florida on Friday. It's three days of panels and speakers with former President Donald Trump delivering the keynote speech on Sunday night.

It's believed that during the speech Trump will declare himself the Republican frontrunner for the 2024 nomination.

So far, the event has made headlines for a speech by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas who tried his hand at stand-up comedy. "I've got to say, Orlando is awesome," Cruz told the cheering crowd. "It's not as nice as Cancun. But it's nice."

Keep Reading Show less