Groups Announce Campaign Against Racial Profiling
More than a dozen local organizations today announced a campaign this month to bring attention to the critical problem of racial profiling in the state of Rhode Island. Declaring May “Racial Profiling Awareness Month” the groups have set up toll-free hotline numbers, in both English and Spanish, where people who have been victims of racial profiling can call to tell their stories. Victims can also fill out a survey form on the Internet.
Some of the organizations participating in the campaign include: the Urban League of Rhode Island, the RI State Council of Churches, Progreso Latino, American Friends Service Committee, DARE, the International Institute of RI, Ocean State Action, Olneyville Neighborhood Association, Providence Youth Student Movement, the Rhode Island ACLU and the RI Latino Civic Fund.
The groups are lobbying for passage of comprehensive legislation pending in the General Assembly that would restrict some of the police practices that the organizations believe encourage racial profiling. The legislation is being sponsored by Rep. Joseph Almeida and Sen. Rhoda Perry. More than three years of independent studies of police traffic stops in the state have shown that police are much more likely to stop and search black and Latino drivers, even though white drivers are more likely to be found with contraband.
The toll free numbers that victims can call are:
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