Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has issued an executive order to change her state’s official name and is calling upon voters to officially approve the change in November.
The state’s full title, “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,” is associated with slavery and therefore must be altered, Gov. Raimondo’s order claims.
“For many years, there has been a public discussion about removing the word ‘plantations’ from Rhode Island’s official name,” the order states. “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.”
“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.”
The steps I am announcing today are just the beginning, and I am fully committed to continuing to work alongside the community in stamping out individual and institutional racism in our state.
— Gina Raimondo (@GovRaimondo) June 22, 2020
Moving forward, Raimondo’s office and all executive agencies under her control will only use an abbreviated version of the state name – “State of Rhode Island” – for official correspondence, electronic letterheads, stationary, and more.
Additionally, officials have been instructed to investigate possibilities of replacing or omitting the state seal for official documents.
“I urge the voters to approve the name changes in November but will take all measures now that are in my control to eliminate the name from my official communications and those of my executive agencies,” Raimondo’s order says.
A petition to “Change the Official Name of Rhode Island” has garnered nearly 7,700 signatures since its launch two weeks ago.
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