On Nov. 2, Providence City Council passed a calling for an immediate ceasefire ÔÇťto end the current violenceÔÇŁ in Gaza.
The resolution ÔÇťurges the Biden administrationÔÇŁ to ÔÇťfacilitate de-escalationÔÇŁ and send humanitarian assistance to Gaza. The city council is ÔÇťone of the first legislative bodies in the countryÔÇŁ to pass such a resolution, according to Ward 6 Councilor Miguel Sanchez.
Copies of the resolution were sent to the offices of Rhode IslandÔÇÖs congressional delegation and the White House.┬á
ÔÇťA ceasefire should be the highest priority of everyone right now in order to prevent any more innocent civilian lives from being killed,ÔÇŁ said Sanchez, who helped spearhead the resolution.
On Oct. 27, Sanchez was fired from his position as a constituent service associate for Gov. Dan McKeeÔÇÖs office after making pro-Palestine posts on X (formerly Twitter), WPRI .
The ceasefire resolution passed 11-1, with Ward 5 Councilor Jo-Ann Ryan the only city council member to vote against the resolution. Three council members were absent for the vote.
While Sanchez said the resolution has received pushback for being outside of the scope of the councilÔÇÖs jurisdiction, he believes the topic is relevant for Rhode Islanders because of the allocation of federal funds.┬á
ÔÇťThe United States is funding a lot of whatÔÇÖs going on overseas,ÔÇŁ Sanchez said. ÔÇťIn a time where we have desperate needs here in Rhode Island, itÔÇÖs really discouraging to see those federal dollars go to activities like this.ÔÇŁ
Thea Riofrancos, associate professor of political science at Providence College and member of Jewish Voice for Peace Rhode Island, said that while the resolution is largely ÔÇťsymbolic and local,ÔÇŁ local governments can send a ÔÇťsignal to the federal level.ÔÇŁ┬á
Adam Greenman, president and CEO of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, expressed strong opposition to the resolution.
ÔÇťThe resolution is really unfortunate and uninformed,ÔÇŁ Greenman wrote in an email to The Herald. ÔÇťOf course, our Jewish community is heartbroken by the images we see in Gaza, and we pray for the innocent Palestinians. But we canÔÇÖt forget that this is a war with Hamas, who broke the ceasefire on Oct. 7.ÔÇŁ┬á
In an email to The Herald, organizers with Brown Students for Justice in Palestine described the resolution as ÔÇťthe minimum response ÔÇŽ (an) important first stepÔÇŁ but ÔÇťnot the final action.ÔÇŁ
Sanchez said he hopes the resolution will inspire a wave of ÔÇťother municipalities or legislative bodies to follow suit.ÔÇŁ He said that other municipal legislative bodies have reached out asking about the Providence City CouncilÔÇÖs process regarding the resolution.
SJP organizers wrote they believe that ÔÇťthe actions of the City Council can affect national foreign policy.ÔÇŁ The group hopes that the City Council will also ÔÇťcall for all charges to be dropped against the 20 students in Jews For Ceasefire Now who were arrested on Nov. 8.ÔÇŁ