STATE HOUSE – Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence) is releasing the following statement concerning refugees from Afghanistan being resettled in Rhode Island.
“While our state continues to be broken for the vulnerable and our supposed to be shining capital city is shattered with crime and desperation, there are many people on our streets crying out for help. Now, while I welcome any individual from any country that is fleeing from persecution, violence and natural disasters, how are we able to resettle, house and support these refugees while we continue to ignore the plights of our current Rhode Islanders who have no guaranteed roof over their head, no food in their stomachs and no money in their pockets?
“As our state flag waves in the sky with the word ‘HOPE’ stitched across its body, I witness on a daily basis true hopelessness on our main street doorways and public areas. Men, women and children who have nowhere to go and little, if any, access to services are once again being ignored, passed over and conveniently and continuously disregarded. Severe mental illness, addiction, poverty wages and a lack of real assistance and direction are keeping our streets full of our forgotten brothers and sisters while several of those that are supposed to be helping them are prospering off of their misery and collecting their paychecks rather than devoting the time, resources and compassion to helping our most vulnerable residents.
“My heart is truly with the individuals and families fleeing the violence and chaos of Afghanistan, but, I cannot in good conscience remain silent about our fellow Rhode Islanders who are desperately in need of the same support and services that will be given to these refugees. At some point, the people living on our streets today were contributing taxpayers and they should be the first in line to be welcomed, helped and properly assisted with the extremely difficult times that they are currently and continue to face. If we are going to help some, we should be helping all and that means that our homeless and vulnerable residents must not be constantly disregarded and forgotten anymore,” said Representative Williams.