August 2019 | Issue 7
Member Highlight
Councilman Seth Yurdin
Ward 1

Councilman Seth Yurdin has represented Ward 1 since 2006. Ward 1 is comprised of the Fox Point, College Hill, Wayland and Downtown neighborhoods.

Councilman Yurdin served as the Council Majority Leader from 2011-2015. He is currently a member of the Committee for State and Legislative Affairs. Councilman Yurdin has advocated for transparency in City Government and improvements to neighborhood quality of life.

A graduate of Boston University and New York University Law School; Councilman Yurdin is an attorney in private practice. In his spare time Councilman Yurdin is a volunteer shelter manager.

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A Unified City
In the month of August. events around the City embraced everything that makes Providence a diverse and interesting place to live, as well as everything that brings our residents together. Council members celebrated various cultures and local organizations throughout the month, engaging in volunteer opportunities , as well as connecting with their communities in the face of national tragedies. Continue reading to see the moments that reminded us that we are one City, and we are in this together.
Celebrating the Diverse Cultures of Providence
Indian Independence Day
On August 10, Council President Matos and Council President Pro Tempore Correia attended a celebration of Indian Independence Day along with U.S. Senator Jack Reed and State Treasurer Seth Magaziner. The event was hosted by the India Association of Rhode Island (IARI).
The Indian Independence Day celebration included traditional dances, music, food and a kid's fashion show!
Jamaican Independence Day
On August 6, Council President Matos celebrated the 57th anniversary of Jamaican Independence at the State House.
On August 10, the Jamaican Association of Rhode Island (JARI) hosted a celebration, full of music, dancing and food to further commemorate Jamaican Independence. Council President Matos attended along with U.S. Congressman David Cicilline and State Representative Marcia Ranglin-Vassell.
Annual Dominican Parade
Council President Matos and Councilwoman Carmen Castillo enjoying the lively Dominican Parade on August 11.
Council President Pro Tempore Correia and Councilman James Taylor celebrating Dominican Culture.
Coming Together as a Community
Community Vigil After Tragedies in El Paso, Dayton and Chicago
On August 9, Councilwoman Kat Kerwin emceed a vigil to honor and mourn the victims of the recent tragedies in El Paso, Dayton and Chicago. Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune, Council President Matos, Senator Jack Reed and Congressman David Cicilline were among the speakers. The event was hosted by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence (RICAGV).
National Night Out
On August 6, Council President Pro Tempore Michael Correia hosted the 19th annual Providence National Night Out. This event takes place nationwide, and is aimed at creating trusting and friendly relationships between communities and their local law enforcement. Council President Matos, Majority Leader Jo Ann Ryan and Mayor Jorge Elorza also joined in on the fun. The Council extends their gratitude to the local organizations and law enforcement who contributed to this great event!
Council President Matos, Council President Pro Tempore Correia and Mayor Jorge Elorza.
Providence Law Enforcement and local organizations came together to provide a fun filled event complete with bouncy houses, horses, games, live music and food!
Council President Pro Tempore Correia enjoying the fun with Providence residents.
Family-Teacher Meet and Greet
At Veazie St. Elementary School, Councilman David Salvatore gathered with parents, students and teachers for a meet and greet to kick off the school year on August 27. An important step in creating a strong school system is to encourage congenial relationships between educators, students and families as we move into the new academic year.
Supporting Local Organizations
We Got Next Basketball League
On Friday August 2, Council President Matos, Council President Pro Tempore Correia, Councilwoman Harris celebrated the We Got Next Basketball League, which has been making recreational basketball affordable and accessible to Providence youth for 7 years.
Supporting Small Businesses with the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation
On Thursday August 1, 100 small businesses in Rhode Island secured loans through the RI Commerce Corporation. Council President Matos and Council President Pro Tempore Correia celebrated with Providence-based small businesses Machu Pichu 2; located on Chalkstone Ave and Family Cake Bakery; located on Manton Ave.
United Way Olneyville Community Fund
On August 6, Council President Matos and Council President Pro Tempore Correia joined with United Way of Rhode Island to announce $150k in grants to 13 nonprofits in Olneyville through the United Way Olneyville Community Fund.
Inspirational Women: Voices, Stories and Portraits of 9 Rhode Island Women
Council President Sabina Matos joined Mayor Jorge Elorza and several inspiring women at the  YWCA Rhode Island  on August 21, for Inspirational Women: Voices, Stories and Portraits of 9 Rhode Island Women.
Barbecue at Kilmartin Plaza
Councilman James Taylor and Senator Ana Quezada held a barbecue party at the Kilmartin Plaza Apartments on August 23. Kilmartin Plaza has been provides affordable housing to those who need it the most in Providence.
A Clean and Green City

Woonasquatucket River Greenway
Council Majority Leader Jo Ann Ryan spoke at the Pleasant Valley Park Way on August 5, about the importance of a storm water management system. The new tree infiltration system that will be installed soon, will help prevent flooding and make sure that clean water recirculates back into the Woonasquatucket River!
Charles St. Community Garden

On August 14, Councilman Nicholas Narducci met with the South Side Community Land Trust and City Forester Doug Still to discuss future plans and improvements to the community garden on Charles St.

Thanking Community Volunteers
Councilman James Taylor held a community cookout on August 14 to thank Kali Otto-Gentry and her team at A Hand Up, of Amos House, for the work they have done cleaning up our neighborhoods.
Urban Day of Service

Council Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan led a group of Providence College freshman at her annual Urban Day of Service on August 19. The volunteers cleaned parts of the Woonasquatucket River along the Pleasant Valley Parkway and put down fresh mulch.
Cleaning up Robert F Kennedy Elementary School
Freshman at Providence College continued to contribute volunteer work to the City on August 20 at Robert F Kennedy Elementary School, where they joined Councilman David Salvatore in spreading mulch, moving furniture and decorating in preparation of the first day of school.
Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School Gets Ready for the New School Year
Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune got together with family, friends, community members and volunteers to help clean up Martin Luther King Jr Elementary School in preparation for the upcoming school year on August 23.
Exciting Upgrades at Joslin Park
Council President Matos was joined by Superintendent of Providence Parks Wendy Nilsson, and William D’Abate Elementary School Principal Brent Kerman for the ribbon-cutting in celebration of recent upgrades and improvements to the Joslin Street Playground on Monday, August 19. These improvements are the latest in achieving the goals set by the  Master Plan  for the Joslin Street Playground in 2011. Since that time, the park saw the installation of an innovative waterpark, among many more additions to come.
Manton Heights Basketball Court
The Providence Housing Authority  opened the new Manton Heights Basketball Court on August 29 with a basketball tournament including youth from the area, community members and Providence Police. Council President Pro Tempore Michael Correia was able to secure funding for this project that completely changed the landscape of this neighborhood.
Manton Heights Basketball Court before any upgrades were made.
The new and improved court!
End of Summer Celebrations
Summer Camp at Kennedy Rec Center
On August 13, Councilman David Salvatore joined students at the Kennedy Recreation Center to celebrate the end of their summer program, which focuses on preparing students for a successful school year.
Red Shed Bike Camp
Riverside Park was full of little bikers on August 16th as the Red Shed Bike Program closed out another year of Bike Camp. Council President Matos celebrated with the camp, which has been teaching biking etiquette and sustainability to children in Providence for seven years.
20th Annual Back to School Celebration
Council President Matos and Councilwoman Castillo attended the 20th Annual Back to School Celebration where young Providence students received free backpacks filled with school supplies.

Back to School at Harry Kizirian Elementary School
Councilwoman Kat Kerwin joined incoming students at Harry Kizirian Elementary School for a back to school celebration with music, games and free backpacks on August 27.
Annual Elmhurst Block Party

The Annual Elmhurst Neighborhood Block Party was hosted by Councilman David Salvatore on August 27. Families enjoyed a barbecue, face painting and outdoor fun!
Honoring Figures of the Civil Rights Movement in Providence
Remembering Michael Van Leesten
Civil rights activist Michael Van Leesten passed away on August 23rd in Providence, at 80 years old. Van Leesten was born in Providence in 1939 and attended Hope High School and Rhode Island College.

Michael Van Leesten was an advocate for civil rights over many decades; from registering black voters in Alabama in the 1960s to being a founding member of the Opportunities Industrialization Center of Rhode Island here in his home state.

After years of civil service across the country and in Providence, Van Leesten leaves behind a legacy of perseverance, bravery and integrity. The City of Providence will be forever grateful for his contributions.
The Legacy of Mary Jones
Mary C. Jones, known to everyone as 'Miss Jones' was a pillar of the Smith Hill community until her death in March of 2018. Miss Jones worked as a librarian at the Smith Hill Library for over 40 years. During her time there, Miss Jones was responsible for the development of many programs that promoted cultural awareness, education, and advancement for people of color and other minority groups.

Miss Jones was also an advocate of affordable housing and healthcare serving on the board of the Neighborhood Health Center for over 35 years, co-founding the Smith Hill Community Development Corporation and. CHIC. 

In January of 2018, Miss Jones' legacy was honored at Providence City Hall with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hall of Fame Award.
City Legislation
City Council Holds Special Meeting Regarding Providence City Schools
On Wednesday August 7, the Providence City Council Convened for a special meeting to discuss the status of Providence Public Schools. The Council invited Providence City School’s Interim Superintendent Francis Gallo, Chief of Administration Joseph DiPina; Providence City School Board President Nicholas Hemond, Esq., Providence City School Board Members; and Providence’s Director of Public Property Michael Borg to attend and and provide an update on the condition City school buildings, and to discuss the comprehensive education report conducted by Johns Hopkins University .
In the News
New Providence Pedestrian Bridge
On Friday August 9, the City of Providence officially opened a new pedestrian bridge that connects the west and east ends of the City. The bridge is open to pedestrians and bikers, and features seating, lighting and a great view of the city sky-line!
Council President Sabina Matos and Council President Pro Tempore Michael Corriea
Council President Matos with Governor Gina Raimondo
Majority Leader Jo Ann Ryan, Dan Baudouin Council President Matos and Council President Pro Tempore Correia
Council President Matos, Council President Pro Tempore Correia, Councilman John Igliozzi and U.S. Congressman David Cicilline
City Suspends JUMP Bike Program
JUMP bikes in Providence have been temporarily suspended after reports that the bikes have been used in connection with several crimes around the City. The Providence City Council passed a resolution at their July council meeting which encourage the city to launch a review of the JUMP Bikes operation in Providence. The resolution was sponsored by Council President Pro Tempore Correia and Council Majority Leader Jo Ann Ryan.
Continued Success for COUNCILWOMAN Documentary
In Margot Guernsey's documentary film Councilwoman , the life of Councilwoman Carmen Castillo is followed as she balances life as a hotel housekeeper and Providence City Councilwoman. The documentary will be making its television debut on the WORLD Channel on September 3 at 8 pm.
Upcoming Meetings, Public Hearings and Special Events
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