Rhode Island may change its official state name over slavery connotations
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed an executive order on Monday taking the ‘first steps’ to change the state’s full name: ‘The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.’
The ‘plantations’ portion has come under increased scrutiny following widespread protests after the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
The order, Executive Order 20-48, will change the name to just ‘Rhode Island’ in official communications from the governor’s office – including future executive orders, citations, and stationary letterheads. It also calls on all state executive agencies to remove ‘plantations’ from their websites.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 20-48
June 22, 2020
RISE TOGETHER -FIRST STEPS TO A MORE EOUIT ABLE AND RESILIENT RHODE ISLAND
WHEREAS, for many years, there has been a public discussion about removing the word “plantations” from Rhode Island’s official name;
WHEREAS, 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;
WHEREAS, 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;
WHEREAS, changing the State’s official name would require the voters to amend the Rhode Island Constitution; and WHEREAS, I urge the voters to approve the name change in November but will take all measures now that are within my control to eliminate the name from my official communications and those of my executive agencies.
NOW, THEREFORE, I GINA M. RAIMONDO, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Rhode Island, do hereby order and direct the following:
1. Effective immediately, the Office of the Governor will no longer use the word “Plantations” in executive orders or citations or on its website. As soon as practicable, the Office of the Governor will order and commence using stationery that reads “State of Rhode Island” only.
2. Effective immediately, all executive agencies under the Governor’s control will remove the word “Plantations” from their websites. As soon as practicable, all such agencies will eliminate the word from their stationery, electronic letterhead and all other official correspondence, including paystubs.
3. The Governor’s Office and the state agencies under the Governor’s control shall determine whether there is an available alternative to the use of the state seal in official documents and replace or omit such seal where possible.