Ward 12

Councilwoman Katherine Kerwin

Councilwoman Kat (Katherine) Kerwin was elected to the City Council in 2018. She represents Ward 12 which includes the majority of the Smith Hill neighborhood, downtown, and parts of the East Side, Elmhurst, and Valley.



Ward 12: Smith HIll, Valley, and Capital Center

Ward 12 includes the neighborhoods of Smith Hill, portions of Valley, and Capital Center. Located northwest of the city center, Smith HIll is bound by three of the city's rivers: the Woonasquatucket, Moshassuck, and West rivers. This neighborhood was once the home of many industrial mills that relied on the rivers to provide power to their mill wheels. Roger WIlliams Medical Center is located off Chalkstone Ave in Valley. The Capital Center (located off Smith street, one this ward's main roads) is where the Rhode Island State House, and many of the state's administrative offices can be found. It's also where you'll find the Amtrak/MBTA train station, Providence Place Mall, and Providence River, where the Water Fire lighting ceremony begins and ends.

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City Council Passes Pride Resolution

City Council Passes Resolution Welcoming June as Pride Month

At the June 6, 2019 City Council meeting Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15) and Councilwoman Rachel M. Miller (Ward 13) introduced a resolution welcoming the month of June as PRIDE month in Providence. The resolution was unanimously passed by the full council.

“Providence is a city that welcomes everyone, regardless of their gender, race, orientation, religion or how they identify,” stated City Council President Sabina Matos. “As a Catholic, I was deeply hurt by the remarks of Bishop Tobin regarding the LGBTQIA+ community, and believe that God welcomes all and stand by Mark 12:31, ‘The second {commandment} is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’”

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which many consider being the catalyst that moved the gay liberation movement forward. In the early hours of June 28, 1969 Trans-women and men, gays, lesbians, and their ally’s took to the streets after continued abuse at the hands of the New York City Police in a series of riots that would propel the movement forward to where we are today.

“We can’t forget that Pride’s origin was a broad social movement for equity and inclusion. That’s especially true in today’s political climate while the LGBTQIA community is organizing to stop a national rollback on some hard-won victories,” Councilwoman Rachel M. Miller stated. “As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I was angered by Bishop Tobin’s recent comments but I’m proud to create an opportunity for elected officials to be on the side of love and on the side of affirming and supporting our LGBTQIA+ community.”

The first Pride march in Providence took place in 1976 when over 70 brave men and women, marched in Kennedy Plaza, after winning the right to do so after a court battle handled by the ACLU. They were taunted by police and residents alike, yet they were not deterred. Today, known as the “76’ers,” Belle Pelegrino one of the original marchers, told The Providence Journal that, “We totally expected that when we stepped into the plaza, gunfire was going to come. We thought we were going to die.”

As noted by The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time, Rolling Stone, CNN, and countless other news outlets the Trump administration has continually rolled back almost every single LGBTQIA+ protection that were put in place by previous administrations. This is why the City Council believes it is more important than ever to memorialize and codify their support for all members of our community.

Pride is celebrated around the world during the month of June, in recognition of the Stonewall Riots that took place on the morning of June 28, 1969. This year marks the 43rd Anniversary of Providence Pride which has grown from a march of 70 men and women to a weekend celebration that brings 1000’s of people to our city in celebration of equality and love.

In 2018, the City Council officially recognized the month of June as Pride Month in perpetuity and was passed by the full Council. The Providence City Council celebrates and recognizes the contributions, struggles, risks, and many identities of Providence’s LGBQIA+ community and their families and proudly affirms that love is love.

The City Council recognizes and thanks Rhode Island Pride for all they do to for the community not just on Pride weekend, but throughout the year. Pride takes place on Saturday, June 15 with Pridefest taking place along South Main Street (North from Memorial Boulevard and South Water Street to the South ending at Wickenden Street) from 12 pm – 7 pm. It will culminate in New England’s only illuminated night Pride Parade that begins at 8 pm and will travel down Dorrance Street, to Washington Street, to Empire Street and ends on Weybosset Street. This year’s theme is #LiveYourTruth.

For more information on Rhode Island Pride, please visit prideri.org.

City Council Recognizes National Public Works Week

The Providence City Council passed a resolution sponsored by Council President Pro Tempore Michael Correia (Ward 6), recognizing the week of May 19 through May 25, 2019 as National Public Works Week.

National Public Works Week is observed as a way to pay tribute to the public works professionals, engineers, managers and employees who make substantial contributions to protect our national health, safety, and quality of life.

“Every day as I travel my ward, and across the city, I see the men and women of the Department of Public Works laboring away,” stated City Council Pro Tempore Michael Correia, Ward 6. “As the Chairman of the Committee on Public Works, I know first-hand the professionalism, the dedication, and the motivation that every employee at the DPW has for their work. It’s because of the ingenuity of a crew member of the DPW that the fountain in DePasquale Square was fixed before the start of the summer season. It’s because of the men and women of the DPW that Councilors like myself can hold community clean-ups and mattress pick-ups. Their work matters and they don’t always get the appreciation they deserve. It’s my privilege and honor to acknowledge our Public Works employees not just this week, but every week.”

The resolution, proposed by Council President Pro Tempore Correia and co-sponsored by Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15), Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. (Ward 4), Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11), Councilwoman Katherine Kerwin (Ward 12), and Councilman James E. Taylor (Ward 8), motivates the residents of Providence to become interested and engaged in the importance of publicly funded construction in their respective communities throughout the City.

National Public Works Week will consist of a series of events and ceremonies that pay tribute to the significant work done by public works professionals, and all citizens are encouraged to participate. 2019 is the 59th year that National Public Works Week has been recognized under the sponsorship of the American Public Works Association.

Councilwoman Kerwin Honors Local Activist

City Council Honors the Legacy of Community Activist Mary C. Jones with Commemorative Street Renaming

City Councilwoman Katherine (Kat) Kerwin, (Ward 12) hosted a ceremony on Friday for the commemorative street renaming of Candace Street in honor of the legacy of the late community activist Mary C. Jones. This event was hosted at the Smith Hill Library where Mary C. Jones worked for over forty years. Two commemorative signs were placed, with one at the corner of Candace Street and Orms Street; and another at the corner of Candace Street and Chalkstone Ave.

“I am humbled to memorialize the life of Mary C. Jones with this commemorative street renaming,” stated City Councilwoman Kat Kerwin. “Mary was committed to the Smith Hill community. She labored tirelessly to keep our libraries open after funds were cut and she helped residents obtain access to affordable health care and better housing opportunities through her work with the Smith Hill CDC and the Neighborhood Health Center. Her story is integral to understanding how important it is for organizations to form partnerships by engaging and understanding the needs of residents.”

The Providence City Council partnered with the Smith Hill Library; the Brown Arts Initiative; the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage; and the Feinstein Institute for Public Service to present, “Smith Hill: Past, Present, Future.” Today’s Dedication included remarks from the family of Mary C. Jones, Althea Graves, President of the Friends of Smith Hill, Councilwoman Kat Kerwin and former Ward 12 Councilman Terrence M. Hassett.

“Mary C. Jones was not only my friend, but she was a fierce advocate and kept me on my toes for years,” stated former Ward 12 Councilman Terrence M. Hassett. “For a whole generation, when they think of the Smith Hill Community, they think of her, and that’s a legacy that not everyone gets to leave behind.  I’m honored and humbled that one of my last acts as a Councilor for Ward 12 is to honor Ms. Jones in this special way. She meant a great deal to me, and I’m so glad that we can celebrate her lasting legacy.”

During Mary’s forty years with the Smith Hill library, she developed programs based on cultural awareness, education and health issues; for the advancement of marginalized groups and people of color.  Many of her programs still run today such as the “Keep Our Families Warm Campaign” (KOFWC) and the “Children’s Christmas Party” (CCP). The annual KOFWC ensures that residents in need get warm clothes for the winter season and every child who attends the Children’s Christmas Party gets food, a free toy and a day full of fun.

During her career, Mary served on numerous boards, committees, and commissions throughout the city and state. Notably, she was a member of the Neighborhood Health Center Board for over thirty-five years.  She traveled all around the country advocating for safe, comprehensive, affordable health care from infancy to senior care. She was also one of the founders of the Smith Hill CDC, serving on their board for close to twenty years. This organization is still helping people realize their dreams of home ownership today. She was also one of the co-founders of the Capitol Hill Interaction Council (CHIC) which worked with landlords and tenants to repair buildings, help residents connect with social agencies, and help locals find employment opportunities.

Miss Jones is survived by her sister Bessie Jones, her children Althea Graves, Anita Jones, Angela Jones, Aaron Jones, a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and extended family across the United States.

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