Just add wind. This image is not meant to be a metaphor. I am not trying to make a statement. I was really hoping for just one tiny gust of wind to fill out these flags, because symbols are important and the Providence Police have made a worthy gesture here that I find encouraging.
When I first read about this in the ProJo last Monday I knew I had my Flag Day photo. I stopped by twice; this was the best shot. The flag on the left is a Black Lives Matter flag. Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré spoke about the decision on WPRO radio.
The Black Lives Matter flag flying at the Providence Public Safety Complex acknowledges the need to examine policing and its relationship with people of color, Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Paré said Monday morning on WPRO.
“We need to do something in this profession,” Paré told WPRO’s Gene Valicenti. “We’ve got to get through this, and we have to be a strong change agent.”
And WPRO has exactly the audience he can help influence. I assume that Paré and Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements have gotten some push-back on this, so the gesture should be applauded. The flags fly over the Public Safety Memorial on which are inscribed the names of the firemen and police officers who have died in the line of duty. It means a lot.
I have never met Chief Clements but I am always impressed with his approach and demeanor. He always seems to be going to neighborhood meetings and listening to complaints. He is surprisingly soft-spoken, and frankly, when I have listened to him speaking on the news, I have often wondered how this man made it through the ranks to the top position. But hooray.
So what was Chief Clements thinking about a year ago, before the current turmoil? Was he asking for bigger bullets and more tanks? Not at all. Our Chief of Police was urging state legislators to increase subsidies for child care programs, and funding for state Pre-K programs and voluntary home-visiting programs for infants and toddlers and their families. He wrote about it in an opinion piece in the Providence Journal.
This academic success has a tremendous impact on public safety because children who succeed in school are less apt to become involved in crime. Nationally, 6 out of 10 state prison inmates don’t have a high school diploma.
That is enlightened thinking.