On Friday, June 26th, members of the George Wiley Center (GWC) and the Rhode Island Center for Justice came together at the East Providence Yacht Club to celebrate the launch of our joint effort, the Lifeline Project.
The Lifeline Project focuses on helping medically vulnerable individuals at risk of utility shut-off or already experiencing a utility service termination.
Board members, staff, volunteers, donors, and community stakeholders including beloved community organizer and George Wiley Center founder, Henry Shelton, namesake of the State’s utility arrearage forgiveness program, were all in attendance. Representatives from both organizations shared meaningful, thought-provoking words and stories. Longtime advocate for utility justice, Maggi Rodgers from the George Wiley Center, shared some opening remarks, followed by the GWC Community Organizer, Camilo Viveiros who spoke about the context of the establishment of the organizational partnership. Center for Justice representatives also spoke, with Executive Director Rob McCreanor, staff attorney Misty Delgado, and Board Chair Miriam Weizenbaum sharing stories and an update on the outcomes of the legal advocacy thus far.
The event was a clear success. Even patrons of the venue who had been unaware of the planned celebration, were intrigued by our work and had stories of their own to tell about the endless struggle to afford expensive utility services, truly demonstrating the need in the community for a project of this kind.