by Tessa Roy WPRO News
The Providence Teachers Union was planning a protest at this weekend’s Providence Education Summit, but their President Maribeth Calabro claims Mayor Jorge Elorza called her on her cell phone to ask the union not to protest.
“His statement was basically you know, there will be educators there, there will be community people there, there will be people of color, and it won’t look good,” Calabro told WPRO’s Tara Granahan. “I don’t know what that means to be honest with you. I can surmise that he doesn’t want us there obviously creating a ruckus and that’s not what we’re going to do.”
Elorza said he did reach out to Calabro but that her characterization of his remarks was a “total distortion.” He said he called to tell her that it would be “a mistake all around to politicize” the event.
“This is an opportunity for the community to tell us what their vision for the city of Providence is and the optics of the teachers union protesting the ability for the community to have themselves heard is just not a good one,” he said. Elorza suggested the teachers attend the summit not to protest, but to “come and be a part of the conversation.”
“Connect directly with the community and with the students. It’s something that helps everyone across the board,” he said. “You know, 92% of the kids in our public schools are kids of color and it’s an important perspective for everyone to hear. So they’re invited just as everyone else.”