Saturday’s WaterFire Celebrates Black, Indigenous and People of Color Communities

The Papitto Opportunity Connection (POC) is sponsoring the lighting that includes a Chinese lion dance, an indigenous performance, a ceremonial torch lighting and Caribbean soul and salsa music.

2019 6 22 Boat Procession Photograph By Kevin Murray 1200x800 1

This Saturday’s WaterFire will celebrate Rhode Island’s Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities. The event begins at 5:15 p.m. and includes a Chinese lion dance leading the procession to the basin, an indigenous performance from the Harris Family Dance Troupe at the WaterFire stage, and the lighting of ceremonial torches by BIPOC community organizations and the board members of the Papitto Opportunity Connection (POC), which is sponsoring the lighting.

At the special WaterFire event, the Papitto Opportunity Connection will also announce a POC scholarship program. There will also be POC community village on Steeple Street, featuring a dozen POC-funded organizations sharing information about programs and opportunities for the BIPOC community. The POC music stage will highlight performances from the Becky Bass band performing Caribbean soul music from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and Robertico Arias Y su Alebreke will perform salsa from 8:30-10:30 p.m. A POC tent located on the Washington Street bridge will have foundation information available as well as details on job opportunities through a partnership with Lifespan and education opportunities from POC-funded Career Devs. Teach for America will also have job information on hand.

The Papitto Opportunity Connection was established in late 2020 to support education, skills training and entrepreneurship efforts specifically in Rhode Island’s BIPOC communities. It’s a nonprofit private foundation formed by Barbara Papitto as “a continuation of the long-time commitment she and her late-husband Ralph have made to creating educational opportunities and supporting children impacted by systemic racial injustice in Rhode Island.”

POC is working with Rhode Island’s Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities by investing in education, job skills training and entrepreneurial ventures. Some of the entities that are benefiting from funding from the foundation include Indigenous Empowerment Network, Dorcas Place, Habitat for Justice, John Hope Settlement House, Center for Southeast Asians, Halo Project, College Leadership RI, FLY Initiative, Greater Providence YMCA, Teach for America, Mount Hope Community Center, SMART Clinic, Southside Community Land Trust, Lifespan, Career Devs, RI Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Winners Circle and Building Futures.

 

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