Black Lives Matter Rhode Island is demanding that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse cut all ties* with Bailey’s Beach Club (Spouting Rock Beach Association) and resign by next Friday or face protests from the organization.
“This is an issue that’s not going to go away, and Senator Whitehouse needs to address it. He needs to take it on,” the group’s Mark Fisher told ABC6 on Wednesday. “If he thinks we’re just going to forget about it, if he thinks that it’s going to get swept under the rug, it’s not.”
“We’ll go to his club, we’ll go to his office, we’ll go to his home,” Fisher said, “wherever we need to go.”
“This club is a proven racist club with exclusive ties to supremacy and exclusion, and that’s something that’s not gonna be tolerated by me, by my associates, my affiliates or my organization,” Fisher said.
“There have been calls for me to resign from the club, which I understand,” Senator Whitehouser said last month. “However, I have no membership to resign, nor will I ask my wife or any other family members to do so,” the senator said. “First, they are on the right side of pushing for improvements. Second, and more importantly, my relationship with my family is not one in which I tell them what to do.”
“Recent characterizations in the press and in other commentary about Bailey’s Beach Club are inaccurate and false,” Bailey’s told the Providence Journal in June. “Over many years, Club members and their families have included people of many racial, religious, and ethnic backgrounds from around the world who come to Newport every summer. Our membership comes from all over the globe to our small club and we welcome the diversity of view and background they bring to our community.”
“The senator says he’s about systemic change in America,” Gary Dantzler, founder of Black Lives Matter Rhode Island, told The Washington Post. “But the problem that I have with [his membership in an allegedly all-white club] is that it’s almost a contradiction. Someone with that power that we elected to be our senator, our watchdog, he’s not fulfilling the part of being transparent to African Americans, so I have a huge problem with that.”
* Senator Whitehouse is not a member of Bailey’s Beach.
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