A statue of a woman holding a scale in front of a city.

Anti-Semitism: Sanchez out in Governor’s office. Use of Civil Rights Act for college complaints.

UPDATED (see red type, below):

Miguel Sanchez, the Providence City Councilor for Ward 6 worked as a Constituent Services Associate in the Office of RI Governor Dan Mckee. He also serves as Vice-Chair of the Olneyville Neighborhood Association Board of Directors. According to an “X” post, is a the Council’s Majority Whip and “was elected to the Providence Redevelopment Agency” by his colleagues after the resignation of Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11)”.

Sanchez, who participated in the pro-Palestine, anti-Israel demonstration in downtown Providence approximately two weeks ago, including the chanting of phrases such as “from the river to the sea, only then will Palestine be free”, a common anti-Semitic trope calling for all of Israel to be eliminated from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

State Representative Enrique Sanchez, Miguel’s brother, posted after these posts, “You are not alone bro. I’m behind you 100%”.

From Governor McKee’s office:

When asked for a comment about Sanchez’ leaving his position, the Governor’s office released this information:

Mr. Sanchez’s last day of state service was 10/27/2023.

Last Tuesday Gov. McKee’s office said:

Mr. Sanchez is an associate in our constituent services office.   

The Governor’s position on Israel is clear. The Governor has unequivocally condemned the despicable acts of war and terror perpetrated by Hamas against the people of Israel. The Governor also agrees with the President that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in safety and peace.   

The Governor strongly believes that words matter – and words can have the potential to fan the flames of hate and division.   

Any acts of violence will not be tolerated in Rhode Island.   At the direction of the Governor, a member of our senior staff has spoken with the individual and the situation is under review. At this time, we will not be commenting on it further.


The Providence Journal reported that he was escorted out of the office space by RI Capitol Police.

Under Constituent Affairs, there is this description of their purpose: “The Constituent Service Office is committed to delivering the highest standards of quality, performance, and integrity in serving the residents of Rhode Island…”


Providence City Council

Parker Gavigan, who works with the Council responded to our request for a statement from the Council: “The council does not typically comment on issues as a whole representative body.”


Providence Journal

In an article by reporter, Katherine Gregg, on this issue, she wrote:

“On the day of the surprise Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, Sanchez (he posted): “We must demand the respect of all human rights, especially the Palestinian people who faced atrocities for decades and at the same time condemn all attacks on civilians.”


After Sanchez posted his comment on “X”, Justin Roias, LCSW, MSW, who is a Providence City Councilor for Ward 4 (North End), posted his support for Sanchez:

And from the President of the Providence City Council:


Sen. Tiara Mack, Providence, District 6 added her support:


We reached out to Miguel Sanchez for comment; he did not respond. In an NBC10 interview he said “absolutely not” when asked if he regretted anything he has said.


UPDATE: Noon, October 31st

The ACLU of Rhode Island issued the following statement today: 

The ACLU of Rhode Island finds it concerning any time that a government employee is punished for the private exercise of their First Amendment rights. We recognize that there are certain limited circumstances where the scope of free speech protection extended to government officials is reduced, but it is not obvious from Mr. Sanchez’s job responsibilities that they apply here or justify the extreme action of termination.

While the Governor has made clear his vehement disagreement with the views expressed by Mr. Sanchez, we believe he should also clarify how those personally expressed views compromise the ability of either of them to discharge their public duties so as to warrant the sanction of firing. It is this factor, not merely strong disagreement with an employee’s personal, off-hours expression of controversial views, that should be key, and which is essential to prevent a chilling impact on the exercise of free speech by others in his administration.”


Antisemitic activities on college campuses

Incidents on college campuses over the last few days have increased, from peaceful demonstrations, to protests inside campus buildings, and to threats to students inside a kosher dining hall. At the daily press briefing, the Biden administration announced the White House will take a series of steps including actions to be taken by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Department of Education, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, part of DHS, including engagement with campus law enforcement officials.

“To the students at Cornell, and on campuses across the country, we’re tracking these threats closely. We’re thinking of you and we’re going to do everything we can on both at Cornell and across the country to counter … antisemitism,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. The head of a Jewish organization of students on the campus of Cornell said, “everyone is absolutely terrified – we don’t know if we should leave or stay…”.

Several college trustees and major donors around the country have announced they will no longer contribute to colleges that allow anti-semitism and threats to students to continue, without comment and action, saying their silence makes them complicit.

In addition, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights will also be updating the intake process for discrimination complaints under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, to specifically state that certain forms of Antisemitism – and Islamophobia – are prohibited by this law.

The Anti-Defamation League CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, praised the White House’s new measures to combat antisemitism on college campuses.

No incidents have been reported at Rhode Island campuses, as best as could be determined. Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) groups are on RISD, Brown, and Rhode Island College campuses. SJP is the national organization active in campus activities against the Israel War.

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