Gov. Raimondo’s moment to diversify our courts is right now – Jim Vincent, NAACP

by Jim Vincent, NAACP, contributing writer. Opinion

The NAACP is the largest and oldest Civil Rights organization in America. In Rhode Island, the Providence Branch was founded in 1913 in response to the serious social justice issues of the time. 

Over the last 10 years, arguably the number one advocacy issue taken up by the NAACP Providence Branch is the racial diversification of the Rhode Island Judiciary. 

Today, out of approximately 90 judges and magistrates only six are of color: five judges and one magistrate making up approximately 7 percent of the judiciary.  This contrasts with approximately 30 percent of the Rhode Island population being made up by people of color!

Today, the NAACP Providence Branch is excited because Governor Gina Raimondo has a chance to put three women of color on the bench solidifying her legacy as a Judiciary civil rights champion.

The NAACP Providence Branch supports the outstanding lineup of Superior Court judge Melissa Long, attorney Maria Ferro Deaton, and Central Falls Municipal Judge Elizabeth Ortiz to the Supreme, Superior and Family Courts, respectively.

In the case of Judge Melissa Long, she would make history as the first person of color to be appointed to the Rhode Island Supreme Court. Judge Elizabeth Ortiz would also make history as the first Latina and second Latinx person appointed to any Rhode Island court. Finally, attorney Maria Ferro Deaton, a former Rhode Island Assistant Attorney General and Massachusetts Assistant District Attorney with over 100 jury trials in her experience is a candidate for one of three current vacancies on the Rhode Island Superior Court.

In the aftermath of the George Floyd murder and in the name of social justice, the NAACP Providence Branch encourages Governor Raimondo to do the right thing.  Make history, and continue to diversify the courts!


Jim Vincent is in his 5th term as the president of the NAACP Providence Branch.

He is also the producer and host of the Jim Vincent Television Show.

Jim writes and speaks with passion on the issue of diversity.

He has spent his entire career working in housing and community development. Since 1998, he has served as Manager of Constituent Advocacy at Rhode Island Housing, where he provides outreach and technical assistance to undeserved communities.

A tireless advocate in affordable housing and minority issues, Jim has provided leadership on numerous boards and organizations – the RI Affirmative Action Professionals, East Bay Community Action, the Providence Public Library, the Urban League of RI, and the Providence Branch NAACP.

Additionally, Jim has co-chaired RI Minority Enterprise Development Week, and served as media chair for both the RI Black Heritage Society Ball and the 2005 RI Cape Verdean Common Threads conference. He is vice president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, spokesperson of the African Alliance of RI and serves on a multitude of other boards, such as United Way of RI, RI Civil Rights Roundtable, RI for Community and Justice Advisory Board, among others.

Jim holds a bachelor’s degree in Government from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. He is originally from Boston’s South End, where he spent the first years of his career working in local and state government and non-profits. He later served as Housing Coordinator for the City of East Providence. He currently lives in Cranston.


  1. ray rickman on December 6, 2020 at 10:29 am

    Jim Vincent is on the right track. As we wind down this year in which the majority of Americans had said that Black Lives Matter the governor should listen to al of the people seeking a more just judicial system. Ray Rickman – Stages of Freedom