Rep. Anastasia Williams tries again to remove Portuguese as minority owned business category

Rep. Anastasia Williams has once again surfaced her bill to remove Portuguese – and only Portuguese – from full list of Minority Owned Businesses in Rhode Island.

The bill is set for consideration before the House Labor Committee TODAY, Feb. 24th. Rep. Williams is the chair of that committee.

The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Grace Diaz.

The bill makes ONE change: It draws a red line through Portuguese inclusion:

Here is the bill, in entirety:

PALCUS, the Portuguese American Leadership Council of the United States weighed in last year with this statement:


Rep. Williams has also released a new bill that would do two things – remove “women” as a minority classification for awarding of contracts – and up the percentage of business given out from 15% to 25%. Here is a link to Bill H5717

To express your opinion about these bills or to contact the Labor Committee, refer to this list, below:

We have requested a comment from Rep. Williams and Rep. Diaz, and have had no response as of this date.

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  1. Silvia on February 26, 2021 at 5:44 pm

    Many of you must not remember the discrimination that Portuguese experienced on the east coast upon immigrating. Working in blue collar jobs like maids, fisherman etc and the insults because many couldn’t speak English and being told get back on the boat and go home. They are a minority and this representative is clearly targeting Portuguese because of race and perception of whiteness. Portuguese come from all over and are all ranges of skin tones. People in Angola who speak Portuguese and identify as Portuguese are also of African descent.

  2. Lesley Maxwell on February 25, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    Instead of addressing this, they should be out, pounding on doors to explain to the black/brown and Latinx community how important getting the vaccine is. I understand the hesitancy re: Tuskegee experiments which was finally stopped during the 1970s and reminiscent of Hitler’s reign of terror on Jews with medical experimentations.
    Having seen pictures of Ms. Williams at rallies with a mask that says “This mask is as useless as the governor”, she consistently sends the wrong message. That “mask” isn’t useless. It’s our only defense against the virus. Ms. Diaz is her faithful follower.
    What they are doing is creating a further divide between communities based on color and ethnic background. It helps no one.

  3. Espo1234 on February 25, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    I agree with her..?? Please add Italians’ 🙂

    why would Portuguese even be on ..oh man…