We won! Emergency Utility Regulation
We proposed (and won!) a regulation to allow affordable down payments for utility consumers.
Team Trivia, Food, Raffles, & Fun for a good cause!
Thursday November 21, 2019
Inside McCoy Stadium
1 Columbus Ave. Pawtucket, RI
Bring your team and compete for the Brightest Bulb Award at our 10th Annual Quiz Bowl: a night of trivia, food, raffles and fun.
Tickets: $60 per person, $480 per table
We are thrilled to welcome this year’s emcee, Bev Wiley, sister of the late George Wiley whose work for racial and welfare rights inspired the name of our organization. Bev Wiley has been a leader in advancing women’s athletics in Rhode Island, as well as a seasoned sports announcer, so we know this year’s game will be a memorable event!
With special guest, Silvia Federici, renowned leader and scholar in welfare rights organizing.
Entry includes optional trivia game play, all-you-can-eat hot dogs and snacks, and dinner buffet. You can create and name your own team of 8 with co-workers, friends or family, or let us know if you are looking for a team. Cash bar will be available. Historically an enjoyable night for all!
Sponsorships from businesses and organizations make this a winning event! Quiz Bowl sponsorships include a Quiz Bowl Team of 8, a 1/2 page program ad and banner space at the event. Sponsorship levels:
World Series Champions Sponsorship - $5,000
Play Off Partners Sponsorship - $2,500
Hometown Heroes Sponsorship - $1,250
Base Hit Sponsorship - $750
If your organization would like to support the George Wiley Center, but can't attend, please consider purchasing ad space in our program.
1/3 Page Ad - $125
1/2 Page Ad - $250
Full Page Ad - $500
We are also accepting Raffle Donations!
Trivia Game Details: Teams may be up to 8 people per table. Questions will be read aloud. Answers will be written on each team's answer sheet. There will be 9 rounds of 7 questions. Categories may include local history, famous quotes, toys & games, music, or "identify this face." Scorers will keep a running tally after each round and "proctors" will make sure no one consults their iPhone.
If you are unable to attend but would still like to support the George Wiley Center, we greatly appreciate any donations. The George Wiley Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, receipts for tax purposes are provided upon request.
George Wiley Center Announces New Board of Directors!
Transforming the Board
Sign HERE in solidarity with the board transformation
direct link to our petition of solidarity:
On June 8th, 2019, members, volunteers, current and former staff and board members of the George Wiley Center acted to take back the Board of Directors on behalf of the community it serves. We, the new Board of Directors, are grateful to have the support of the George Wiley Center’s employees, volunteers, members, and friends. Other individuals, together with grassroots and membership-based organizations—locally and nationally—have reached out to encourage us, and we invite you to do the same by signing our petition (direct link at tinyurl.com/solidaritygwc ), liking us on Facebook, retweeting us with #takebackyourorg, becoming a member, and donating.
Moving forward, we are renewing our commitment to grassroots organizing for social, economic, and racial justice. Our top priority in the coming months will be to change the foundation of the Board of Directors from an authoritarian model to a democratic one, and to hold organization-wide elections to give control back to the members. We are excited to strengthen our relationship with members as we build power collectively to fight injustice and support one another. We know how much we can accomplish together, and we welcome anyone interested in continuing the legacy of the George Wiley Center to join us. We hold open (free and public) organizing meetings every Wednesday at 6:30 PM.
The Board of Directors of the George Wiley Center
Zainab Ilumoka (President)
Servio Gomez (Co-President)
Maria Gold (Treasurer)
Alex Burnett (Secretary)
Kwame “Tony” Ansah Jr.
Contact the GWC Board at
Group photo of new GWC Board and supporters, Pawtucket Public Library stairs, June 8, 2019
photos by Susan O'Connell
Statement from the Executive Director
I came to the George Wiley Center in 2012 as a longtime organizer. One of my driving principles has been encouraging groups toward democratic structures run by those most directly impacted. Almost 30 years ago I started organizing to challenge the root causes of injustice and because people like me, a first-generation graduate of public high school and public college, a child of working class immigrants, a queer organizer, are too often ignored and underrepresented, even in so-called social justice circles. For years I agitated internally for changes at the George Wiley Center to align the board of directors with our grassroots organizing mission. Ultimately it took working with members who confronted the crisis head on, using direct action to transform the board.
Power is rarely given without a struggle. Too many nonprofit boards are dominated by those who are seated based on money or insider connections, or who presume they know better than those most impacted by issues. Boards that are elected by a broader base of members are more in line with organizing groups. Boards are entrusted with critical oversight, while there is often little oversight of boards within a self-electing authoritarian model. It's a problem when board members are disconnected from on-the-ground campaigns and at the same time are making irresponsible decisions that impact the success of the organization.
While many wonderful board members have served the George Wiley Center over the years, in a system with little accountability board mis-leadership can steer an organization away from the vision. For almost two years I alerted the board to its own mismanagement, including issues of xenophobia, racism and classism, compounded by board leadership that repeatedly broke bylaws and common sense ethics. Unfortunately my concerns were usually ignored or dismissed, and I was often reprimanded. On May 3, 2019 I sent a formal letter to the board regarding recent serious actions by board leadership that were against the bylaws and threatened the future of our organization. My corrective suggestions were ignored.
I’m proud to say that during this difficult time the George Wiley Center has continued to be rooted in organizing efforts. Our organizing work that challenges the status quo is difficult enough. But we can’t change society if we don’t also transform our social justice organizations internally, demanding transparency and ethics in decision-making, dismantling the rampant racism and classism that short circuit our ability to fulfill our stated goals. One step toward undoing systems of oppression is shifting toward more representative and democratic decision-making structures. Power structures reinforce oppression when they silence and marginalize those who speak out. Organizing teaches us how effective it can be to come forward, seeking justice with the backing of our communities.
I'm so inspired by the courage and commitment of the new George Wiley Center Board of Directors that represents a wide array of Rhode Islanders impacted by social and economic injustices, including five board members who have been involved in our organizing work and who had been waiting for years to join the board. When a seat at the table is denied for so long, a seat at the table is no longer enough. It was time to take back the table and that’s what people did.
For those who may have doubts why the transformative board action was necessary, it was done to save and strengthen the George Wiley Center. If anyone has questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m willing to offer further insights as needed, while also not wanting to distract attention too far away from our other ongoing efforts. I hope that past and new supporters welcome the recent positive changes, so we can work together on this path to increasing grassroots power. Thank you for signing on and sharing our call for solidarity during this pivotal time at tinyurl.com/solidaritygwc. Please stay in touch.
Beyond the George Wiley Center, I hope others can use our organization’s story as an example of collective visioning and transformative justice. I'm excited about our next steps, the possibilities of liberation, the power of organizing!
Yours in the Struggle,
Coordinator/Executive Director, George Wiley Center
ABOUT the George Wiley Center
Founded in 1981, the organization is named for Rhode Islander George Wiley who was active in the Civil and Welfare Rights movements. We are a grassroots group, organizing with low-income Rhode Islanders to advocate for systematic changes aimed at alleviating problems associated with poverty. Our mission is “to build a community that addresses human needs and redresses injustices.”
With dozens of concrete victories over the past 35 years, we work to strengthen access, affordability, and democracy in areas of basic need and dignified quality of life. Issues of focus include utility access, SNAP benefits, school breakfast, living wages, (un)/employment, youth jobs, and other struggles to eliminate poverty. Powered by the collective efforts of many, the George Wiley Center's organizing strength lies in our multi-faceted strategies-- through direct practical support, statewide meetings, public hearings, research, community education, know-your-rights clinics, grassroots lobbying, and direct actions, we continue to push for positive policy changes to achieve social and economic justice.
Read on to learn more about how we work and our mission.
GWC Statewide Meeting -Wednesday
Learn how you can make a difference and make utilities affordable for everyone in RI!
Wednesday, 6:30 PM
32 East Ave
Pawtucket RI 02860
Regular Workshops held-- contact us for upcoming scheduled dates, or to host a workshop at your organization, school, or community group.
George Wiley Center
32 East Ave
Pawtucket RI 02860
Are you facing termination of your gas or electric service? Join us at this informational clinic to learn your rights and ways to stop utility shut-offs in Rhode Island.