Thank you to our members and all who contacted the PUC & Governor last week for real utility relief! We appreciate allied organizations who signed onto our letter to the PUC.
The PUC extended the moratorium on service terminations for utility customers enrolled in the low-income gas and/or electric rates through November 1, 2020, the start of the winter moratorium.
Because of your actions, consumers enrolled in low-income rates are effectively protected from utility termination due to nonpayment through April 2021!
The PUC specifies that:
"all other residential customers of National Grid are protected from electric and/or gas service termination as the result of nonpayment through September 30, 2020"
"The extension is to allow these customers additional time to contact the utility to determine whether they may now be eligible for the low income rate or otherwise enter into payment plans."
This is an important victory! Let's keep up the momentum as we continue to push for a PIPP (Percentage Income Payment Plan) in Rhode Island!
Please continue to call/email the Governor, your state reps and senators, and PUC officials to demand a PIPP and utility relief today.
We need your support to help protect the public health of our families, friends and neighbors during and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.
The RI Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued Order No. 23786 suspending service terminations and collection activities of all regulated electric, natural gas, water and sewer utilities during the COVID-19 Emergency. But the full length of the suspension is still up in the air.
The George Wiley Center encourages the PUC to put in place a permanent moratorium against utility terminations and to improve accessibility to utilities. We asked for emergency restoration for all.
During these critical times, the public must ask for more. To support this work and use your voice to advocate for economic justice for all, please consider taking any of the following actions:
1) Submit Public Comments via email to Luly Massaro, RI PUC Clerk at: and cc:
Put these requests into your own words about why these demands are important.
- Permanent moratorium on shut offs for low-income households
- Emergency Utility Restoration for all low-income households without any down payment
- Immediate implementation of the Percentage Income Payment Plan (PIPP)
2) Share your comments on social media networks
- Twitter RIDPUC tag @georgewileycri
-Instagram tag @georgewileycenter
Use hashtags below along with your comments &/or create others:
#RestorationNOW #PIPPNOW #EnergyJusticeRI #ENDUtilityShutoffs2020
3) Click here to donate today to support the GWC, on the frontline of community advocacy for utility and food security for everyone in the community.
For more information, see our recent email update by clicking here.
Our upcoming event, Struggle Changes Everything, has been moved to May 7, 2021. It will also be a celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the George Wiley Center. We hope you can make it!
Struggle Changes Everything:
Celebrating the Power of Transformative Justice
Friday, May 7th, 2021
6:00pm to 9:00pm
Good Food & Drink
Silent Art Auction
All to support the work of the George Wiley Center
461 Main Street
Pawtucket, RI 02860
Join the George Wiley Center and friends for an evening of celebration as we build momentum toward bigger victories in our future. Gather together with members and allies to celebrate and sustain our collective organizing efforts.
Francis Fox Piven, friend of George A. Wiley and longtime social movement participant and scholar
Mark Toney, former organizer with WAGE in RI, cofounder of DARE, ED of TURN
Diana Hernandez, energy justice researcher and scholar
Donate Artwork for A Silent Auction
Surrounding the celebration, walls will be decorated with inspiring art to motivate our movements. If you are a local artist, support the GWC by donating your work. Contact the GWC by May 1st
Purchase a table(s) for your organization, friends and/or family or buy individual tickets:
Check off the appropriate category below and send your check to George Wiley Center 32 East Ave. Pawtucket, RI 02860 or pay online by clicking here.
1 admission ticket = $40 (for almost 40 years of organizing!) buffet dinner & drink ticket
1 admission ticket = $75 buffet dinner & drink ticket & commemorative T-shirt (Let us know what is the size you want)
1/2 table of 5 seats = $150 (save $50) 5 seats buffet dinners with 5 drinks.
Full table of 10 seats = $300 (save $100) 10 seats with buffet dinners & 10 drinks.
I cannot attend but wish to support the event with a donation.
Solidarity Sponsorship Categories
Your Solidarity Sponsorship messages and ads will be included in our program
and displayed on the GWC website.
Consider these options:
▢ My sponsorship is anonymous
▢ I plan to attend
▢ I’m proud to be a Solidarity Sponsor but will not use my seats
Send your image or message via email or mail by May 17th.
Agitator 1/8-page ad (business card: 3.625” x 2.25” horizontal)
$200 (optional 2 seats with buffet dinners and drinks)
Organizer ¼-page ad (3.625” x 4.875” vertical)
$500 (optional 5 seats ½ table with buffet dinners and drinks)
Transforming Together ½-page ad (7.5” x 4.875” vertical)
$1,000 (optional full table of 10 seats with buffet dinners and drinks)
Movement Builder full page ad (7.5” x 10” vertical)
$2,000 (optional full table of 10 seats with buffet dinners and drinks)
Revolution: full page color back cover ad (7.5” x 10” vertical)
$5,000 (optional full table of 10 with buffet dinners and drinks)
Sign up to sustain our organizing with your monthly donation. GWC monthly donors will be recognized in our program (unless you want to be anonymous.)
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.