R 134
2021 -- S 0693
Enacted 03/23/2021

S E N A T E   R E S O L U T I O N

Introduced By: Senators Mendes, Mack, Bell, Pearson, Euer, Quezada, DiMario, and Raptakis

Date Introduced: March 18, 2021

     WHEREAS, Emancipation Day is an official holiday of the Commonwealth of Puerto
Rico, commemorating the abolition of slavery on March 22, 1873, when the Island was still a
colony of Spain. On that day, the Spanish National Assembly banned slavery in Puerto Rico; and
     WHEREAS, Twenty-five years later, in 1898, American troops defeated Spain in the
Spanish-American War, raised the flag in Puerto Rico, and the United States officially took
control of the former Spanish colony. On March 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson signed the
Jones-Shafroth Act into law, under which Puerto Rico became a United States Territory and
granted statutory citizenship to Puerto Ricans. The Act also created a bill of rights for the
territory, and separated its government into executive, legislative and judicial branches; and
     WHEREAS, On May 18, 1917, President Wilson signed the Selective Service Act of
1917 into law, and 20,000 Puerto Ricans were eventually drafted to serve during World War I.
Puerto Rican soldiers were sent to guard the Panama Canal which made Puerto Rico a critical part
of the United States war efforts; and
     WHEREAS, The first Puerto Ricans in Providence arrived in the 1920s and moved into
the surrounding areas to work in the agricultural and manufacturing industries. Rhode Island is
now home to more than 40,000 Puerto Ricans, and Rhode Island served as a place of refuge for
many Puerto Rican friends and family members after Hurricane Maria devastated the Island in
2017; now, therefore be it
     RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island hereby recognizes the
territory of Puerto Rico for its major contributions in science and pharmaceutical development,
which have advanced our nation's ability to reduce our dependence on foreign pharmaceutical
ingredients and be on the cutting edge of pharmaceutical advancement; and be it further
     RESOLVED, That this Senate hereby joyously celebrates March 22nd, 2021 as
"Emancipation Day of Puerto Rico" and furthermore recognizes Rhode Island's shared history
with the territory of Puerto Rico and its contributions to our country and our State; and be it
     RESOLVED, This Senate hereby further recognizes that over a century later, the citizens
of Puerto Rico, although Americans by birth, are not fully recognized and honored by being
denied full voting citizenship, because it is not guaranteed by the Constitution, nor are they
represented in our federal government with a voting delegation; and be it further
     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and hereby is authorized and directed to
transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to the Governor of Puerto Rico, the Honorable
Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia.