Queer Providence Youth Organization’s Office Vandalized

by Adam Brooks

Last month the Providence Youth Student Movement’s (PrYSM) staff entered their office space to find it ransacked with “furniture, office supplies, and eating utensils… arranged in meticulously unsettling ways; file cabinet doors and desk drawers… all left open.” The group says they found a nylon rope hanging from the ceiling, tied into a noose, and knives stabbed into the center of the table in the community room. PrYSM members decided not to go to the police with this incident. They are a community-based organization whose mission is to mobilize young queer people of color and South East Asian descent to organize collectively for social justice. Last summer PrYSM was named the honorary marshals of the 2016 Providence Pride parade but rejected it and boycotted Pride due to the fact that they didn’t believe there should be a an increased police presence at the event following the Orlando massacre. Even without notifying the police about the possible break-in of their space, PrYSM is taking this matter very seriously. “At this moment, many of our supporters have encouraged us to secure our space by installing cameras and an alarm system. We take this decision seriously, as heightened security measures undermine our principle of decreasing surveillance of already heavily policed groups. At the same time, the physical and emotional safety of youth and other communities who use our space is a priority. Frankly, this is a discussion that cuts to the core of what many other community organizations are grappling with: maintaining safe spaces in an era of heightened state surveillance we would love to open up this discussion to the Providence community,” the group said in a statement on their website (http://www.prysm.us/).