‘Day without a woman’ forces closure of Providence municipal court

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Municipal court in Providence will be closed Wednesday due to the city’s decision to allow female employees to take a personal day in support of the national “day without a woman” demonstration.

In a statement released Tuesday, City Council President Luis Aponte said 75 court cases will be rescheduled because the demonstration will leave the court without enough staff Wednesday.

“We are trying to get the word out to everyone who was issued a summons to appear in court or planned to pay fines tomorrow,” Aponte said. “Many people have to take time out of work or find childcare well in advance of a court date. We’re working under a tight time frame to minimize the impact of this decision.”

The City Council oversees municipal court. Aponte said he has asked the court to ensure that licenses aren’t suspended and late fees are not accrued because all payments received Wednesday won’t be processed for another day.

Aponte said the court administrator and court officers will be working Wednesday.

The decision to close municipal court came after Mayor Jorge Elorza announced female employees can take the day off to support the demonstration. He warned that constituents “may experience delays in the delivery of non-emergency city services.”

The “day without a woman” is being organized by the same group who held a “women’s march” in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 21. Elorza was among the Rhode Island residents who attended the march.

In addition to allowing women to take the day from paid or unpaid labor, the organizers are encouraging protesters to wear red on March 8 and avoid shopping for the day, with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses.

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Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan