State House 11th District Representative Grace Diaz, Trinity Repertory Theater Coordinator of Activism Through Performance and Resident Acting Company Member Joe Wilson, Jr. and President of the Silver Lake/Olneyville Little League Richard Hemphill
Thursday, January 30, 2020
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza joined City Council President Sabina Matos, members of the Providence City Council, faith leaders, and community members to induct State House 11th District Representative Grace Diaz, Trinity Repertory Theater Coordinator of Activism Through Performance and Resident Acting Company Member Joe Wilson, Jr. and President of the Silver Lake/Olneyville Little League Richard Hemphill to the City’s MLK Hall of Fame. The 17th annual induction ceremony will be held in the City Council Chamber on the third floor of Providence City Hall from 5:30pm – 7:00pm on Thursday, January 30, 2020.
“Providence is a City of Kindness and our residents honor the legacy of Dr. King each and every day by performing acts of service throughout our inclusive and thriving communities,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “It is with great pride that we recognize the 17th MLK Hall of Fame inductees who continue to inspire others through their actions and encourage a new generation of community leaders.”
The ceremony is sponsored by the Providence Human Relations Commission will be hosted by Commissioner Kai LoMuscio. The ceremony will also feature performances by Ahlyha Bright and Joe Wilson, Jr. An Invocation will be provided by Rev. Howard M. Jenkins, Jr. of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The MLK Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who carry on the legacy of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. within the community. Inductees have made substantial contributions to acceptance, social justice, civil rights and equality in the City of Providence.
Grace Diaz is a dedicated public servant, serving as State Representative for Rhode Island’s 11th District since she was first elected in 2004. Diaz has carried on the work of Dr. King by fighting for legislation on issues affecting women, immigration, children and our most vulnerable residents. Representative Diaz has been a crucial member of the state legislature in passing protections that support closing gaps among youth based on their race, ethnicity and disability status and preventing discrimination among all residents based on race, religion, gender, and other factors. As a member of the Finance Committee during the 2019 session, Representative Diaz was instrumental in securing an increase in the state appropriation for pre-kindergarten and multilanguage learners. She was also successful in restarting a lapsed program that provides fare-free bus passes to low-income seniors and elderly Rhode Islanders.
Now in his 15th season with the Trinity Repertory Company, Joe Wilson, Jr. is a staple of Providence’s artist community. Wilson has brought to life countless characters throughout his storied acting career that has included critically acclaimed Broadway performances during productions such as the 2000 Tony Award-nominated Jesus Christ Superstar and the 2018 Tony Award-nominated Iceman Cometh. Wilson currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Southside Cultural Center in South Providence, the Manton Avenue Project in Olneyville, and the Center for Reconciliation at the Cathedral of Saint Paul in collaboration with the Episcopal Diocese of RI but had the most fun a few years ago serving as Grand Marshal for PVDFest. He holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame, and an MFA in Acting from the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theatre training program.
Richard Calvin Hemphill was born on August 28, 1960, in Knoxville, Tennessee. He is one of 10 children, the father of three daughters, and grandfather to four grandchildren. Richard served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1978 to 1993, where he mentored young soldiers as an Instructor at the Marine Corps Leadership Academy. Additionally, he served as Marine Security Guard at U.S. Embassies in Georgetown, Guyana and Moscow, Russia. Richard is proud to have won World Military Martial Arts Championships in 1984 and 1985 and achieving the status of Eighth Degree Black Belt. He describes himself as very involved in youth sports by having coached Football, Baseball, Volleyball, Softball. Currently, Hemphill serves as President of Silver Lake/Olneyville Little League and is an active member of The Young Women’s Christian Association Veterans Committee. He has also served as Board Member at Nickerson House.