Welcome to Providence Netroots Nation!

Netroots Nation

Welcome Netroots Nation to Providence, RI, the Creative Capital, one of America’s greatest little cities and the home of our nation’s first act of civic activism!

Thanks to Mayor Angel Taveras, the City of Providence and our awesome Department of Art, Culture + Tourism and in order to make your experience here truly unique, we’ll be lighting WaterFire for you on Saturday night. Here’s a link to a detailed schedule of the evening’s events.

Thanks for choosing to come to Providence, the Creative Captial. In your honor, WaterFire has a very special day of programming planned that celebrates one of the earliest incidents of civic activism in American history: The Gaspee Incident.

What’s The Gaspee Incident?

The [Gaspee] affair … was the first contest in which British blood was shed in an expedition openly organized against the forces of the mother country, and it differed from all the other preliminary encounters because of the character of those engaged in it. Other outbreaks were the work of an irresponsible mob. … Some of the leading men of Rhode Island sat on the thwarts of the nine boats, and their boldness seems almost incredible to us of the present day. It shows that while public sentiment at Newport and New York and the other great seats of commerce along the coast may have favored the King, the people of Providence … were already prepared to sever their relations with England.”

—from Tales of an Old Sea Port

Of course, there’s always 2 sides to a good story. We were lucky to locate this archival YouTube footage from 1772 of Lt. Dudingston, Captain of the Gaspee.

Don’t let Dudingston get you down. Providence residents rose up and bravely took action to change things and set the course of history in the process. Good ideas and action are born in Providence. Take advantage of it while you’re here!

Our WaterFire on Saturday night will include a number of Gaspee Incident inspired programs. Check out The Gaspee Project microsite for more history and the schedule of events. While we were lucky to locate the above Dudingston video, we were even luckier to find the Twitter streams of the many of the players that changed the course of history 240 years ago. Follow the hashtag #WFGaspee to learn more.

We look forward to seeing you down on the river Saturday night!

Here’s a link to a detailed schedule of Saturday’s events.

About the author

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Peter joined the WaterFire Providence team in March 2011 to co-lead the organization with Barnaby Evans, founder and executive artistic director. Previously, Peter served as executive director, ceo and board member of the American Sail Training Association (Tall Ships America). In 2006, he founded Sea-Fever Consulting LLC, a management consulting firm focused on strategy, communications and leadership development and launched the Weekly Leader blog and podcast. Prior to that he had a 20 year career in financial services working in New York, Boston, San Francisco and London. Life long mariner, photographer and art fan, he lives in Mattapoisett, MA with his wife Jenny and children Luke (10) and Joy (8).

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