FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, October 27, 2021
CONTACT: Sydney Montstream-Quas, RICAGV Board Chair

Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence Welcomes Three New Board Members

October 25, 2021

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence is proud to announce that it has added three new members to its board of directors. Gemelya “Gem” Barros, Cedric Huntley and Claire Phipps join current board members Sydney Montstream-Quas (Chair), Pete Bilderback (Vice-Chair), Diana Garlington (Secretary) and Travis Escobar.

Gemelya “Gem” Barros first became a gun violence advocate in 2012 after losing her daughter Shemeeka to gun violence. She formed a non-profit “Healing Through Art” and has been teaching trauma-based healing arts for the past six years. Says Barros, “I realize that we have a very serious problem with gun violence in our community and our world as a whole. We cannot keep living this way. All of our children deserve to grow and have a future, and parents deserve to grow celebrating their children’s accolades. I used art as a form of healing and relieving some of the grip that trauma and grief had on me after such a traumatic loss. I’m grateful to serve as a new board member on RICAGV and work with its wonderful team of dedicated people.”

Cedric Huntley is a life-long resident of Providence who serves as Executive Director of the Nonviolence Institute in Providence and served as the Director of Student Services at The Met School from 2002-2019. Huntley is well known for his long history of serving as an advocate for at-risk youth. He has received numerous community awards for his work, including the 2019 Gun Violence Prevention Impact Award from RICAGV.

Claire Phipps brings a wealth of professional experience in building meaningful relationships between supporters and progressive organizations to help ensure their sustainability to RICAGV. As the Director of Philanthropy for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Claire raised more than $6 million for their campaign to purchase the Providence Health Center and expand Planned Parenthood’s services, community involvement, and educational programming. Claire was most recently the Chief Advancement and Experience Officer at the Gordon School in East Providence where she doubled the annual support from the previous year and oversaw communications for the institution through the COVID-19 pandemic.