WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Jack Reed announced his guest for the 2023 State of the Union address on Tuesday, February 7: Lucy Rios, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV).  A resident of Central Falls, Ms. Rios was named executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence in September 2022, after serving in the role in an interim capacity.  Lucy Rios has dedicated two decades to supporting survivors of domestic violence and their families in Rhode Island.  She is also a founding board member of the Segue Institute for Learning Charter School; serves on the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee of the City of Providence; and is a founding member of SISTA FIRE, an organization that seeks to build the collective power of women of color in Rhode Island for social, economic, and political transformation.

“I’m honored to have Lucy Rios join me for the State of the Union address. Lucy is a tireless champion for preventing and responding to domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of abuse.  Her dedicated leadership at RICADV has made a positive difference in our community and her advocacy helped us reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which is near and dear to President Biden’s heart.  He helped write and pass VAWA when he served in the U.S. Senate.  VAWA remains an essential program that allows organizations like the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence to assist victims of domestic and sexual violence and hold perpetrators accountable.  Working on the Appropriations Committee, I am pleased we were able to deliver a record $700 million this year to ensure that survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and exploitation have access to the trauma-informed services and law enforcement protections they need,” said Senator Reed.

“I am honored and humbled at the invitation to attend the State of the Union address with Senator Reed, who has been a strong supporter of the anti-domestic violence movement and has championed many laws to provide and increase essential funding to support victims and survivors of domestic violence, hold abusers accountable, and prevent violence before it starts,” said Lucy Rios. “Our efforts and commitment alongside our community partners and supporters to end domestic violence is vital to the health of our families and communities in our state and beyond. Solidarity from lawmakers to community members in the vision of eliminating violence in our state and nationally will help us realize a future where people feel safe in their communities and at home.”

To help prevent domestic violence, support survivors, and hold perpetrators accountable for their violent actions, Senator Reed helped pass a series of laws and appropriations initiatives in the 117th Congress, including:

  • Directing $1 billion in supplemental funding for domestic violence and sexual assault services through the American Rescue Plan.
  • Reformed the military justice system to address sexual assault, harassment, and related crimes. As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Reed helped pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included sweeping reforms to the military justice system, including placing sexual harassment and other offenses under the jurisdiction of the Special Trial Counsel and requiring independently-trained investigators outside the immediate chain of command to investigate claims of sexual harassment.
  • Helped pass a law to end forced arbitration for sexual assault and harassment.  The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act empowers survivors of sexual assault and harassment by giving them a choice to go to court instead of being forced into arbitration.
  • Increased resources for survivors of crime, including gender-based violence as part of the Amendments to the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), which expands the allocation of resources for the Crime Victims Fund. This has already resulted in an increase of hundreds of millions of dollars of non-taxpayer funding for essential and lifesaving services to crime victims around the country, including survivors of gender-based violence.

Ms. Rios will travel to Washington, DC on February 7 and join Senator Reed and other lawmakers and invited guests for the President’s State of the Union speech, which takes place in the U.S. House of Representatives chamber.  The speech is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. ET.