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Williams said Portuguese people identify themselves as “white” and “European,” and therefore are not a minority racial group.

She maintains the participation of Portuguese-owned firms has skewed the percentages of minority participation on state and local government-funded projects.

“Portuguese Rhode Islanders, particularly those in East Providence, share a rich and deep history with Rhode Island.

The organization will also be reaching out to all Portuguese clubs and organizations in Rhode Island to make sure they are aware of the issue.

“In our view, this is a blatantly discriminatory action against the Portuguese people of Rhode Island,” reads a statement issued by PALCUS.

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