STATEWIDE — The Greater Bangor Area Branch NAACP and the University of Maine Alumni Association held a special webinar.
In honor of Martin Luther King day, a panelist of University of Maine alumni, students and friends gathered virtually to discuss their experiences of being black in Maine
The topic of discussion sparked different meaningful perspectives from the panelists.
“In the state of Maine there has been several challenges with racial justice due to both the numbers of black and indigenous people of color and the semblance that racism and issues of racial justice don’t impact us,” said David Patrick, an official from Racial Equity & Justice.
Another panelist who grew up in Belfast said her some of her difficulties stemmed from being in an area where the average person she’d come across did not look like her.
“I always thought to myself, do I really belong here. Is this where I’m supposed to be. I think it’s hard waking up every day and going to school and not seeing anybody that looks like you. It’s something that I guess I buried for a while because I didn’t really know how to deal with it,” said Madison Hemingway, a student from UMaine
The panelists all referenced the different black lives matter rallies and protests across the state from the past year as signs that the black voices in Maine will be heard.
“The time for us of expending this type of emotional labor, without appropriate change from those who hear it and benefit from it is over,” said Tonya Bailey-Curry, a social worker at Bates College.
The full panel discussion is available to view on the University of Maine Alumni’s Youtube page.