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MMCC Statement on Racism in Bangor Schools

We were saddened, but not surprised, to read the Bangor Daily News article about students’ experience of racism at Bangor High School.  Our immigrant friends tell us of many such incidents, not only at school, but throughout the community.  What happens in schools is a reflection of what happens in our homes, our businesses, our municipal agencies, our houses of worship and many other places in our community.  These incidents occur because of the systemic racism which is deeply entrenched in our communities.  We are heartened to learn that the School Committee and the School Department are taking steps to examine the situation and develop solutions, but we urge the entire Greater Bangor community to take this opportunity to closely examine the ways in which systemic racism expresses itself in all our institutions, and to work to root it out.

We are most saddened by the fact that Ijeoma Obi and Amara Ifeji believe they must leave Maine in order for their lives to improve.  This is a tragic loss for our community, both in terms of the lost workers and talent that our economy so desperately needs in order to thrive, as well as the loss of cultural diversity which enriches our lives and makes our community a desirable place in which to live.  Ijeoma  Obi and Amara Ifeji are not the first to come to this conclusion, and unless we commit to systematically examining and dismantling racism in our community,  Maine’s worker/talent pipeline will continue to flow out of state.

The Maine Multicultural Center is a network of educational, business, and cultural stakeholders designed to promote community enrichment and economic growth by attracting, retaining, supporting, and integrating people of diverse cultures and backgrounds to the greater Bangor community.   We welcome and champion diversity as essential to the social and economic vitality of Maine.

Very truly yours,
Maine MultiCultural Center Board of Directors
Pamela M. Proulx-Curry
Vicki Rusbult
Radhakrishna Jamadagni
Christopher Linder
Marwa Elkelani
Paul Howe
Mary Phillips
William Phillips
Bernard Richardson