“Through learning to care for other human beings, they’ve found their own humanity.” Those were the words of Kandyce Powell, executive director of the Maine Hospice Council, at the opening of a two-day conference at Maine State Prison this week. She was speaking about the twelve inmates who she has helped become the prison’s first volunteer hospice team.
This weekend the ACLU of Maine marched in the Southern Maine Pride Parade, and we couldn't have had a better time. The weather was gorgeous, the crowd was passionate, and our contingent of marchers had a great time showing their pride and waving at the many well-wishers that lined the streets of downtown Portland.
Another school year is in the books, and for the ACLU of Maine it was our busiest ever. Our education program reached 41 different schools this year – representing all 16 counties – and we taught more than 1,650 students about the importance and relevance of the Bill of Rights.
This weekend I spoke at a rally in Portland sponsored by CODEPINK to bring awareness to the case of Bradley Manning, the young American soldier who is accused of leaking government documents to WikiLeaks. The rally was set to coincide with Manning’s court-martial, which begins today, more than three years after he was arrested and charged with “aiding the enemy” for allegedly releasing large amounts of classified data to WikiLeaks.
“We belong together, with the rainbows and the butterflies.”
Last year, an inmate at Maine State Prison sang those sweet words as part of the closing ceremonies of the Maine Hospice Council’s conference on aging prisoners. It was a moving song, and before playing it in front of the large audience he explained that he had written it behind bars for his young daughter. With several years left on his sentence, he was destined to miss her childhood.
It took awhile, but a Gay-Straight Alliance is coming to Carver Middle School.
Bayli Silberstein has been working to establish a GSA at her school in Florida since 2011. She wants to start the club to combat bullying at her school, but administrators have put up unnecessary (and unconstitutional) roadblocks at every corner. The school board even went so far as to propose a ban on all non-academic clubs for all middle schools in the county, just to stop Bayli from starting hers.
It was a glorious Wednesday to be in Portland, and not just because of the sunny skies. With hundreds of Mainers taking to the streets to march in support of comprehensive immigration reform, this year’s March and Rally for Immigration Reform couldn’t have gone any better.
Back in November, I wrote about the ACLU of Maine’s education program and our standing offer to visit any school to present on the Bill of Rights. “No matter where your school is in the state of Maine we’ll come and teach there,” I said.