You can hear ACLU of MAINE Field Director Brianna Twofoot on Maine Public Radio, which covered Saturday's hearing. Equally importantly, you can hear from Maine residents who themselves experienced profiling. Eda Trejo is a mother and lives and works in Portland. She and her husband have been stopped multiple times. Rodents Biacho, who was an accountant in Sudan, shared his experience being stopped while walking home from work. We applaud those individuals who had the courage and made the time to share deeply personal, sometimes painful stories about being targeted because of their race.
We applaud members of law enforcement like Maine State Police Chief Colonel Patrick Fleming, also quoted in the MPBN story, who is working with the state Taskforce on Bias-Based Profiling to address the problem.
We applaud state and federal lawmakers who are working to address the problem. At Saturday's event, Senators Justin Alfond and Larry Bliss dropped by to listen to testimony from Mainers affected by profiling. The Maine attorney general's office was represented by Thom Harnett, assistant attorney general for civil rights education and enforcement. Portland city councilor Jill Duson attended the event as well as Erin McGuire from Congresswoman Chellie Pingree's office.
Clearly, from the stories shared on Saturday, racial profiling is happening in Maine. There is work to be done at the state and federal levels to end racial profiling. There's an amazing coalition doing much of that work. The event was co-sponsored by a distinguished and long list of groups: AFSC Maine Wabanaki Program, Centro Latino, Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, Maine Civil Liberties Union, Maine Community Foundation People of Color Fund, Maine Council of Churches, Maine Initiatives, Maine People’s Alliance, the NAACP, Rights Working Group, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Maine, the Tides Foundation, and Tengo Voz.