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Welcome and champion diversity
We and the other board members of the Maine Multicultural Center 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.
Pamela M. Proulx-Curry
Maine MultiCultural Center
Yes on 2
A yes vote on Question 2 on July 14 will mean that some very critical — and long overdue — projects all over Maine can become a reality. During uncertain times, we need to rally together and support issues that impact every single person in Maine. Transportation is one of those issues, and voting for the $105 million bond will help.
The transportation bond will fund projects all over the state, and generates another $275 million in federal and private matching funds. We need to fix our roads, not just for the safety of the traveling public, but also for our economy. If this bond issue doesn’t pass, construction jobs will be lost, and construction has already suffered a hit lately.
This state has a great need for improved transportation infrastructure to attract new business here. Anyone who drives on our roads, whether municipal or state roads, knows we spend too much time dodging potholes and avoiding ruts. This great state is already handicapped by the fact that we are at the “end of the road” in the northeast part of this county. We need to do much more, but voting for the transportation bond will be a small step in the right direction.
Support communications center upgrades
At the Penobscot County Commissioners meeting of May 12, commissioners unanimously approved seeking support from the voters of Penobscot County to replace the radio infrastructure for your Regional Communications Center.
The bond request is for $6 million to be paid back over a 10-year period. The annual cost to a taxpayer will be $3.50 per $100,000 of home valuation.
The public safety radio system is the core of a strong, unified public safety response system for the 65 Police, Fire and Ambulance agencies that rely on the Regional Communications Center for dispatch.
The existing public safety radio system is nearly 25 years old and very outdated. Replacement parts are difficult to find. We often rely on eBay because vendors do not have parts for the outdated equipment.
Please speak to any member of your local police, fire or emergency medical community and ask questions. They will each vouch for the need to replace and improve the communications equipment for the public safety needs of our local citizens.
When you dial 911 seeking response for a personal emergency, you do not need or want a delay, when you require immediate attention to your situation. The current system is outdated and without these needed replacements could fail when you need it most.
Please vote yes on bond question 3 in Penobscot County.
Peter K. Baldacci
Penobscot County Commissioners
Gideon for Senate
I am writing in support of Sara Gideon’s campaign for the seat of U.S. senator from Maine, currently held by Sen. Susan Collins. Gideon has shown excellent leadership during her two terms as Speaker of the House in the Maine Legislature. She has worked successfully in a bipartisan spirit.
Susan Collins, on the other hand, has grown more partisan in her support of the Trump Republican agenda that I believe is tearing apart the country. This agenda is destroying the government institutions of health, environmental protection, education, justice, even the military, and is severely degrading the civil political discourse. It is easy to tear down and destroy government and to divide a people. Once done it is difficult to rebuild it anew.
When Collins first ran for office, heeding the calls in Maine for term limits, she promised to serve only two terms. She is now running for her fifth term and has shown her political stance. With promises broken, political allegiances seeming to take precedence over the principles and values important to the people of Maine, and with her support for Trump appointees of dubious character and motives, it is time to say, “Bye-bye, Susan.”
The strongest and most trustworthy candidate in the Democratic Primary for that Senate seat is Sara Gideon.
The BDN will stop accepting letters and OpEds related to the July 14 election on July 7. Not all submissions can be published.