Public incidents of hatred and racism are rising in Maine and across New England. That chilling fact comes from data from the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, organizations that track the activity of white supremacist and extremist groups. The Portland Press Herald recently publicized the statistics in an investigative journalism piece titled “Hate groups are on the march in Maine.” Many of these incidents were also covered by local media when they occurred, and some Mainers will have witnessed these groups working to disrupt their communities. Maine Democratic Party Chair Bev Uhlenhake and Vice Chair Julian Rogers issued the following joint statement:
“We must recognize these groups for the sources of hatred and violence they are, confront the dangers they present to our communities and way of life, and push back against their presence here in Maine. Hard. We are calling on our elected and civic leaders, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, and on all Mainers, in every community across the state, to stand together and speak out with one voice in support of Maine’s marginalized communities, and against hatred and bigotry. We must continue to make it clear that while all people, regardless of their race, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity are welcome to come and make their home in this beautiful state; hate will never have a home here.
"Anonymous acts such as the white supremacist mailings sent to Democratic legislators and county committees, and now to local school board members show that these are the desperate attempts of a fringe movement trying to gain political legitimacy. Republican politicians and conservative media pundits have aided them by embracing the language used by conspiracy theorists and right-wing extremists to stoke fear and sow division for their own personal electoral and financial gain. They have done so with no regard for the consequences of normalizing and emboldening extremist ideologies, but now we are seeing those consequences here in Maine. We are calling on the Maine GOP and Republican elected officials to condemn the intimidation and threats of violence taking place in Maine and to stop platforming extremists and their views.
"As our state and country have worked to ensure greater equality for all, and as acceptance of our differences has become mainstream, those who seek to alienate and divide us from one another have become a vocal minority. To bolster their weak ideas, they are now actively working to recruit people to their cause. To sit back and do nothing would allow these hateful and anti-democratic views to spread. That is why we must speak out, and keep speaking out. It is our hope that each and every Mainer will join us to send a clear message that there is no place in Maine – not in our cities and towns, nor in the woods or mountains of this great State – that we will ever allow hate to have a home here."