If Maine’s senior senator, Susan Collins, votes to confirm Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court justice, we fear the scales will be tipped in favor of the Trump administration’s unjust and inhumane immigration policies.
The Portland Board of Education voted 4-3 to endorse a resolution urging the City Council to schedule a referendum asking city residents to extend voting rights to non-citizens who are here legally, such as asylum seekers and refugees.
History reveals that who gets to vote and how much our votes matter have less to do with citizenship and more to do with who wields power and who is left disenfranchised. It’s a history of progress and the expansion of our body politic as we struggled with our collective conscience, and as our vision of what and who our representative democracy truly represents changed with the times.
“Who’s ready to resist? Who’s ready to take action?” asked Marpheen Chann, 27, the son of Cambodian refugees and a board member of the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center, speaking from a microphone at the top of the City Hall steps. “Who is ready to show solidarity with immigrant children, and step up for families?”
Class and identity politics are not mutually exclusive. We are at our best as a society when we appreciate the finer details, nuances, context and intersections of our increasingly diverse nation, while collectively realizing that our individual experiences have a common source in the human condition.
He believes that Portland is undergoing an identity crisis. He understands the instinct of many city officials to embrace most economic activity because there was a time in recent history when storefronts on Congress Street were empty and the Old Port was a place to be avoided. However, he said he’d like to see the city begin valuing itself as an asset.
“This is exactly what immigrants, minorities and nonprofits need,” said board member Marpheen Chann-Berry, who was born to a Cambodian refugee family and recently earned a degree from the University of Maine School of Law. “Your investment will have an impact, a lasting impact. To have immigrants be welcomed in an open space right in downtown Portland means a lot.”
General Assistance and other aid help keep those who need it from falling through the cracks of poverty, crime, drugs and prison. It keeps them hoping that, tomorrow, they will be better educated, have a better job and have a better life.
Marpheen Chann, a student at University of Maine School of Law, spoke to the crowd about his family’s experience escaping the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and settling in Maine.
Marpheen Chann-Berry, a student at the UMaine School of Law, said Cummings was a promising choice, given his background as a former state legislator and an official at the U.S. Department of Education.