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At MLK Day breakfast, a call for greater action in Maine

Dr. Judith Josiah-Martin speaks at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Celebration at the University of Maine on Monday.
Robbie Feinberg
/
Maine Public
Dr. Judith Josiah-Martin speaks at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Celebration at the University of Maine on Monday.

Mainers need to take more action, on an individual and collective scale, in order to fulfill the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That was the message of an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration organized by the Greater Bangor Area Branch NAACP on Monday.

The event's keynote speaker was Dr. Judith Josiah-Martin, a member of the University of Maine's school of social work.

Josiah-Martin says that injustice is still rampant throughout society in the form of gun violence, maternal mortality and mass incarceration. And she says that simply attending a breakfast wouldn't fix those problems.

"You came here today to check off, 'I did my civil rights thing for the year, check.' I'm calling you on that. That's tokenism. If you're going to make the legacy of Dr. King work, you've got to join something, you've got to say something and you've got to do something," she says.

Michael Alpert, president of the Great Bangor Area Chapter NAACP
Robbie Feinberg
/
Maine Public
Michael Alpert, president of the Great Bangor Area Chapter NAACP

Michael Alpert is the president of the Greater Bangor Area Branch NAACP, which held its annual breakfast celebrating the work of the slain civil rights leader at the University of Maine.

Alpert says locally, Mainers need to confront poverty and racial discrimination in the Bangor region. And on a national level, he says the country needs to confront and fight a growing white supremacy movement.

"We need, as a country, to defend ourselves, from fascism. From white supremacist thinking," he says.

The event at UMaine was the group's first breakfast in several years, as previous celebrations had been postponed due to weather and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other MLK Day events were also held in Lewiston, Kennebunk and Farmington.

Corrected: January 16, 2024 at 10:09 AM EST
An earlier version of this story contained a typographical error. The Greater Bangor Area Branch NAACP hosted the Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast, not the NCAAP.