[HCCN] "Walk for Peace and Walk for Justice, Lewiston Walk" re: Black Lives Matter poster on Friday, 12/12, 3 PM, Lewiston
rosc at psouth.net
Thu Dec 11 08:46:31 EST 2014
Please pass along to others in your group or area. For access to a
facebook posting, get into Facebook, then search for "Walk for Peace
and Walk for Justice, Lewiston Walk."
Walk is planned to begin at 3 PM on Friday, December 12 starting from
the B Street Community Center, corner of Bates and Birch Sts.,
Lewiston (57 Birch St.).
From David Smith in Belfast, who can help with carpooling for those
who want to participate in the walk: I will be going to this Walk on
Friday. I have room for two more people in my car. This event is
organized by students at the Lewiston High School who had a poster
(Black Lives Matter!) removed from a hallway in their school. Check it
out on Facebook if you like. I encourage people to attend. The Walk
starts at 3PM at the B-Street Community Health Center. David Smith,
(207) 525-7776 or rosc at psouth.net
Article below from Portland Press Herald:
Lewiston students try to raise their voices, but protest interrupted
A poster inscribed with #blacklivesmatter – echoing a national
movement to talk about race and justice – is ordered removed at
Lewiston High School.
By Edward D. Murphy Staff Writer
emurphy at pressherald.com | 207-791-6465
Senior Kalgaal Issa, junior Chandler Clothier, junior Iman Abdalla and
senior Muna Mohamed are among the Lewiston High School students who
were asked to take down a protest poster inside the school. Officials
at the school say the students didn’t follow Lewiston High’s
procedures that require all posters to be pre-approved. John Patriquin/
LEWISTON — A group of Lewiston High School students say school
officials infringed on their right to free speech by ordering them to
remove a poster they put up in school to protest grand jury decisions
in two states not to indict police officers who killed unarmed black
The students said they had initially considered joining a nationwide
protest during school last week by walking out of class. They had
alerted school officials about the walkout so the administration
wouldn’t be blindsided.
Senior Muna Mohamed and junior Chandler Clothier hold part of the
poster that a group of Lewiston High School students was asked to take
down. John Patriquin/Staff Photographer
One of the leaders of the effort, Muna Mohamed, who is also senior
class president and student representative to the Lewiston School
Committee, said she was told that if the students walked out, they
could face “unintended consequences,” including possible suspensions.
“We were told that other students might feel uncomfortable and it
could lead to other demonstrations,” Mohamed said. Instead, she said,
the students were encouraged to express their position in an
educational way, such as creating a poster.
But after the poster went up in school, with the hashtag
“#blacklivesmatter” on it, school officials told them to take it down.
“#blacklives matter” has been used by many on Twitter as part of the
nationwide conversation over racial justice and the incidents in
Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City, in which unarmed black men died
at the hands of police officers. Grand juries in both cases declined
to indict the officers, leading to protests – and in some cases,
violence – over racial profiling and violence by police.
Chandler Clothier, a junior who designed the poster, said she was told
Monday morning by Principal Linda MacKenzie to take the poster down.
She said MacKenzie objected to the #blacklivesmatter hashtag and told
her she would have to change it to “all lives matter” if she wanted
the poster to stay.
The students said the poster they created was intended to stimulate
discussion about race and justice.
“They keep saying they want students to raise their voices, but they
want to define the students’ voices, and I feel that’s unfair,”
In addition to the headline, Clothier’s poster included displays with
the last words of several black men killed by police, such as “I can’t
breathe,” the final words said by Eric Garner in New York. A medical
examiner ruled his death was caused by a chokehold used by a police
High school officials said the students didn’t follow procedures
requiring that posters be approved by school officials before they are
The students admit they didn’t submit their poster for approval, but
said that policy often isn’t followed.
However, in an email Tuesday, MacKenzie said she hadn’t seen the
poster, telling the Portland Press Herald that “we have not seen nor
approved any information and/or posters from students, due in part to
the snow day today (Tuesday).”
MacKenzie did not respond to follow-up emails seeking to clarify the
discrepancy between the students’ account and MacKenzie’s statement
Tuesday that she hadn’t seen the poster. MacKenzie also did not
respond to an emailed question asking if her objection was to the
“black lives matter” message.
Superintendent Bill Webster said that failing to get prior approval by
school officials is the issue, and that the matter was handled by
officials at the high school.
“This isn’t the first poster that’s come down because it was put up
before being vetted,” Webster said.
Students should be involved in national events, including the ongoing
debate over race and police actions, he said.
“These events are unfortunate, but they are also tremendous activities
for discussion and fostering student involvement in democracy,” he said.
Mohamed and her friends believe the poster could have sparked a
conversation about race that should take place at the school. One of
the other students involved with putting up the poster, senior Kalgaal
Issa, said the Ferguson and New York City deaths haven’t come up when
students discuss current events in class.
“There should be more awareness about it,” Issa said. “It’s like this
really didn’t happen. That’s unbelievable.”
Webster said the high school doesn’t have racial problems, and that
students of all backgrounds take part in school and after-school
activities. Lewiston has attracted thousands of Somali immigrants
fleeing strife in their homeland, which has boosted the presence of
racial minorities in the schools.
Linda Scott, a member of the School Committee, said she couldn’t
comment on the poster because she hadn’t heard about the matter until
Tuesday. However, she did say it’s not unusual for high school
students to protest and she generally doesn’t see anything wrong with
But another school board member, Jama Mohamed – no relation to Muna
Mohamed – said he draws the line at using school property for protests.
Raymond Clothier, Chandler Clothier’s father, said he supports his
daughter taking a stand and he backed the sentiment in her poster.
“I’m astounded that something as simple as ‘black lives matter’ is
causing all this,” he said.
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