[HCCN] "Walk for Peace and Walk for Justice, Lewiston Walk" re: Black Lives Matter poster on Friday, 12/12, 3 PM, Lewiston

Larry Dansinger 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,  
322-3054.

Larry Dansinger
(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/ 
Staff Photographer
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  
men.

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.

Additional Images


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,”  
Clothier said.

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  
officer.

High school officials said the students didn’t follow procedures  
requiring that posters be approved by school officials before they are  
put up.

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  
that.

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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