Report highlights immediate action state can take to address racial disparities in Maine

A new permanent commission to examine racial disparities in the state is calling on Maine lawmakers to use a lens of racial equity on all future bills.“Maine is not immune to structural racism, nor is it new,” Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross said.The Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations released a report on Monday that said 26 bills that deserve immediate attention can address gaps in wages, health and incarceration rates, among other things.“Black Mainers are 20 times more likely to experience COVID-19 than white Mainers,” Ross said.The commission analyzed 454 bills left in limbo when the legislature adjourned early in March due to the coronavirus pandemic to identify the 26 bills.“I hope the report is well received and everybody really gives it the property attention and significance that it deserves,” Penobscot Tribal Ambassador Maulian Dana said.Dana said one bill would overhaul the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act.“We are talking tribal sovereignty and having jurisdiction and control over our lands and waters so we can keep being stewards in a good and healthy way,” Dana said.The report also encourages lawmakers to hear from communities impacted by racial disparities in the state and bring justice to a system that has been out of balance. “The most informed voice is that of those who are impacted the most, and we must find a way to include those voices in our lawmaking,” Ross said.

A new permanent commission to examine racial disparities in the state is calling on Maine lawmakers to use a lens of racial equity on all future bills.

“Maine is not immune to structural racism, nor is it new,” Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross said.

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The Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations released a report on Monday that said 26 bills that deserve immediate attention can address gaps in wages, health and incarceration rates, among other things.

“Black Mainers are 20 times more likely to experience COVID-19 than white Mainers,” Ross said.

The commission analyzed 454 bills left in limbo when the legislature adjourned early in March due to the coronavirus pandemic to identify the 26 bills.

“I hope the report is well received and everybody really gives it the property attention and significance that it deserves,” Penobscot Tribal Ambassador Maulian Dana said.

Dana said one bill would overhaul the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act.

“We are talking tribal sovereignty and having jurisdiction and control over our lands and waters so we can keep being stewards in a good and healthy way,” Dana said.

The report also encourages lawmakers to hear from communities impacted by racial disparities in the state and bring justice to a system that has been out of balance.

“The most informed voice is that of those who are impacted the most, and we must find a way to include those voices in our lawmaking,” Ross said.