unifymaine Coalition Forms To Oppose Bias and Hate Crimes

Jun 7, 2018

A coalition of Maine organizations has come together to form 'unifymaine.'

Founding member Amy Sneirson of the Maine Human Rights Commission says that the purpose of unifymaine is to spread awareness and speak out against bias-related incidents and hate crimes.

“The hope is to decrease the walls that separate us,” says Sneirson. “Decrease what seems to be hate or violence that's based on fear, rather than knowledge.”

Snierson says the need to draw attention to these incidents is greater than ever, and that she and other organizations saw a need for a stronger statewide voice.

“A lot of us were feeling the same frustration, is that we might hear about incidents in our communities, and our community might speak out, but a response is so much stronger when communities come together,” she says.

Human rights educator and trainer Steve Wessler says organizations like the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine, EqualityMaine and the Maine Women's Lobby saw a need to create a single, strong voice.

"For a lot of us, we are seeing that this is a time when there's significant bias in the country, and this is a time for us to speak up," Wessler says.

Wessler says unifymaine seeks not only to spread awareness, but to assist those who are targets of bias and hate crimes in finding the resources they need for help.

Other Members of the coalition include Equality Maine, Disability Rights Maine, the Greater Bangor Area Branch of the NAACP and others.

This story was originally published June 6, 2018 at 4:10 p.m. ET.