Governor Janet Mills announced today she will dedicate $50,000 in funding from the Governor’s Contingent Account to support the work of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal populations. The Governor has said that she hopes the Commission will help us more fully understand racial disparities in Maine and how we might begin to address them.
“Maine – despite our history of sending more troops than any other state and losing more lives in the fight to end slavery during the Civil War – still has our own painful history of racism dating back generations and our state is not immune to discrimination, injustice or inequality,,” said Governor Mills. “We must acknowledge our past and take steps to understand both the inequities that exist in Maine today and how we might begin to remedy them in the future, I do not have all the answers to what is a longstanding systemic problem, but I am committed to learning and to improving our state in the months and years to come so that it can be a place of equal opportunity for all, including those of color and it is my hope that this funding can support the Commission as it begins its work and I urge the Legislature to provide a long-term source of funding,” said the Governor.
The Commission seeks to promote, implement and coordinate programs that create and improve opportunities and incorporate the goal of eliminating disparities for historically disadvantaged racial, indigenous and tribal populations in Maine. However, the Commission was only appropriated $500. to support its work and requested additional funding from the Governor in a June 18 letter. In providing the $50,000. in one-time funding to help jumpstart the Commission, the Governor also called on the Legislature to provide a sustained annual source of funding for the Commission to be able to continue its work. The Contingent account is comprised of $300,000. in funding that is replenished annually and authorized by the Governor at her discretion in line with statutory requirements. .
The number of members of the black community has been disproportinately affected by the COVID-19 has been recorded in the COVID Tracking Project which is on-line.