ORONO – The University of Maine held its annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast celebration.
A choir’s vocals filled a room at the Wells Conference Center on campus. More than 300 people came out to honor and remember the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a leader in the nation’s civil rights movement.
“Dr. King was everybody’s hero, not just ours. You know, he was an advocate of equality and human rights for people all over the world,” said Joyce T. Gibson, associate professor of Leadership Studies at the University of Southern Maine.
That message rang true for many who spoke Monday morning.
“We need to be more accepting of other people who don’t look like us, who don’t come from the same city, town, state or country,” said Gov. Janet Mills.
Even years after the civil rights movement, some said these injustices still exist today.
“We need to overcome racism. To take real action to do that. To have laws and to have habits that constitute a change of culture,” said Michael Alpert, president of the Greater Bangor branch of NAACP.
“It happens all over. In the grocery store. All kinds of things happen to people that are unfair,” Gibson said.
Gibson said it is not just race. There’s an inequality of gender pay, sexual indifference, poverty and some even experience unfairness being immigrant. She said people can come together to make a change.
“Every day we can do something. Whether it’s addressing a denigrating comment. Whether it’s helping someone in a situation that’s not fair,” said Professor Gibson.
She said people need to keep fighting and make their voices heard.