Becoming

At the Maine State House and Beyond

Long-time Bangor Civil Rights leader James Varner, 86, delivers an emotional message to an anti-racism protest in Augusta on Sunday. Varner attended the famous 1963 March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. Varner also attended King’s funeral in 1968 after he was gunned down in Memphis. James Varner —
At the Maine State House, protesters demand equality and end to police violence

By Lauren Abbate, BDN Staff • June 7, 2020

… Augusta Mayor Dave Rollins was unable to finish reading a proclamation passed by the city council, outlining the city’s efforts to bolster equality. After several people in the crowd yelled “hand off the mic” a chant of “Black Lives Matter” ultimately caused Rollins to step back from the crowd and hand off the microphone to the Rev. James Varner, 86, a longtime civil rights activist from Bangor.

Varner, who co-founded the Bangor chapter of the NAACP and later was president of the Maine Human Rights Coalition, emotionally recounted the last moments of Floyd’s life as he called out for his mother while telling the police officer kneeling on his neck that he couldn’t breathe.

“I want you to think about Dr. Martin Luther King,” Varner told the crowd. “I want you to think about his dream that he had for this country, where little white boys and black boys, and people of all races could sit down at the table of justice.”

Bangor civil rights mainstay: MLK is ‘rolling over in his grave’ after Capitol riot

David Marino Jr. |January 18, 2021

Read the full article here


Excerpt from the article…


Varner — president of the Maine Human Rights Coalition and a cofounder of the Greater Bangor Branch of the NAACP, — spoke from Chamberlain Freedom Park in Brewer next to a monument dedicated to the then-town’s purported role as a stop on the Underground Railroad.

He called for Mainers to spread King’s message by treating each other with respect regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or creed, and participating in community activism to fight inequality.

Local civil rights activist shares message on MLK Day

Morgan Sturdivant | Jan. 18, 2021

See Varner speak here


Excerpt from newcast…


Maine Human Rights Coalition President, James Varner, says despite social restrictions, the message is still so important, especially during these troubling times in our country.

”Let’s turn this around. Let’s be a part of Dr. King’s country where we will love one another and treat one another the way we want to be treated,” says Varner.

…Varner says he hopes others would get involved with the coalition and that everyone would pledge to help undo racism and discrimination in America.

He’s been involved with civil rights for 50 years.

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