Join Ann to counter harassment in C&NY Maine

I created this campaign in response to the abuse and harassment myself and others have experienced as a result of our commitment to anti-racism and social justice. 

This all began in June of last year, after MSAD#51’s Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee issued a statement in response to the killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. MSAD#51 serves the predominantly white towns of Cumberland and North Yarmouth, Maine.

Naturally we had some strong reactions to our statement given the fact that as a community we haven’t been participating in large discussions focused on racism, structural oppression, and white supremacy. Sadly some detractors felt personally attacked by our statement and as a result started lashing out personally in return. Our Board of Directors, Superintendent, and staff have been targeted in various ways, including: texts, phone calls, emails, social media posts, a local “news” blog, signs, and disparaging comments provided during public comment at both Town Council and Board of Directors meetings. 

When this began our police department did not issue Cease of Harassment Notices, as directed by state statute, needed to apply for a Protection for Harassment from the Cumberland County Court. Two of us received letters from the department stating they didn’t issue them as a matter of practice. I personally initiated the court procedure but ended up dismissing my case at the time. Sadly as an elected official the bar for what constitutes harassment is much higher, after consulting with a lawyer I realized my chances of being successful were quite low. 

Around this same time an out of state individual began attending our Board of Director meetings, he also operates the “news” blog. One meeting he led everyone in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance for his public comment. I remained seated. I do not participate in the Pledge of Allegiance since not everyone in our country has equal rights and protections.

A photo was taken of me seated between two of my colleagues standing, this was turned into a small sign and installed at a residents house across the street from the entrance to our elementary school and middle school. Being a responsible adult I left a note asking for the sign to be taken down and informing them that it was harassing to me. I returned the following day and spoke with the wife of the signs owner. By that afternoon CPD had served me with a Criminal Trespass Warning. 

Following that incident I called a meeting with our Town Manager, Chief of Police, two Town Councilors, my Board of Directors Chair and co-chair of the Equity Committee, and a parent representative who is the other co-chair. At that meeting it was clear that as a community we are lacking ways to address harassment and conflict that does not violate criminal statute. It was determined that CPD needed to update their harassment policy practices, now Cease of Harassment Notices are issued. (I am waiting to hear back from the ADA as to whether these new signs and emails I’ve received do violate statute.)

After I received the Criminal Trespass Warning the resident turned the image into a giant, billboard sized sign. He illuminated it at all hours of the day and claimed it was booby trapped with rat traps and electric wiring. A game camera was mounted in the tree above it. The sign stayed up through the winter and was even decorated for the Christmas holiday. 

The community breathed a collective sigh of relief when the sign came down. 

That was not the end of things. As March approached this resident started calling for residents to withhold property taxes, recall the Board of Directors representing Cumberland, and fire our Superintendent since we were operating on a hybrid learning model to force us to return five days per week. 

My term is expiring and I have submitted paperwork to run for a second term. This has spurred the newest signs, which are shown here. 

When I learned that these disparaging signs were going to be installed around our community of Cumberland and North Yarmouth I wanted to find a way to create some good out of this situation. 

Money raised will be divided between: Prince Memorial Library, the Community Food Pantry, Maine Boys to Men, and MSAD #51.  The money raised for Prince Memorial Library and MSAD #51 will be used to add more diverse materials to their collections and classrooms, and to continue providing anti-racism and social justice learning opportunities to our community. 

If you wish to earmark your donation donation for one, or more, of the recipients please add a comment to that effect. The remaining amount raised from this action will be divided equally amongst the four recipients. 

Please share this campaign and join me to promote community, care, and personal growth. 

Thank You!


Donations (192)

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  • Elizabeth Woodcock
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Ann Maksymowicz
Cumberland Center, ME

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