Maine legislators will soon take up proposals to cut General Assistance for asylum seekers and other immigrants. For many immigrants who have come to Maine to find safety and escape persecution, General Assistance is the only lifeline they receive while they navigate a broken immigration system and wait for permission to work. Cutting General Assistance and other vital programs will force Maine families to go without food or shelter.
ENOUGH! Lies and scare tactics directed towards immigrants are the driving force behind policies that hurt everyone: families, women, workers, teachers, students, people with low incomes, and many others. Hundreds of Mainers will come together on Thursday, May 21st to stand against divisive policies and rhetoric that hurt our neighbors. Please stand with us!
Join with us to stop proposals that would leave Mainers without food and shelter.
5:30 PM: Meet to MARCH in Lincoln Park (Located at the corner of Pearl & Congress Streets)
6:00 PM: RALLY in Monument Square (Congress St. across from the Portland Public Library)
NOTE: If you are coming from Lewiston/Auburn, there will be two buses leaving from 110 Canal Street (http://bit.ly/1FczB6h). The buses will board at 3:30 pm in the parking lot behind United Somali Women of Maine (265 Lisbon St.). It’s the old Camden National bank parking lot on Canal Street between Chestnut and Pine Streets.
Share the event on Facebook at http://bit.ly/WeAreMERally.
Who should attend:
immigrants, workers, business owners, women, teachers, parents, students, people of faith… ALL OF US.
We believe in a Maine that works for everyone!
Sponsoring Organizations (in progress):
Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition Member Organizations: ACLU of Maine, African Immigrant Association, Angolan Community Association of Maine, Beth Ha’am Synagogue-Social Action Committee, Burundi Community Association of Maine, Catholic Charities Maine Refugee & Immigration Services, Centro Latino de Maine, Community Financial Literacy, Congolese Community of Maine, Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, Refugee and Human Rights Program, Dijibouti Community Service (Lewiston), First Parish Faith in Action Committee, Frannie Peabody Center, Hope Acts, Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, Light Mission Church, Mahoro Maine Association, Maine Access Immigrant Network, Maine Association for New Americans, Maine Council of Churches, Maine Equal Justice Partners, Maine People’s Alliance/Maine People’s Resource Center, Maine Women’s Lobby, Mano en Mano / Hand in Hand, NAACP, New Mainers Resource Center, New Mainers Tenants’ Association, Portland Diocese, RCAM (Rwandese Community Association of Maine), Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Somali Bantu Youth Association of Maine, Southern Maine Workers Center, Welcoming Immigrants Network; Living with Peace; Maine Voices; Portland Racial Justice Congress; Preble Street; United Somali Women of Maine
Right now our Director of Public Policy is at a public hearing in the Judiciary Committee to testify in opposition to two bills that would restrict access to abortion care in our state: LD 83 & LD 1312.
Yesterday we testified against multiple bills that would make it harder for Maine families living in poverty to get the aid they need to meet their basic needs. And we testified in support of a bill that would build a bridge to opportunity for thousands of families trying to get back on their feet.
Tomorrow we’ll testify in support of a bill that would help make sure victims of sexual assault, stalking, and domestic violence don’t have to also worry about losing their housing because of the actions of their abuser.
Every day we are speaking to policy-makers, the media, and Mainers across our state to make a better future for women and girls. But we can’t do it alone.
That’s why we launched the Right Now campaign to raise $20,000 before the legislature adjourns this summer. Thanks to our generous supporters, we’re almost half-way to our goal. Can you help us get even closer today? You can make your Right Now gift online at bit.ly/mwlRightNow or call us at 207-622-0851 x2.
Want to know when to take action on the issues that matter to you? Be sure you get our action alerts & e-news right in your inbox by subscribing at www.mainewomen.org, and follow us on Facebook & Twitter, too.
Thank you for your support,
Eliza, Danna, Kathy, & Molly
Eliza Townsend, Executive Director of the Maine Women’s Lobby, issued the following statement in response to the Portland Finance Committee’s decision to weaken the mayor’s proposal to raise the city’s minimum wage:
We are extremely disappointed in the lack of leadership shown tonight by the members of the Portland Finance Committee who voted to amend and weaken the mayor’s proposed minimum wage increase. We are, however, grateful for the support expressed by Councilor Jon Hinck for the mayor’s proposal, which would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 in January 2016 and index the minimum wage to inflation after 2017. The mayor’s proposal should have been voted affirmatively out of committee and sent to the full council months ago. The amendments that weakened the proposal and passed the committee would seriously impact the economic security of working families.
The Finance Committee has failed the working people of Portland. We will continue to shine a spotlight on the need for a higher minimum wage and hope that the full council shows stronger leadership. The rest of the council still has a chance to ensure that Portland’s workers get the raise they so desperately need and deserve.
For our communities and economy to prosper, all jobs need to pay at least enough to meet working families’ basic needs. When our neighbors can’t afford to buy food, pay for a place to live, or cover basic medical care, it hurts our whole city. When we raise the basic wage that workers can make, we boost our economy by saving on public assistance costs and making sure all workers have money to spend locally—this strengthens the economy for us all.
Over and over again, the committee heard from workers who are struggling to meet their basic needs as the costs for food, heat, and housing continue to grow. Portland is the economic engine of our state. Adopting the mayor’s proposal to raise the minimum wage from $7.50 to $9.50 in 2015, to $10.10 in 2016, and to $10.68 in 2017, then indexing the minimum wage to inflation going forward from 2017, and including a raise for tipped workers would not hurt the city. Instead it would help stimulate the local economy while also showing Portland’s low-wage workers that they are valued members of our community.
The weakening of the proposal is particularly troubling to those of us who are concerned with the economic security of Maine women. More than six in ten minimum wage workers in our state are women and more than 70% of tipped workers are women. We know that when women thrive, our communities thrive. A meaningful increase in the minimum wage for all workers is an important part of building pathways to prosperity for Portland’s families.
The Maine Women’s Lobby advocates on behalf of Maine’s 678,000 women and girls, focusing on freedom from violence, freedom from discrimination, access to health care, and economic security.