Hundreds attend NAACP march and rally in Portland | News

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Hundreds attend NAACP march and rally in Portland
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Hundreds of people participated in the NAACP's Martin Luther King Day march on Monday, many saying they participated to show Governor Paul LePage that his comments about the NAACP Friday were inappropriate.

On Friday, LePage told a reporter asking him to respond to the NAACP's concerns that he had turned down multiple invitations, including those to its Martin Luther King day breakfast and dinner, "Tell them to kiss my butt."

The NAACP's Portland chapter typically holds a march on Martin Luther King Day, and this year, organizers were planning to use it to show their displeasure with the governor's move to rescind Governor Baldacci's executive order barring state and local officials from asking about the immigration status of those applying for welfare benefits.

Many people who attended, though, came as a show of support to the NAACP. Deirdre McClure said, "I take personally the comments of the governor and am embarrassed by it. And I went to send some signal that it's not OK."

Rachel Talbot Ross, the president of Portland's NAACP chapter, said the turnout gave her a very positive feeling. She said, "It's absolutely wonderful. It's larger than what we had expected, but it does show that the community does want to come together and work on behalf of all Mainers."

People attending the rally were asked to write their comments for the governor on orange flyers that said "Governor LePage: We welcome you as our governor. Please show us the same respect!" Those flyers will be delivered to the governor in a picnic basket, along with some books on Maine's civil rights history. Talbot Ross held one book up to the crowd that was about great speeches and said, "We think that the governor might benefit from reading how language affects people."

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