Peaceful protest held in the Shiretown

Alexander MacDougall and Joseph Cyr, Houlton Pioneer Times , Special to The County
3 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — A group of about 60 residents gathered in Monument Park Sunday afternoon in a silent vigil to protest police brutality and racism.

Dale, left, and Jim Holden of Houlton hold up a “Black Lives Matter” sign at Sunday’s peaceful protest in Monument Park. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

The event, similar to others that have taken place throughout Aroostook County in recent days, was held to raise awareness for racial equality in the wake of George Floyd’s death by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin on May 25.

“We had representatives of at least six diverse Christian denominations for one great purpose — stopping racism,” said Victor Han, a pastor at the United Methodist Church of Houlton and Hodgdon, who attended the rally. 

In a letter sent to the Houlton Pioneer Times, Han wrote that as a Christian, he could not stand by and do nothing while people of color continue to be affected by “oppressive systems”.

“I hear the voices of concern saying, ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of protest, I can’t agree with the stance of Black Lives Matter, etc.’ This is certainly a legitimate concern,” he wrote. “Concerning racial injustice; however, silence is indeed violence.”

Residents hold up signs Sunday afternoon during a peaceful demonstration in Houlton. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

Protests regarding Floyd’s killing have sprung up across the country, with hundreds of thousands turning out in cities and towns in all 50 states. Though some of the initial protests saw many instances of looting and police violence, major protests in more recent days have been noted to have been much more peaceful in nature.

Similar events have been held in Presque Isle, Caribou and Fort Kent in recent days. 

Houlton’s event was peaceful and no police presence was noted.