An agreement between the NAACP and its two Maine chapters will allow the local groups to move forward Monday with their traditional Martin Luther King Jr. holiday events while they work to re-establish their active status within the national organization.
The branches have been operating for more than two years without the approval of the national organization and should have stopped all activity in late 2013, according to the NAACP regional president. The chapters were placed on “inactive” status because they have not been following NAACP bylaws.
The NAACP New England Association Conference last month reached a written agreement with the Maine chapters that allows them to hold their holiday events, said Juan Cofield, NAACP regional president.
“The groups are working toward full reinstatement,” he said. “The agreement allows them to go forward.”
The annual Martin Luther King Jr. events are critical to the group’s fundraising efforts.
Michael Alpert, president of the Greater Bangor Area NAACP, said he expects the two chapters will return to active status this year.
“We needed to devise a plan to more forward, and we did,” he said. “We are all committed to social justice. There is really no conflict.”
He described the disagreement as a “matter of communication between the regional office and the branches.” He declined to be more specific.
The Greater Bangor NAACP and the University of Maine on Monday will sponsor a breakfast at the Wells Conference Center on the Orono campus.
The 8:30 a.m. breakfast will feature music and a keynote address by Alison Beyea, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine. Tickets are $25. Registration information can be found at the University of Maine Office of Multicultural Student Life.
The Portland chapter will hold a dinner event Monday rather than its traditional breakfast. The 5 p.m. dinner, at the Holiday Inn by the Bay, will feature music and speeches by Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine. Tickets are $60 for adults and are available for purchase at eventbrite.com. There will be also a concurrent children’s program. While children’s tickets are free, a reservation is required.
Rachel Talbot Ross, president of the Portland chapter, said the group moved the event from breakfast to dinner for scheduling reasons. The group will be holding an event during the day at Bates College in Lewiston, she said.