I’ve been thinking about what’s happening in Kennebunk recently.

Having lived here for 45 years, I’ve noticed that there’s a myth that many of us have embraced: Kennebunk is special. We have the best schools, the best people, the best way of life and very few problems. And we want to keep it that way. In order to maintain the status quo, we tell ourselves that we welcome outsiders, we are not racist, we are not homophobic and we don’t have a drug or bullying problem.

Consequently, if someone points out blemishes or problems, we deny them or downplay them, and we often attack those who want to address those problems. But a town does not thrive if it does not change and progress.

We in Regional School Unit 21 currently have the first female Black school superintendent in Maine. We have a member of the school board who is openly gay, and our first Black school board member.

Some have said that these people are unfit and don’t “fit in”; I say, they’ll fit in fine if we welcome them and are willing to face down our fear of change.

If we really want to be that ideal town, we must acknowledge and address our deficits, and open our hearts to change. I think we can do it.

Miriam Whitehouse

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