I am a nurse who has the privilege of occasionally working in a rural school with a total population of fewer than 100 students. While leaving there one day, I realized that even if every one of the vibrant children I’d worked with were to be violently removed from existence, that level of atrocity would be a mere drop in the bucket compared to what Israel has “achieved” in its genocide of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The scale of the destruction of human life in Gaza is difficult to conceptualize. The number of Palestinian children killed since October is at least 13,800, per Save the Children. For context, that number nearly reaches the combined total enrollment of public school students in Portland (6,500), South Portland (3,000), Brunswick (2,400) and Falmouth (2,000). Thousands more are estimated to remain trapped under the rubble of destroyed homes, schools, hospitals, mosques and other buildings – entire universes snuffed out who will never even be a tally mark on the list of martyrs.

Mainers are paying for these deaths with our federal tax dollars. We are all responsible for it. Refusing to take the issue up at municipal levels perpetuates it.

I urge Maine’s local leaders to follow the examples of the Portland, Lewiston, Belfast, and other town and city councilors across our state and nation who have refused to look away and chosen instead to raise their collective voices against genocide by passing cease-fire resolutions.

Ashley Schumacher

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