LePage celebrates legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., dances at Waterville breakfast

Gov. Paul LePage dances with the Colby African Drumming Ensemble during the 26th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Breakfast at the Muskie Community Center in Waterville on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012.
Gov. Paul LePage dances with the Colby African Drumming Ensemble during the 26th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Breakfast at the Muskie Community Center in Waterville on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012. Buy Photo
Posted Jan. 16, 2012, at 11:06 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 27, 2012, at 1:57 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage speaks to a crowd at the 26th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Breakfast at the Muskie Community Center in Waterville on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012.
Gov. Paul LePage speaks to a crowd at the 26th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Breakfast at the Muskie Community Center in Waterville on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012. Buy Photo

A poem

ORONO, Maine — Luke Patmon, a 15-year-old student in a Boston high school, read this poem during the 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast at the University of Maine on Monday.

Patmon is the son of Denise Patmon, who was the keynote speaker at the event. Luke Patmon, an African-American, wrote the poem during a summer writing seminar in Boston.

“My Dream”
By Luke Patmon

This is my life
It’s in:

My genes

My culture

My blood

I am tired of being told,
How I should:

Eat fried chicken from KFC,

Look gangster with my pants low,

Act with an overpowering ignorance.

Those are the stereotypes I am NOT.
But these are:

I’m tired

Tired, I say.

I want to break free of those restrictions
I want to unleash, My inner soul.
And now the time has come
To challenge:

These ideas

This social injustice

This assaulting music that disrespects women.

I want to be ME,
Luke Patmon.
Yes.
YES.
I’m that African-American kid who actually knows his heritage,
Listens to jazz and rap,
Doesn’t only score baskets but also scores takedowns.
This is what makes ME,
Proud of my:

History

Heritage

Personality

Now it is my time to shine,
Control is now in my hands.
So that I can express:

My personal voice

My political views

My unique feelings.

This is the power

Let go,

Unleashed.
I am going to change the misjudgment
I see in others and myself.
Because I have seen a place to the North,
Where Judgment does not mock you,
Or take,

Control,

Control,

Control.

And I want to see this in America.
So we can be proud of who we are.
Not directed by the past,
But instead to the future we look.
Changing
Breaking
Redefining.
The laws set before us.
I’m done. I’m done.
Can’t you see
All I want is:

Spare change

And some variety?

But then again it might just be me, Maybe y’all can’t see
Because right now,
It’s just,

A DREAM.

WATERVILLE, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage gave a short speech and helped remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message during a community breakfast at the Muskie Community Center on Monday morning.

The annual breakfast, sponsored by Spectrum Generations and the Waterville Rotary Club, has been attended over the years by LePage, the former mayor of Waterville.

“It’s home,” LePage said after the ceremony, where he danced with the Colby College African Drumming Ensemble along with Waterville Mayor Karen Heck.

“We’ve all come together today to honor the [memory] of a great man, someone who ultimately sacrificed his life for the cause of social justice,” said Rabbi Rachel Isaacs of Beth Israel Congregation.

Today “reminds us that it’s a day on, not a day off,” said Debra Silva, vice president of center operations of Spectrum Generations, a social services agency for adults. “It reminds us to remember Dr. King.”

“It’s all about remembering your roots and always going back home,” said LePage, who added that he has attended the event many times. “You can be governor, you can be president, you can be a senator, you can be a wealthy businessman, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve in life. It’s all about ‘don’t forget your roots.’ This day is particular, a day that I don’t want to forget where I came from. That’s why I come home.”

Silva said she enjoys having LePage at the annual breakfast.

“It’s great to have him here,” she said. “We look forward to it. He’s been coming here for many years.”

LePage kept his remarks short, deferring to other speakers.

“There’s many more people more important to be talking today than me,” he said.

The Rev. Butch Merritt gave the invocation and the Rev. Arlene Tully of Pleasant Street United Methodist Church in Waterville gave a 14-minute speech about reclaiming the power of love. Waterville Rotary Club President Don Plourde was the master of ceremonies at the 26th annual breakfast.

After breakfast, the drumming ensemble performed a few songs for the audience. LePage and Heck were brought in front of the crowd and danced. LePage headed toward the back of the group, but was moved forward near the end of the song.

“My dancing — I belong in the back of the room, not in the front of the room,” the governor said, laughing.

The drummers, led by Master Drummer Messan Jordan Benissan, got the crowd on its feet and dancing with the music.

Third-graders from the George J. Mitchell School in Waterville shared their dreams with the audience.

“I am a child of America. I have a dream that we will treat each other fairly,” said one girl.

“I am a child of America. I have a dream that someday we will have no wars … and that we can live in peace,” said a boy.

LePage expressed thanks to Spectrum Generations and the Waterville Rotary Club for putting on the event.

“It’s always great to come home and see your friends,” said LePage “Not only on Martin Luther King Jr. day, but Spectrum Generations has been very, very good to this community. I come here to do Meals on Wheels with them once a year. I enjoy seeing everybody.”

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