Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to letters@bangordailynews.com.

Standing together against hate

I was horrified to learn about the recent vandalism of a neighbor’s car in Bangor. Racial slurs and the words “KKK supporter” were spray painted onto his vehicle, bringing to light the existence of racist and violent extremism in our community. It pains me to think that people in Bangor are feeling targeted because of the color of their skin, and it sickens me that white supremacist ideas have a foothold in our community.

Some people are likely dismissing this incident as “just some kids causing trouble” and not representative of a larger problem. But when racist propaganda is surging online and individuals who are Black, Indigenous and people of color continue to face systemic discrimination, I implore us all to take this recent incident as a warning sign of what will continue to happen unless we change course.

Racism will not eradicate itself. We must take action, internally and externally, to make our community a safer place for everyone. This means having zero tolerance for white supremacism and having tough conversations with our friends and family members who hold these ideas. We cannot forget that the KKK has a long history in Maine, influencing our state in ways that can still be felt today. On a local and national level, we must advocate for policies that advance equity and reverse policies that perpetuate systemic racism.

As a representative serving part of Bangor at the Maine Legislature, I welcome your input. You can reach me anytime at Laura.Supica@legislature.maine.gov.

Rep. Laura Supica

Bangor

Health worker vaccine requirement was overdue

Gov. Janet Mill’s new COVID-19  vaccine requirement for health care workers is a big move, and it couldn’t have come soon enough. In recent weeks, the spread of the delta variant has led to increasing cases and hospitalizations among Mainers, along with reports of mental and physical  burnout among health care workers. This requirement prioritizes the health and safety of the entire Maine public, including frontline health care workers, as we face this new threat from delta.

Health care workers are responsible for the health of COVID-19 patients, as well the most vulnerable patients who could be made even sicker from a COVID-19 exposure. That’s why it’s critical that they’re fully vaccinated to protect themselves and those they care for.

While the majority of health care workers in the state are already vaccinated against COVID-19, this new requirement will help further limit the spread of this deadly virus in health care facilities. It’s also a step that most Mainers support.

Thanks to Mills’ leadership and cooperation from the health care community, our medical facilities will remain a place where patients go to get better, not worse.

Madeleine DesFosses

Rockland

Protect the Arctic refuge

Like many New Englanders, I grew up enjoying walks along Bangor’s waterfront and hiking through wooded trails in Acadia National Park here in Maine. Throughout my visits, I’ve seen how deeply Mainers care about our local wilderness and wildlife — and who could blame them.

And that love extends farther, to one of the U.S.’s most pristine and wild places: the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It’s home to dozens of incredible bird species like snowy owls and iconic mammals like caribou and polar bears. Unfortunately, Congress opened up the refuge to oil drilling in 2017 putting these incredible creatures at risk.

Oil drilling in the Arctic would fundamentally alter this critical habitat that’s already feeling the effects of climate change. Our decision makers in Washington need to safeguard the natural places and wild animals that Mainers love and permanently protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Elizabeth DiSanto

Field organizer

Environment Maine

Portland