Paula Harvard of Woolwich stood out among a sea of demonstrators who showed up Sunday at Payson Park in Portland to protest racism and white supremacy.

Harvard sported a floral hat with a dozen tiny signs with peaceful sentiments pinned to it, rather than one of the poster-sized signs and banners many in the crowd carried.

Harvard said she had held a sign at the Women’s March in Augusta shortly after President Trump’s inauguration in January and thought she could do better than that this time.

“I can say a lot more with the hat than a single sign,” Harvard said.

Harvard was one of about 1,200 people who attended the Maine People’s Alliance event to protest the violent white nationalist rally that left one dead and more than a dozen injured Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Sunday’s rally was one of several protests across the nation during the weekend. On Saturday, tens of thousands of people, including dozens from Maine, were in Boston to protest racism and white nationalism, and several hundred others attended a rally in Kittery of the southern Maine chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice.


With the Back Cove as a backdrop, speakers from minority organizations across Maine were greeted with enthusiasm at the Payson Park rally.

“We are here to stand against racism, white supremacy and hate, but more importantly, we are here today to stand for a different vision of America,” said Rabbi Erica Asch of Temple Beth El in Augusta.

Deqa Dhalac, a Somali immigrant and South Portland resident, spoke about standing up to racism in America.

“I am a Muslim, black immigrant woman and I am not going anywhere,” Dhalac said.

The crowd gave Dhalac a standing ovation.

People at the rally said they felt compelled to show up.


Danielle Bailey of Bath said she thinks a public protest is an effective way to send a message.

“I couldn’t get to Boston, but let me participate when I can,” she said.

Her friend Lindsay Kay of Portland said she had to come after a devastating week that included President Trump’s controversial remarks about the Charlottesville rally.

“I can’t allow this to happen. I need to push back. You have to make yourself visible,” Kay said.

Thul Leng, who immigrated to Portland from Cambodia as a child, said he attended the rally to support those fighting against hatred, racism and inequality.

“We have come a long way. We have all these rights. I thought we had overcome all that. I don’t want to see it all fall apart. I wish people would come together,” Leng said.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: bquimby

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