LEWISTON — The beginnings of Green Dot Lewiston-Auburn movement started from a group of women meeting at the home of Cindy Elias in Auburn last November.

“We noticed reading the Sun Journal and hearing from friends there has been an uptick in hate incidents,” Joan Macri, an organizer, said. So, a group of women calling themselves the Community of Kindness “decided we would take on a project,” she said.

That led them to brainstorming about what could bystanders do, safely, to reduce hate, which led them to Green Dot.

“Green Dot kept coming up as the Cadillac of trainers,” Macri said. “We reached out to them.”

Green Dot creates a curriculum specific for the community, Macri said, which is costly. She declined to say how much. The money for training was raised from community members, including two major donors, Macri said.

The goal is to provide training to workers on the front line of where hate incidents are happening, organizers said. “Hannaford and Shaw’s in Auburn are onboard. Walmart has showed interest,” Macri said.

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Bangor Savings Bank is a huge partner, she said. “They plan to train every single employee in the state!”

The more people who are trained, the less hate there will be, said Macri, a former Lewiston High School teacher.

“I know from the classroom when you say, ‘That’s not allowed, stop!’ people stop. But if you allow it or stand there and don’t do anything, it continues.”

For more information about local training, call Kathy Durgin-Leighton at 795-4050, or email [email protected],

 

Patrick Gagnon of the Lewiston School Department’s 21st Century Program writes his group’s thoughts on how one should react if they witness a group of guys harassing a woman on the street. Gagnon’s group was one of several working on ideas during the Green Dot instructor training conference at the Lewiston Public Library on Tuesday.

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