LEWISTON — By the end of the rally, Dane Morgan could barely speak. 

His voice had gone hoarse and had faded to a whisper, the result of having led roughly 200 people through the streets of Lewiston and Auburn, chanting all the way. 

The chants were familiar after similar rallies rolled through the Twin Cities in recent weeks.

“No justice!” Morgan shouted from the back of a blue pickup truck. “No peace!” and the marchers echoed his words at full volume. 

A few minutes later, as they moved down Union Street in Auburn, the chant had changed to “Hands up, don’t shoot!” and shortly after that, the message “Black lives, matter! Black lives matter!” boomed out over Auburn. 

Later, as they wrapped up the protest in Lewiston’s Kennedy Park, Morgan told the group that their efforts transcended race. In the end, he said, it was all about a unified fight against oppression and abuse. 

“When you say black lives matter, it is for you and you and you,” Morgan said, pointing at one person after another in the crowd. “It’s for all of us.” 

Morgan, a local realtor and deejay, organized the rally as part of the protests that have flared up since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month. 

Police and public works crews shut down a stretch of Lisbon Street while the gathering assembled at Dufresne Plaza. 

The rally was late getting started, but the crowd gathered in the plaza seemed content to wait. 

They stood in small groups, holding signs with messages like “Liberty and justice for all,” “A new world is calling” and “Stop looking away!”  

A boy of about 12 held up a sign that declared: “My generation ends racism.” 

As they waited, the groups discussed their motivations for coming out to this, the fourth Black Lives Matter rally in the Lewiston area since Floyd’s death. 

Everybody had a story that was a little bit different, but in the end, they all had come out for the same cause. 

“Racism is a very real thing,” said Deja Martin, who lives in Hebron and works in Auburn. “Systemic racism is real. My friend and I, we want to be agents of change; to set an example and to be there for people of color.” 

The friend, Cassie Dubois, of Auburn said she and Martin attended their first rallies last weekend in Augusta. 

“This will be our third,” she said. “We came to support the cause.” 

Collin Miclon had been living in Brooklyn but came home to Buckfield earlier this year when COVID-19 turned New York into a virus hot bed. Now that he’s home, Miclon said, he plans to support people of color any way he can, and the Friday night rally was just a part of that. 

“The first one I went to was last Sunday at the State House in Augusta,” he said. “It was amazing. There had to have been 2,000 people there, lots of speakers and a whole bunch of different things. We marched for two hours and it was great.” 

For the Friday night march, Morgan rounded up the pickup truck, a portable generator and various stereo equipment used to broadcast civil rights speeches, including the words of the late Martin Luther King. 

As they marched, several police officers marched along with the group, as they have for each of the rallies in Lewiston and Auburn. 

Once the rally was finished, Morgan said he was happy with the way it went. But, he said, marching is only one step in the process. Now he hopes to keep reminding people that if they want to truly see change, there is much work left to be done. There’s voting and attending meetings and getting involved in various ways. 

“That’s what I hope to continue to do,” Morgan said. “Letting people know and making sure they are cognizant of that.” 

“The next step,” agreed Ilunga Mutombo, who also spoke at the Friday night rally, “is to teach our community the importance of their voices when it comes to legislative things as far as voting, talking to the city councils, talking to the mayors, attending different meetings and being more active.  

“Sometimes I feel that we forget the real purpose of what’s going on,” Mutombo said, “and we need to remind ourselves, and each other, why we’re doing what we’re doing. Every single day should be a reminder that this is a fight that has to happen on all angles.” 

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