The Permanent Commission is an independent entity with a mission to work toward ending structural racism so all communities can thrive. For too long,  Maine and the United States have  allowed the institutions and policies that drive structural racism to continue. These structures hurt all of us, including rural Mainers, Black and African American people, Indigenous people, other people of color, and all Maine residents struggling to thrive under these systems. To achieve its mission, the Permanent Commission is empowered to advise and consult all three branches of Maine government, and to introduce legislation. The Permanent Commission examines racial disparities as one tool to combat structural racism and improve the quality of life for all Mainers.

The Permanent Commission’s membership, which is made up largely of people from racial, Indigenous, and tribal populations, includes representatives from sovereign tribal nations; policy and service organizations; labor, educational, and faith-based institutions; and people from impacted communities who all bring relevant expertise to this work. Their expertise comes from lived experience, professional background and/or relationships with impacted communities.

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Commissioners and Staff


Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross (NAACP)

Ambassador Maulian Bryant (Penobscot Nation)


Keith Bisson (Coastal Enterprises, Inc.)

Amanda Comeau (Homeless Voices for Justice, Survivor Speak USA)

Bruce King (Maine Inside Out)

Reverend Kenneth Lewis (Green Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church)

Dr. Marcelle Medford (Bates College)

James Myall (Maine Center for Economic Policy)

Vice Chief Richard Silliboy (Aroostook Band of Mi’kmaq)

Deb Ibonwa (Maine Equal Justice)

Juana Rodriguez Vazquez (Mano En Mano)

Dina Yacoubagha (Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition)

Reginald Parson (Boys & Girls Club of Southern Maine)

Jason Shedlock (Laborers' International Union Local 327)

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Ariel Ricci, Executive Director

Angela Okafor, Community Engagement Director

Morgan Pottle Urquhart, Communications Director

Hunter Cropsey, Operations Director

Leeann Sullivan, Research Coordinator

Rae Sage, Policy Coordinator






In Memoriam

We are forever grateful for the service and contributions of Dianne ‘dee’ Clarke, who passed away on October 31, 2021. We commit to carry on her larger-than-life spirit, tireless advocacy, pursuit of justice, and endless love for all people.