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.
Commissioners and Staff
Representative Rachel Talbot Ross (NAACP)
Ambassador Maulian Dana (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 Darrell Newell (Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkmikuk, Indian Township)
Vice Chief Richard Silliboy (Aroostook Band of Mi’kmaq)
Joby Thoyalil (Maine Equal Justice)
Juana Rodriguez Vazquez (Mano En Mano)
Over the course of 2021, three commissioners stepped down, and one commissioner passed away. We extend our deepest gratitude to Ian Yaffe, Garrett Stewart, and Isaiah Reid for their service and contributions to advancing the mission and vision of the Permanent Commission. 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.
Whitney Parrish, Executive Director
Meadow Dibble, Director of Community Engaged Research
Angela Okafor, Director of Operations
Morgan Pottle Urquhart, Director of Communications
Hunter Cropsey, Operations and Planning Manager
*All staff are currently working in an acting capacity