BAR HARBOR — The MDI Racial Justice Coalition, which has been holding regular rallies and marches since late May, opted to cancel a march planned for Sunday, Aug. 2 citing an increase in cases of COVID-19 in Hancock County and at Mount Desert Island Hospital.
“We believe that holding a march and rally is a small risk, given that the event is outdoors and masks are required,” organizers said on the group’s Facebook page. “Nevertheless, we feel that it is not wise to have a march and rally (Aug. 2). We will be back on the streets when it is safer. We are not sure when that will be.”
The group received permits from the Town Council July 21 to hold marches on Aug. 2 and 16, even though the events have drawn more than the then-limit on outdoor public gatherings of 50 people. On July 29, state officials updated the guidelines. Groups of up to 100 are now allowed at outdoor events.
“We have been asked many times why we continue marching during a global pandemic,” organizers said. “There are multiple answers: community, strength and power. A march of hundreds of people through the streets of usually-quiet Bar Harbor is a jarring call for justice and change … We have found that being in a diverse crowd, all chanting together and sharing in the struggle, gives us strength and resolve. It reminds us that we’re not alone.”