We are in uncharted territory. Our lives are being disrupted in ways many of us have never experienced and, perhaps, never even imagined. But, the truth is that this crisis brings into sharp focus the central question that is at the heart of our work at Maine Initiatives: Who are we together – individually and collectively – as a community?
It is our belief that how we respond in a crisis can be both a mirror and a window.
Our response is a mirror because it reflects back to us who we are: how we think about ourselves and how we think about ourselves in relation to each other. Do we come together in crisis, recognizing that our lives are inextricably linked to the lives of our neighbors – those we know and love as much as those we don’t? Or do we retreat into our private spheres?
Our response is also a window: letting us look out into our own future. It shows us what we can and will become together as a community. Will we become a community that understands and acknowledges that we are all connected; that we must show deep and abiding care for all? Or will we become increasingly separated, divided and unable to respond to collective challenges in meaningful and effective ways?
For us at Maine Initiatives, the answer to these questions is clear: Who we are and who we become is up to us – all of us – together.
It is in this spirit that we pledge to ourselves and to each other and to you: to use this crisis as an opportunity to build our shared capacity to care for one another and to embody love for all members of our community.
We will do this by finding new ways to come together in the context of social distancing; and by learning from and supporting our grantees: organizations like the Southern Maine Workers’ Center that is organizing and advocating for the rights and needs of low-wage workers, working class and poor people; and the Maine Immigrants’ Right Coalition, a network of immigrant-led and immigrant-serving organizations that is ensuring the voices and needs of our immigrant communities are heard and reflected in our community’s crisis response
So stay tuned. You will be hearing more from me and from the rest of our team – Andrea, Shima and Kristin – as we find new and different ways to be together and apart; to take positive action in the face of crisis; and to bring about the vision of community, solidarity and love that unites and moves us all.