“What can we do? What is the action item?”
A friend posed these questions in response to Governor LePage’s recent racist statements. We, at Maine Initiatives, believe that we all have a responsibility to confront racism (in leaders, in language, in actions, in systems, in structures) if we reject the hostile environment it creates for people of color in our community and the way it dehumanizes us all.
Such good questions. So many good answers. Here are a few of mine:
There are many ways and opportunities to respond directly to LePage and other political leaders and make your voice heard. Do that.
At the local level, there are numerous community-based events around the state that are bringing people together around shared values of racial justice and equity. Attend. Bring friends and family members. Speak. Sing. Be in solidarity.
Ultimately, however, actively addressing racism requires going beyond applying “corrective actions” to racists. It requires all of us to commit ourselves to affirmatively advancing racial justice and equity in our own communities. Our communities are only as just and equitable as we ourselves make them.
We, at Maine Initiatives, are privileged to be in the process of reviewing grant applications from 60 community-based organizations in Maine (see below) whose work is actively increasing racial justice and equity in Maine. What can you do?
Support these organizations.
Go to their websites.
Learn about their work.
Become a resource for racial justice and equity in Maine.
ACLU of Maine
Burundian Community Association of Maine
The Center for Grieving Children, Maine Intercultural Peer Support Program
Cobscook Community Learning Center
College For Me Androscoggin
Community Bicycle Center
Community Financial Literacy
Cumberland County Food Security Council
Djibouti New England
Four Directions Development Corporation
Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP)
Immigrant Resource Center of Maine
Immigrant Support Association
In Her Presence
Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine
Maine Access Immigrant Network
Maine Association for New Americans (MANA)
Maine Center for Economic Policy
Maine Citizens for Clean Elections and League of Women Voters of Maine
MAINE Community Integration-MCI
Maine Equal Justice
Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services.
Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition
Maine Inside Out
Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition – MPAC
Maine Small Business Coalition
Maine Student Action
Maine Youth Court
Mano en Mano
NEAAO – New England Arab American Organization
New Mainers Public Health Initiative
New Mainers Tenants’ Association
One Tree Center
Operation Breaking Stereotypes
Oral History & Folklife Research, Inc.
Portland Outright – Maine
Raise-Op Housing Cooperative
Restorative Justice Institute of Maine
Restorative Justice Project of the Midcoast
Safe Space Radio
Somali Bantu Community Association of Maine
Somali Community Center of Maine
Southern Maine Workers’ Center
SUD Communities Development Association
Sunlight Media Collective
Sustainable Livelihoods Relief Organization
The Visible Community / Neighborhood Housing League
Toxics Action Center
Tree Street Youth
United Youth Empowerment Services
Wabanaki Public Health
YWCA of Central Maine