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Who we become as a community is up to us

I had the joy and privilege to attend the Bar Mitzvah of a dear family friend this weekend. It was a beautiful celebration and had me reflecting on the idea that:

Who we are is, in some ways, not up to us. But, who we become most certainly is.

This is true for my friend Whitman, as he takes his first firm steps into his Jewish adulthood. But it is also true – everyday – for the rest of us as well. 

Who we become as a community is up to us. It is determined not by some noble idea we have about ourselves, but by the actions we take – or don’t take – today and everyday.

Today, there are any number of serious challenges that get at the heart of who we are becoming as a community. Two that are top of mind for me and our work this week are: neo-Nazis marching in our streets and asylum seekers arriving in our community and being housed in the Portland Expo.

These challenges are opportunities: to step up and into our values; to ask and answer: Who will we be in the face of these challenges? Who will we take these opportunities to become?

At Maine Initiatives, we believe that we all have a role and a responsibility to step up in the face of crisis and act:

  • To support the brave leaders embodying courage and conviction by standing up to cowardly white supremacist threats and intimidation, and
  • To support the organizations receiving and welcoming the individuals and families seeking safety, opportunity, and a home in our community.

If you are reading this message, then you are very likely someone who believes, like I do, that we can and should take these opportunities to act. If that describes you, I urge you to consider taking the following actions:

In peace and love,


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