Portland, Maine – On Saturday, September 16, 2023, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Portland Public Library, artist and activist Titi de Baccarat will officially present his new book Taking a Knee for Change, a Maine-based photographic project developed over the past two years to document a cross-section of individuals, including immigrants like himself, who are seeking to end racism and promote social justice in Maine today.
The book is prefaced by Bob Greene (Historian, Retired Associated Press Journalist) and features both photographs (taken months after the murder of George Floyd by 10 Maine photographers) of Mainers from different walks of life, kneeling and their personal story and experience with social justice.
deBaccarat said “I believe the book could in fact, move people from one position to another no matter what your political beliefs because you could find a paragraph in the book that you resonate with.”
The Taking a Knee for Change “Book Launch Party” is both the official presentation of the book Taking a Knee for Change to the general public and a celebration to honor the diverse communities of Maine who for the past two years have supported and made possible the publication of the book.
The event is open to the public and includes video screenings, music with DJ RRug, book sale and signing, photo exhibition, free appetizers and drinks and many more surprises.
Earlier this year, Titi de Baccarat received a $5,000 grant, provided by the American Rescue Plan Maine Project Grants, a sub-grant program administered by the SPACE Gallery for the National Endowment for the Arts, to publish his book Taking a Knee for Change.
deBaccarat said “That grant allowed me to work with two wonderful artists, Veronica Pounds and Erin Thomas on the book cover design and layout. The grant also helped fund research and consultancy work, editorial, administrative and liaison work as well as stipends to photographers for the use of their photographs in the book.”
In June 2023, Titi de Baccarat organized a fundraising campaign called Taking a Knee for Change on Kickstarter to raise more funds to start printing the book. The response from the community has been powerful and generous. Titi de Baccarat collected nearly $8,000.
deBaccarat said “Now that the book is out, my goal is to be able to cover the cost of publishing an additional 500 books that will be distributed free to Maine schools in 2024.”
Here are some quotes written by institutions and by Mainers about the book Taking a Knee for Change:
Portland Public Library is honored to support the work of an asylum seeker who has become a neighbor and friend, and will continue to support equality and inclusion in our community.
Sarah Skawinski, MLIS | Adult Services Director
Membership Chair, Maine Library Association
As an artist, and a New Mainer, Titi de Baccarat turns fresh eyes toward our own times of turmoil as Mainers of all kinds try to square the American promise that “All men are created equal ” to the paradox of modern clashes that seem to shout the opposite. Does Taking a Knee mean defiance and protest, or deference and defense, of something deeper? In our new century, Mainers new and old still seek the answer — in a gesture of solidarity and humanity that may seem still, but is never silent. Artist Titi de Baccarat’s book makes it clear — for Mainers, to Take A Knee is to Take A Stand”.
Herb Adams Former State Legislator,
Professor History and Social Science SMCC
Titi de Baccarat brings together a diverse group of Mainers to express what it’s like to suffer racism and hate in our society and what it means for all of us — white, Black and brown — to come together in the spirit of solidarity to fight against these injustices. de Baccarat’s work shows us what it means to be in a true community where we support each other in our struggles and stand together as one people.
Communications Director Maine AFL-CIO
To bow on bended knee provides a powerful gesture and symbol needed in today’s chaotic times as we struggle to create a society in which acceptance is shared equally among ALL citizens of widely diverse social, economic, racial, educational, religious and sexual backgrounds throughout history. To bow down offers moments of peace, reverence and time to reflect upon our past experiences, both positive and negative, and how best to create a more just and welcoming community for one and all in the immediate years ahead.
Art Collector and Curator of Photography at Cove Street Arts
“The struggle against injustice is a struggle that should resonate and engage with every member of our community. Taking a Knee for Change is an endeavor motivated by love of community. Its mission is a noble one, brought about by the concern that life, liberty, and safety of our neighbors are threatened by social systems.”
Joseph N. Jackson
Executive Director Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition
Maine Inside Out: Director of Community Programs
I love seeing how your project has grown and spread its wisdom to so many people! Your insights about how racism keeps us down as a culture have been eloquently expressed in artifacts and installations, and now a book. I’m excited for “Taking a Knee for Change” to reach even more hearts and minds to move our society toward true equity for all.
Thank you, Titi de Baccarat, for this inspiring project, for gathering this diverse group of Mainers to talk about the many reasons they take a knee. It is a gift you have given us to activate, ponder, repeat, celebrate, and carry on in the face of injustice and inequality.
Founder and Coordinator of ARRT! and Editor of the Maine Arts Journal
For more information about the Taking a Knee for Change “Book Launch Party”, please visit https://www.thekneelingartphotography.com or email Titi de Baccarat at firstname.lastname@example.org