Do you want to become a more effective advocate on issues of social justice? Join us at “Taking a Knee for Change”, an open to the public round table discussion on August 24, 2023 from 5:00 to 6:30 at the Portland Media Center. Everyone is invited to join us. This event will also be broadcast on TV channels 2 and 5. We thank the Maine Humanities Council for their sponsorship.
We will interact with four inspiring guest speakers. They will help us move from reflecting on issues to committing to justice and equality here at home. We need community based, peace oriented voices like all of ours to make Taking a Knee for Change a finished reality.
Titi de Baccarat is hosting this discussion, based on his book “Taking a Knee for Change,” which will launch in September of 2023. He created the book collaboratively with Maine community members. It brings together a wide selection of photographs and personal statements from individuals who work to end racism and achieve social justice in Maine today. Titi is a multidisciplinary African artist and activist. He is devoted to justice, having been forced to flee his country, Gabon. He wants to help build the most inclusive and vibrant community in Maine.
Our panelists are:
Pious Ali, a native of Ghana, has lived in Maine since 2002. He is a dedicated public servant with extensive success in community organizing, activism, and civic engagement. He is the first African-born Muslim American to be elected to a public office in Maine, becoming a member of the city’s elected Board of Public Education in 2013. He has been a Portland City Councilor since 2016, and has recently entered the race for Mayor.
Abdi Nor Iftin is a distinguished author and public speaker. His remarkable book “Call Me American” earned prestigious acclaim, including Maine’s Lupine Award. It chronicles his extraordinary journey from war-torn Somalia to the United States through the Diversity Visa Program. Abdi also inspires others to embrace nature’s wonders and transcend barriers in their lives.
Andy O’Brien is a freelance writer and communications director for the Maine AFL-CIO, a federation of over 200 unions in Maine. He writes a column titled Radical Mainers, in the Bollard newspaper, about the history of political movements in Maine, and a column about immigrant and African American history for Amjambo Africa. He also co-hosts a podcast called “Disinfomaniacs” where he discusses far-right extremism in Maine.
Mihku Paul, BA MFA, is a Malecite writer/artist and activist from Old Town, Maine. She grew up on the Penobscot river, and received both a traditional cultural education from her grandfather and a formal education in White schools. Her poetry is taught at several campuses in the UMaine system. Mihku spent more than three decades working with Portland Public Schools on DEI issues related to Wabanaki culture
and history. She lives and works in Portland.
Our facilitator is Elizabeth Ross Holstrom, a community builder. She owns a small business, Mindful Employer, where she helps companies to connect with and measure human impact through work. She has three decades of experience as a partnership developer, master facilitator, and collaborative leadership trainer. She is a graduate of the Institute for Civic Leadership, and holds a certificate in Authentic and Conscious Leadership through Babson College.