The ongoing impact made by each and every one of our member groups continues to astound me. We have members on the frontline of advocacy to better support Maine families. Others have immediately stepped in to help those impacted by PFAS chemicals found on Maine farms. And others work tirelessly to help Mainers secure appropriate and affordable health insurance for themselves and their families. I invite you to read more about our member work in our November newsletter– please click here! *Please also note that there is a correction to the phone number listed for Disability Rights Maine in the newsletter– it should be 207-626-2774!*
Thank you to everyone who came out for the Portland Greendrinks event last month! We had nearly 300 attendees for the event, and loved engaging with folks about what MaineShare is, how we support our member groups, and the amazing work our groups do to better our community. We look forward to more in-person events, with our member groups, workplace partners, and engaging with the greater community! And speaking of our member groups, we have begun a series to take a more in-depth look at each. The Member Spotlight Series will be found on the ‘News and Events’ page of our website, and the first spotlight is on The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine. Our Workplace Giving Season is off to a strong start, with the return of many dedicated workplaces, as well as exciting new partners! Read on for MaineShare and member updates here!
Recently, I had the great pleasure of visiting the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine (HHRC), housed at The Michael Klahr Center on the University of Maine Augusta campus. I was able to meet HHRC staff in person, discuss recent events and current priorities, and tour the inspiring exhibits at the Center. This is a visit I highly recommend.
The Michael Klahr Center is named for Michael Klahr, a hidden child of the Holocaust, and tells the moving story of Michael and his family, and his journey from hiding on a rabbit farm during Nazi occupation to settling down and starting his own family here in Maine. The Center features mementos from Michael’s life, artifacts from the Holocaust, permanent and traveling exhibits highlighting historical prejudice and injustice, but also love and hope. The current exhibit, “Reflections on Genocide,” displays written and visual media reflections from University of Southern Maine and Casco Bay High School students. These works of art are powerful, thought provoking, and speak to the importance of telling the true stories of our history, as that is the only way to not repeat past mistakes and be better citizens of the world.
The founding mission and ongoing work of the HHRC is its educational programming. They have doubled their offerings to 12 programs, all free of charge and available to schools and educators statewide. Their programs include anti-bias offerings to teachers and staffs, helping students to recognize and challenge prejudice and hate, using history as an example of the impact of ignoring bigotry, and building brave and welcoming communities. The HHRC has also developed a robust anti-bias toolkit that is available to schools online, as well as summer teacher workshops and programming for community organizations and Senior College. They serve as a critical resource to schools or communities who are grappling with an incident of hate, and are often called in to provide education and tools for healing that meet the moment.
MaineShare is proud to represent and elevate the work of all of our Member Groups, and we look forward to our continued work with the HHRC. Education is a vital part of uplifting us all and ensuring that injustice is brought to light and challenged. We are grateful for the work of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine in our communities, and its aspirational work toward inclusion and dignity for all. To learn more about the HHRC, visit their website!
Images: Educator Alexandra Magnaud teaches a class on Jewish Resistance in the amphitheater at HHRC. Art- Definitions of Light, by Fiona Nichols, Casco Bay High School Class of 2025. Acrylic and paper on canvas, 2022.
As the seasons transition, I feel the electric energy all around. Our member groups are increasing their community engagement, with several involved in policy work this important election season. Our workplace partners are re-engaging with MaineShare as they begin their Workplace Giving campaigns. And the community energy was palpable earlier this week at our Portland Greendrinks event, where we were able to share what MaineShare does with a whole new audience. Read on for more happening at MaineShare, Maine Initiatives, and with our member groups!
Although the season of leisure is fading into memory, opportunities to gather and celebrate are going strong. Many of our members are holding events over the next couple of months to share in success, achievement and joy. These celebrations are so well-deserved, and we encourage readers to read more about these events here.