Friday, February 29, 2008


Immigrant Legal Advocacy Pproject's (ILAP)
4th annual
CeleSoirée: Celebrating Immigration through the Arts.

Friday, March 28th from 5-9 PM
at The Portland Company, 58 Fore Street in Portland.

DELICIOUS INTERNATIONAL FOOD from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Greece donated by Portland's best restaurants

A silent auction you won't want to miss with outstanding JEWELRY, PHOTOGRAPHY, PAINTINGS, SILK SCARVES and so much more

Plus LIVE WORLD MUSIC including AFRICAN DRUMMING by Jordan Benissan and Sankofa!

TICKETS are only $25 in advance or $30 day of. Children 14 and under are free. Advance tickets can be purchased online starting March 1st at or by calling 780-1593.

CeleSoirée is a celebration of Maine's immigrant communities and the valuable contributions they make to the economic, political and cultural life of Maine. ILAP is dedicated to improving the lives of Maine's immigrants by providing expert legal assistance and advocacy. Proceeds raised will support ILAP's direct legal services program, education and outreach program and impact project.

Please feel free to forward this email to friends and family who would enjoy attending the event.

Beth Stickney
Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project

If you have questions or want to buy a ticket, contact or by calling 780-1593

Stop Maine Budget Cuts!

Dear MAIN members and friends:

Current state budget proposals will hurt many Maine people and weaken our communities. MaineCare, education and important services for women, children and the elderly are all on the table to be slashed.

We need you to take action NOW to stop these cuts. Please help! Join with thousands of others to let our legislators know that Maine Can Do Better. Together, we can make a difference. Here's how!

Go to Maine Can Do Better

Click on 'Take Action'. Then:

1. Sign the petition: This petition will be presented to legislators to let them know that Maine people want them to stop budget cuts that weaken our communities and hurt our neighbors, family and friends.

2. Contact your legislator: By clicking on this link on the website, you can send an email directly to your State Senator and State Representative. Don't worry if you don't know their names. The website will know from your home address.

A Few Hints:

Change the subject line: The current subject line for the email says 'Maine can do better'. We ask that you put your own words on the subject line so that the thousands of emails that legislators receive won't all look the same. Here are some suggestions: Stop the budget cuts; Protect Maine people;
Save our communities; People first, stop the cuts; Cuts hurt real people; or Cut now, spend more later.

Use your own words in the message: We encourage you to change the text of the e-mail and write a message in your own words. Tell your legislator to protect health care for people in the MaineCare non-categorical program (childless adults living in poverty) and stop any other cuts you are concerned about. This will only take a few minutes but will make a huge difference.

For more information about the cuts click here:

That's it! Now that you've taken these simple action steps, please forward this email to others - friends, family, coworkers, groups - so that they, too, can take action to stop the cuts. Help us reach our goal of getting 50,000 Maine people to contact their legislators.

Thank you. Together, our actions will make a difference!

This message has been sent by:

Maine Association of Interdependent Neighborhoods (M.A.I.N.)
P.O. Box 69, Hallowell, ME 04347

Maine Equal Justice Partners
126 Sewall St.
Augusta, ME 04330
Toll-free: 1-866-626-7059
In Augusta: 626-7058

Margaret Chase Smith picture book

Children's book author (author of the wonderful Wild Child and tons more) has a new children's book featuring Margaret Chase Smith - first woman Senator from Maine.

MARGARET CHASE SMITH: A WOMAN FOR PRESIDENT-Just in time for an election year is this picture book biography of Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman to run for president on a major party ticket back in 1964. When Margaret Chase Smith was born in 1897, in the small town of Skowhegan, Maine, women couldn’t even vote. She rose above poverty and other obstacles to become one of the most important women in U.S. history. The book features illustrations by David McPhail and timelines charting key events in American history. (published by Charlesbridge, 32 pages, hardcover-$16.95, paperback-$7.95, for ages 8 & up)

This book is a great resource for 4th graders learning about Maine history, for kids and adults of all ages who are interested in Smith as a venerable Mainer or glass-ceiling breaking woman.

Other resources for women's history month can be found at the National Women's History Project.

The Margaret Chase Smith library has many resources specific to Smith.

A short newspaper story about Smith is archived here.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sestina for the Working Mother

Garrison Keillor featured this poem on the Writer's Almanac on Friday February 11th - I've been pondering it since... Click here to listen (scroll down to Friday)

Listen (RealAudio) | How to listen

Poem: "Sestina for the Working Mother" by Deborah Garrison, from The Second Child: Poems. © Random House, 2008. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Sestina for the Working Mother

No time for a sestina for the working mother.
Who has so much to do, from first thing in the morning
When she has to get herself dressed and the children
Too, when they tumble in the pillow pile rather than listening
To her exhortations about brushing teeth, making ready for the day;
They clamor with "up" hugs when she struggles out the door.

Every time, as if shot from a cannon when she shuts the door.
She stomps down the street in her city boots, slipping from mother
Mode into commuter trance, trees swaying at the corner of a new day
Nearly turned, her familiar bus stop cool and welcoming in the morning.
She hears her own heart here, though no one else is listening,
And if the bus is late she hears down the block the voices of her children

Bobbing under their oversized backpacks to greet other children
At their own bus stop. They too have come flying from the door,
Brave for the journey, and everyone is talking and no one is listening
As they head off to school. The noisy children of the working mother,
Waiting with their sitter for the bus, are healthy and happy this morning.
And that's the best way, the mother knows, for a day

To begin. The apprehension of what kind of day
It will be in the world of work, blissful without children,
Trembles in the anxious and pleasurable pulse of the morning;
It has tamped her down tight and lit her out the door
And away from what she might have been as a mother
At home, perhaps drinking coffee and listening

To NPR, what rapt and intelligent listening
She'd do at home. And volunteering, she thinks, for part of the day
At their school-she'd be a playground monitor, a PTA mother!
She'd see them straggle into the sunshine, her children
Bright in the slipstream, and she a gracious shadow at the school door;
She would not be separated from them for long by the morning.

But she has chosen her flight from them, on this and every morning.
She's now so far away she trusts someone else is listening
To their raised voices, applying a Band-Aid, opening the door
For them when the sunshine calls them out into the day.
At certain moments, head bent at her desk, she can see her children,
And feels a quick stab. She hasn't forgotten that she is their mother.

Every weekday morning, every working day,
She listens to her heart and the voices of her children.
Goodbye! they shout, and the door closes behind the working mother.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Safe Toys Bill / Initiative

February 14, 2008

Your help is needed immediately to protect our children from known toxic chemicals in toys and everyday products.

LD 2048 - "An Act to Protect Children's Health and the Environment from Toxic Chemicals in Children's Products" (sponsored by Representative Hannah Pingree) - would stop the unrestricted exposure of our children to known unsafe chemicals.

The bill is under attack by the chemical industry. Your Maine legislators need to hear from you immediately.

Please take a moment right now to send a message to your representatives.

Click here to act.

(Or cut and paste this link:

If you'd like to learn more about the legislation, visit this page.

Thanks for your prompt action on behalf of our children.

There are also other important opportunities to support this legislation:

- Thursday, February 28: Public hearing on LD 2048 in Augusta
Email us if you are interested in attending at

- Tuesday, March 4: Environmental Health Day at the Capitol
Click here to sign up to attend!

The Environmental Health Strategy Center Team

Join Our Mailing List!
The Women's Environmental Health Initiative is a project of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, affiliated with the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine
Visit EHSC on-line by clicking here
Learn more about the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine by clicking here

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Paid Sick Leave

Kate and I spent a few hours at the legislature last week handing out apples to Representatives in an effort to call attention to the importance of paid sick leave. I thought Kate was pretty irresistable, but not every one agreed, with one Representative dismissing the importance of healthy workers and famlies as "too expensive". It is hard for me to understand that perspective, and I got a bit of a mom-voice as I tried to argue him down (not politic, it turns out, but kind of fun).

Here's the full story :

For Immediate Release: February 12, 2008
Contact: Sarah Standiford, 207-622-0851 (office) 207-837-2609 (cell)

Hundreds of Apple-Grams Delivered to Maine Legislators

Moms to Elected Officials: "An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away, but We
Need Paid Sick Days for When that Doesn't Do the Trick!"

(Augusta) "An Apple a day doesn't do the trick when I am at work and my
children are sick!" That's the message that one member sent
to legislators on Tuesday on a specially wrapped Maine "Apple-Grams."

Moms converged on the 3rd floor of the Maine State House on Tuesday to
Apple-Grams in support of paid sick days. members emailed
the messages they wanted to send to legislators, and the Maine Women's
Lobby worked with moms to wrap and deliver them to legislators.

Christina Griffin, of Portland, came to the State House to tell her
representatives to pass L.D. 1454, the paid sick day bill. "When parents
don't have sick days, children pay the price. My son had to go to the
emergency room at night with a fever of 102, simply because my husband and
I couldn't take a paid sick day to take him to the doctor during the day
when he needed attention. No parent should be forced to choose between
their job and their child."

Thousands of workers in Maine lack the basic protection of a paid sick
day. For low-income working parents without sick days, a child's ear
infection of case of the flu can mean no money for rent or food on the
table...or even losing a job. A full 86% of people working in the food
and public accomodation industry have NO sick days, so are forced to come
to work sick - or risk pay or even penalties at work. The bottom line is
that Maine workers should have the right to recover from illness without
endangering public health. And children deserve the protection of parents
who can take time to care for them when they're sick.

"We're delivering these Apple-Grams on behalf of all the sick people who
had to work today," said Sarah Standiford, Executive Director of the Maine
Women's Lobby
. "Mainers deserve the right to recover from illness without
endangering public health. They need paid sick days to stay healthy, and
so do all of us."

"The inability to take even one paid sick day is a huge liability for
public health, for workers, and for businesses," said Kristin
Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director of MomsRising.Org, a national
grassroots organization building support for a family-friendly America.
"When employees have to go to work sick they risk spreading their illness
to their co-workers and their customers-as well as getting sicker
themselves and ultimately having to take more time off. Do you really
want someone with the flu working in the kitchen of your favorite
restaurant? It's not fair to you, and it's not fair to the worker. The
Act to Care for Working Families will help to ensure that Maine workers
aren't forced to choose between going to work sick or losing a day's
pay...and possibly a job."

L.D. 1454 An Act to Care for Working Families would allow workers in
businesses with 25 or more employees to accrue one hour for every 30 hours
they work. Both part-time and full-time workers would benefit from this
bill which caps the amount of paid days off to five.

The Maine Women's Lobby is a non-partisan, non-profit membership
organization working since 1978 to increase opportunities for women and
girls through advocacy and legislative action.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Lunar New Year Picture Books

The Maine Humanities Council Born to Read program published a list of great picture books for children that explains the ideas and ideals of the Lunar New Year.

Also, an event:

When: Saturday February 9th from 11:00am-4:00pm
Where: Catherine McAuley High School
631 Stevens Avenue, Portland
♦Chinese Crafts for Children
♦Exciting Chinese Music & Dance
including Authentic Dragon Dance
♦Interactive Workshops &
♦Yummy Chinese Food & Chinese
Merchandise Available
Cost for Adults $5/$3 for CAFAM members
Children 2 & over $3/$2 for CAFAM members (children under 2 free)
Questions? Call 207-799-0684 or watch our website for specific
events and times as they are finalized

CAFAM is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
Twentieth Annual
The Year of the Rat