Saturday, November 28, 2009

Who Does She Think She Is? @ the Frontier

Hello Artist-Mother-Friends, 

I wanted to share info about this movie -- it is so powerful, and was provocative when I saw it at the women's fund --women artists who are not mothers, and mothers who are not artists all found pieces that they related to, and the overall questions and issues were compelling for all of us... Check it out if you can!  Kim 

Begin forwarded message:

FILM | Who Does She Think She Is? | NR | 84min 
A Film by Pamela T. Boll

Wednesday, Nov 25 | 5pm
Friday, Nov 27 | 5pm & 8:45pm
Tuesday, Dec 1 | 5pm 
Thursday-Friday, Dec 3-4 | 3pm
Saturday, Dec 5 | 3pm
Tuesday-Wednesday, Dec 8-9 | 3pm & 7pm

"This film is not about being a woman or being a woman artist but rather how to be a human, how to find your true place in life." -  Jean M Murphy, Wellesley Center 
                                  For Women

Monday, November 16, 2009

Calling Maine Home

CALLING MAINE HOME: Immigrants' Images, Voices, and Visibility

6th floor, Glickman Family Library, USM Portland Campus
October 26, 2009 - February 26, 2010 (during regular Library hours)

OPENING RECEPTION November 19, 5:30-6:30pm

Annual Exhibition of the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine
Curated by: David Carey, Jr. and Blanca Iris Santiago
Assisted by: Robert Atkinson, Reza Jalali, Victoria Chicon

In the whitest state in the nation, recent immigrants struggle between wanting to be visible and wanting to fade into the background. Whether by conscious decision or destiny, Maine is now home. This exhibition explores the triumphs and challenges of Mainers from such diverse paces as Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

For further information or to schedule a gallery talk, contact Susie Bock,, 207-780-4269.
  For directions:

Susie R. Bock
Head, Special Collections
Director, Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine
Library Liaison, Women and Gender Studies
University of Southern Maine Libraries
207-780-4067 (fax)
314 Forest Ave.
PO Box 9301
Portland, ME 04104-9301

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Paid Sick Leave NOW!

The call to keep kids home from school always makes me think about a book I read a few years ago, called Forgotten Families, by Jody Heymann. The author documented the public health threat that emerged after we created "workfare" and parents in low wage jobs are forced to be away from home for upwards of 10 hours a day without enough pay to cover childcare expenses. (She also examines the health problems facing poor children in other countries). She found that an increasing amount of caregiving -- for self, sibling, younger neighbors, cousins, and older people -- is falling to children who are too young for paid work themselves. This means kids as young as 5 are caring for toddlers, or are left home alone for significant chunks of time, or are confined to small spaces if they come with their parents to work (chained to a table kind of small spaces). The book broke my heart, and enraged me. What would it be like to build public policy on as if children really mattered?
The New York times reported that the lack of Paid Sick Days in the U.S. may worsen the H1N1 pandemic. And the U.S. lags so far behind other industrialized countries (and other countries, period) it is clear that paid sick leave is considered a reasonable benefit for working families in the larger world. (Check out this pdf)

Senate President Libby Mitchell put forward an Act to Prevent H1N1, which would provide paid sick leave to a limited number of workers in Maine, while federally the Healthy Families Act lingers.
If you'd like to work on passing a paid sick leave law, contact the
Maine Women's Lobby
They are also doing a story collection project:

Have you - or anyone you know - been affected by the H1N1 virus and had to go to work anyway? Or lost pay because you had to stay home?

Contact Charlotte at or 207.622.0851

You can also provide your story online by answering a few questions.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

More about Question 1

The loss of marriage equality in Maine has triggered my deepest cynicism and frustration at our political process as well as at my fellow-Mainers. A friend offered a link to Strong Father's post, about how to help kids with gay or lesbian parents make sense of the vote.

And Greater Good offers a more general resource for thinking about how to help kids learn forgiveness...

The Family Ambassador project helps to educate people about family diversity in Maine and witness the grief and sadness that families might be experiencing right now... they are looking for new families to join!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Talking about Losing Marriage Equality in MAine

It is difficult to know how to talk to children about yesterday's election results regarding marriage equality in Maine. If you believe, as I do, that we are experiencing institutionalized discrimination, the public values reflect a different ideology and set of practices than those we're teaching as core values and responsibilities for our children. Yet, my impulse to criticize the Yes on 1 campaign also perpetuates hurt and fear and worry among my children, and I don't know the standpoints of everyone else's children.
Some children are waking up as victims of discrimination, some as empathetic bystanders and friends, some without language or consciousnesses about the event, some perhaps feeling victorious. Kids will take in the messages and effects of the repeal differently depending on their own identities, family lives, and communities. So, how do we talk about the election in an inclusive, honest, and caring way?
It is probably through storytelling -- letting kids from all kinds of families talk about how this all feels. But where and how and with who? In some way, the worry that kids would talk about families and feelings at school is part of what fueled the Yes on 1 campaign. And yet, if they are not given space to share the multitude of experiences and feelings, how do we grow empathy, how do we banish internalized prejudices?
The Anti-defamation league has resources for teaching relatively young children about prejudice and discrimination. Honoring the reality and existence of discrimination helps all kids see themselves as part of history, part of social structure and part of a hopeful future.
Understanding Prejudice has a booklist coded by age -- the books about gender and family diversity are towards the bottom -- all create opportunities to open up conversations about social justice and our own experiences of isolation, stereotyping, etc.
Although we missed "Ally week" the tools provided by GLSEN might still be useful to us; the concept of being an Ally is a very powerful one for creating cross-identity connections. They also offer a "Safe Space" kit.
Finally, for folks wanting to dig deeper, there are new resources emerging from the social pyschology literature about addressing "stereotype threat." That is, when we know that stereotypes exist, that prejudice is possible, that people might assume negative things about us because of our identity group, we behave in response to that possibility. An instance of discrimination doesn't have to happen to us personally for more generalized prejudice and discrimination to effect us. How might young people whose sexual identities are still emerging or who are questioning their sexual identity confront stereotype threat and how might they behave in response? (see this related teaching tolerance piece on the use of "good morning, girls and boys")