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March – Women’s History Month

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Recommended Reads | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Government

March is Women’s History Month and invites us to celebrate the unique contributions that women have made to American History while also considering the ways that sexism has shaped our collective history.   There are many resources for learning more about women’s history and women’s role in political life.  Among them:

To engage with others, consider attending a Women’s History Month event:

  • The University of Southern Maine’s Women and Gender Studies program highlights many community events happening in March and beyond.
  • The Maine Jewish Film Festival and community partners offer a Women’s Filmmakers event.
  • Maine Law School’s Justice for Women lecture takes place on March 18th and is free and open to the public but registration is required.

Portland Public Library offers a huge array of materials so support more learning including this book list of picture books and this list of books and films related to women’s suffrage serve as starting places!


Black History Month Offerings

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Programs & Events | Adults | Teens | Art & Culture | Government

Beginning tonight, the ACLU of Maine, in partnership with our Choose Civility Initiative and NAACP Portland Branch, will host a Civil Rights Era Film Festival at the Portland Public Library.  This event occurs as part of a larger series of events aimed at helping us better understand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in historical and current terms.  Click here for a  full list of events or visit the ACLU’s Facebook page.

Civil Rights Era Film Festival at PPL (all screenings are free and open to the public) :

Thursday, Febuary 27, 6:30 pm: In the Heat of the Night
Friday, February 28, 6:30 pm: A Raisin in the Sun
Saturday, March 1, 2:00 pm: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
Saturday, March 1, 5:00 pm: To Kill a Mockingbird

Next week, the conversation about our racial history, present, and future continues with a Maine Humanities Council and Space Gallery offering :  “Race in a Networked World.”

PPL’s City of Readers offers this book list  for those interested in exploring African-American history through fiction, while a quick search of “Civil Rights Movement” yields great non-fiction resources.

Black History Month offers us all an opportunity to better understand the complexities of race in our country and to consider our current role in addressing and dismantling discrimination that persists.  How are things similar or different from 1964? Come to our film fest, and then weigh in on Facebook or the comments section!

In the mean time, enjoy this trailer for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner:


Civic Valentines

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Adults | Government

Last October, the Choose Civility Initiative offered a series of “Civic Writing” lunches, with the intention of supporting public participation through writing — that is, writing letter’s to the editor, op-eds, blog posts — even tweets!  I was so pleased to recently receive an email from a participant who did in fact write a letter and get it published in the Portland Press Herald (read it here, and then consider keeping the conversation going with a letter of your own).

She followed up by noting that once she’d written her LTE, it was easy to convert into a letter to her Senators, too!

We hope her experience is inspiring to you, too.  This snowy Valentine’s Day is a great day to engage friends and families in a civic art / civic writing project — let policy makers and your fellow community members know what is on your heart and mind by making them a Valentine!

For support / inspiration check out these links:

The University of Kansas’s Community Tool Box offers some excellent resources for prompting letters to Legislators and To the Editor.

Portland Press Herald Online LTE form

Use this online site to find out how to contact your  State Senators and Representatives or HERE for the Congressional Delegation  or make and send Valentine’s to the addresses below!

Governor LePage
#1 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0001

President Obama

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

If you would be interested in joining a civic writing workshop in the future, share your ideas by emailing simmons@portland.lib.me.us.

 

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