Sudan. A country experiencing serious violence now, a country that endured a civil war lasting over 20 years, between 1983-2005.
Valentino Achak Deng shared his story of surviving Sudanese Civil War, refugee camp, and resettlement in the United States with acclaimed author Dave Eggers and Eggers shares the story, in novel form, with all of us in his 2006 book “What Is The What.” While the stories of the “Lost Boys” have changed over the years, “What Is The What” remains an exceptionally important cultural history, narrative of war and survival and the challenges associated with living as a refugee in the United States. Please note: “What is the What” includes vivid descriptions of war related violence and can be a painful – even traumatic – read.
Through a partnership with the Machiah Center and Maine Humanities Council, Portland Public Library welcomes Bates Anthropology Professor Elizabeth Eames to lead a facilitated conversation about the book on June 10th at 6pm. The Machiah Center has provided 25 copies of the book to be checked out and PPL also offers the book as an e-download and audiobook.
To register for the program please sign up at the Reader’s Advisory Desk on the 1st floor of Portland Public Library’s main branch, or sign up with Kim Simmons at firstname.lastname@example.org
With great thanks to the Maine Volunteers Lawyer Project, PPL is pleased to announce a new series of legal aid clinics to help veterans access benefits will be held on the first Thursday of every month, from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. The clinics will take place at the Portland Public Library (5 Monument Square, Lower Level Meeting Room #4). Volunteers will provide free help to veterans applying for VA benefits or appealing a denial. No appointment necessary.
VLP and the veterans’ benefits attorneys are pleased to provide this service to help guide our respected veterans through the VA benefits process.
The VLP is a joint project of Pine Tree Legal Assistance and the Maine Bar Foundation, dedicated to engaging volunteers in providing civil legal aid. Housed within Pine Tree Legal, VLP has more than 760 students, attorneys and community members volunteering It was established in 1983 to coordinate the volunteer efforts of Maine attorneys and community members volunteering each year and it generated more than $1 million dollars annually in volunteer services.
Spring — a season of renewal, a season of mud. April seems to me to be a perfect time to engage in reflection about what sustains our civic engagement when the cold persists, the mud tracks in, the rain falls. We keep at our community projects in part because we believe that the sun will shine on us again and that the outcomes will be meaningful and worth our time and attention. However, we also keep volunteering or keep on with activism because the alternative is to give up a sense of optimism and connection and even identity…. Activism is an antidote to despair about civic problems, but even the most intrepid activist experiences discouragement, frustration and burn-out at times.
This 2-part workshop stems from work by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone and their book Active Hope, but it is not necessary to read the book to participate! We will also draw on many other resources, included some shared here.
We are offering two distinct sessions – come to one or both!
Saturday April 12th 10:15am – 12:00pm — Meeting Room 5 –> explore the spiral of the work that reconnects including our biggest concerns for the future and our greatest hopes.
Tuesday April 29th 3:30 -5:00pm — Meeting Room 5 –> explore exercises designed to help sustain hope during dark times and to promote individual and collective self-care without encouraging a turning away from social problems.
Both of these public conversations are intended as starting points – an opportunity for developing and sustaining an Active Hope group will be considered by the group.