Maine Currents 10/6/20: Hate Groups in Maine

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

CORRECTION: Shenna Bellows previously worked for the ACLU, not the AFL-CIO

On this edition of Maine Currents, we embark on a series of discussions about hate groups in Maine

Guests:
Crash Barry is an investigative journalist, author, and podcaster. He is the former editor-at-large for Mainer News and has worked as a print, radio and web reporter for over 25 years, with a focus on the seamy side of Maine life. First as a muckraker for Portland alt-weeklies, then as a news-talk show producer, followed by a stint as a national correspondent for a radio network. During the early 2000s, Crash went undercover for a series of stories for the now-defunct Casco Bay Weekly, staying in homeless shelters, working day labor, cleaning nasty apartments, and for a brief period, flipping burgers at McDonalds. (His first shift started at noon, on September 11, 2001.) From 2005 onwards, he contributed films, investigative cover stories and columns to The Bollard, a Portland alt-monthly and wrote extensively about Maine’s path to cannabis liberation for leafly.com. Crash is the author of three books, the rollicking novel Sex, Drugs and Blueberries, the gritty memoir Tough Island and the true story Marijuana Valley.
Crash is also a filmmaker and directed the adaptation of his novel Sex, Drugs and Blueberries. View his work here

Andy O’Brien is a former state legislator, former managing editor of the Free Press in Rockland and the current communications director for the Maine AFL-CIO. His writings have been published in Down East, Huffington Post, Labor Notes and Mainer Magazine. He is also the co-founder of O’Chang Studios, which produces the popular cartoon web series Temp Tales as well as animations for a variety of businesses, government agencies, educational institutions and nonprofits. He also does freelance reporting on far-right groups in Maine. Links to some of his recent related work is below “related articles from Mainer News” section

Shenna Bellows is the Executive Director of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine Shenna joined the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine in June, 2018. Shenna is also a State Senator for Senate District 14 in Kennebec County. Shenna led the ACLU of Maine as Executive Director for eight years and served as Interim Executive Director for LearningWorks. Most recently, Bellows owned a nonprofit consulting firm providing services to a range of nonprofit organizations ranging from the Maine Women’s Lobby to the Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition. She was a key leader on the successful 2012 marriage equality campaign and co-chaired the successful 2011 statewide ballot campaign to restore same day voter registration. She served as a volunteer with the Peace Corps in Panama and AmeriCorps VISTA in Nashville.

Steve Wessler founded the Civil Rights Unit in the Maine Attorney’s Office in 1992 and led the Unit for 7 years. In 1999 he left the formal practice of law and founded the Center for the Prevention of Hate. The Center worked in Maine and across the USA. Since 2011 he has been teaching and consulting on human rights issues in colleges and around the world. He is also the host of Change Agents on WERU-FM, the 1st Thursday of every month at 4pm

Related articles from Mainer News:

Hatebook – The Facebook group that promoted violence and death threats against Safiya Khalid, the first Somali-American elected to the Lewiston City Council

Leaks Show Mainer’s Online Radicalization By Neo-Nazi Terrorist Cult

UMaine College Republicans Caught in MAGA Civil War

Maine GOP Leadership Goes to Bat for White Nationalistic College Club

About the host:
Amy Browne started out at WERU as a volunteer news & public affairs producer in 2000, co-hosting/co-producing RadioActive with Meredith DeFrancesco. She joined the team of Voices producers a few years later, and has been WERU’s News & Public Affairs Manager since January, 2006. In addition to RadioActive, Voices and Maine Currents, she also produced and hosted the WERU News Report for several years. She has produced segments for national programs including Free Speech Radio News, This Way Out, Making Contact, Workers Independent News, Pacifica PeaceWatch, and Live Wire News, and has contributed to Democracy Now and the WBAI News Report. She is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Journalism Award from the Sierra Club of Maine, and the First Place 2017 Radio News Award from the Maine Association of Broadcasters.

Maine Currents 9/15/20 Elections 2020 Edition: Senate Debate, Election Safety, RCV & more!

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

It’s the 3rd Tuesday of the month, so it’s once again time for our Elections 2020 edition of Maine Currents, with regular guests, Professor Amy Fried, Chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Maine, and former State Representative Ralph Chapman
Ann Luther, board member for the League of Women Voters of Maine, and host of the Democracy Forum here on WERU is with us again today, along with Will Hayward, Advocacy Program Coordinator for the League of Women Voters, for a discussion of election safety issues, the current status of ranked choice voting, and more!

Taped via Zoom on Monday, 9/14/20

About the host:
Amy Browne started out at WERU as a volunteer news & public affairs producer in 2000, co-hosting/co-producing RadioActive with Meredith DeFrancesco. She joined the team of Voices producers a few years later, and has been WERU’s News & Public Affairs Manager since January, 2006. In addition to RadioActive, Voices and Maine Currents, she also produced and hosted the WERU News Report for several years. She has produced segments for national programs including Free Speech Radio News, This Way Out, Making Contact, Workers Independent News, Pacifica PeaceWatch, and Live Wire News, and has contributed to Democracy Now and the WBAI News Report. She is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Journalism Award from the Sierra Club of Maine, and the First Place 2017 Radio News Award from the Maine Association of Broadcasters.

Maine Currents 9/1/20: Confronting Racial Bias in Maine Schools

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Today we bring you another presentation organized by the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, on the topic of bias and racism. The presentation “Students Speak: Confronting Bias in Maine Schools” was taped via zoom on August 13 before a live audience filled with teachers.

The featured speakers, Sophia Williams, Alexa Allen, Jamaica Ford and Isaiah Reid talked about their experiences as Black students in Maine schools and their hopes and efforts for change. Shenna Bellows- who in addition to being a Maine State Senator, is also the Executive Director of the center, is the moderator

Sophia Williams’ “Open letter to the American Ghetto and its disenfranchised” can be found here

About the host:
Amy Browne started out at WERU as a volunteer news & public affairs producer in 2000, co-hosting/co-producing RadioActive with Meredith DeFrancesco. She joined the team of Voices producers a few years later, and has been WERU’s News & Public Affairs Manager since January, 2006. In addition to RadioActive, Voices and Maine Currents, she also produced and hosted the WERU News Report for several years. She has produced segments for national programs including Free Speech Radio News, This Way Out, Making Contact, Workers Independent News, Pacifica PeaceWatch, and Live Wire News, and has contributed to Democracy Now and the WBAI News Report. She is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Journalism Award from the Sierra Club of Maine, and the First Place 2017 Radio News Award from the Maine Association of Broadcasters.

Maine Currents 8/18/20: Elections 2020 Edition

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

NOTE: Taped via Zoom on Monday, 8/17/20

It’s the 3rd Tuesday of the month, so it’s once again time for our Elections 2020 edition of Maine Currents, with regular guests, Professor Amy Fried, Chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Maine, and former State Representative Ralph Chapman

Our guests weigh in on many elections-related topics currently in the news, including what’s happening with the Maine state legislature and Congress -both currently recessed; Trump, the Post Office and mail-in voting; Biden’s selection of Karmala Harris as a running mate; the latest challenge to Ranked Choice Voting; and the Maine Supreme Court’s ruling against the CMP corridor referendum that was to appear on November’s ballot.

About the host:
Amy Browne started out at WERU as a volunteer news & public affairs producer in 2000, co-hosting/co-producing RadioActive with Meredith DeFrancesco. She joined the team of Voices producers a few years later, and has been WERU’s News & Public Affairs Manager since January, 2006. In addition to RadioActive, Voices and Maine Currents, she also produced and hosted the WERU News Report for several years. She has produced segments for national programs including Free Speech Radio News, This Way Out, Making Contact, Workers Independent News, Pacifica PeaceWatch, and Live Wire News, and has contributed to Democracy Now and the WBAI News Report. She is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Journalism Award from the Sierra Club of Maine, and the First Place 2017 Radio News Award from the Maine Association of Broadcasters.

Maine Currents 8/4/20: Immigrant Experiences in Maine Schools

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine recently hosted a panel discussion on the Immigrant Experience in Maine Schools. Several people who came to Maine from other countries as children spoke about their experiences in the schools here. While they are mostly from the Portland and Lewiston areas, the experiences they shared are important for all of us who want to be part of a welcoming community. The moderator was Shenna Bellows, Executive Director of the HHRC, in addition to her work as a State Senator. The panel was recorded via zoom, and lightly edited. Our thanks to the Holocaust and Human Rights Center for making this, as well as a video of the event available to WERU listeners

Panelists:
Saharla Farah is a rising sophomore at Emmanuel College, having graduated from Deering High School in 2019 and serving two terms as the student representative on Portland’s Board of Education.

Safiya Khalid serves as a Lewiston city councilor and works as the community coordinator for Gateway Community Services. Safiya and her family left Somalia when she was 7 years old and settled in Lewiston after spending a few months in New Jersey. After high school, she received her degree psychology from the University of Southern Maine.

Hawo Mohamed is the Greater Portland Restorative Coordinator. She was born in Kenya and immigrated to the United States with her family in 1995, settling in Portland, Maine. Since then, she has called Maine her home. Hawo has had a great interest in social justice since high school, where she organized her fellow classmates to participate in the first school-wide protest against police brutality in 2012, shortly after the death of Trayvon Martin.

Mohamad Nur was born and raised in Portland, Maine as the son of Somali refugees. He is an alum of Portland Public Schools and graduated from Bowdoin College with a double major in government & legal studies and Africana studies, with a minor in education. He is the legislative director for the Maine People’s Alliance.

About the host:
Amy Browne started out at WERU as a volunteer news & public affairs producer in 2000, co-hosting/co-producing RadioActive with Meredith DeFrancesco. She joined the team of Voices producers a few years later, and has been WERU’s News & Public Affairs Manager since January, 2006. In addition to RadioActive, Voices and Maine Currents, she also produced and hosted the WERU News Report for several years. She has produced segments for national programs including Free Speech Radio News, This Way Out, Making Contact, Workers Independent News, Pacifica PeaceWatch, and Live Wire News, and has contributed to Democracy Now and the WBAI News Report. She is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Journalism Award from the Sierra Club of Maine, and the First Place 2017 Radio News Award from the Maine Association of Broadcasters.

Maine Currents 7/21/20: Elections 2020 Edition

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Regular guests Professor Amy Fried and former State Representative Ralph Chapman weigh in on local and national politics, and we’re joined by Lisa Savage for US Senate , Tiffany Bond and Matthew McDonald for the Max Linn campaign (website under development). They explain why they’ve teamed up together to demand access to the US Senate debates with Sara Gideon and U.S. Senator Susan Collins

Guests:
Professor Amy Fried, Chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Maine
Former State Representative Ralph Chapman, and
Ann Luther, board member for the League of Women Voters of Maine

Recorded via Zoom on 7/20/2020

About the host:
Amy Browne started out at WERU as a volunteer news & public affairs producer in 2000, co-hosting/co-producing RadioActive with Meredith DeFrancesco. She joined the team of Voices producers a few years later, and has been WERU’s News & Public Affairs Manager since January, 2006. In addition to RadioActive, Voices and Maine Currents, she also produced and hosted the WERU News Report for several years. She has produced segments for national programs including Free Speech Radio News, This Way Out, Making Contact, Workers Independent News, Pacifica PeaceWatch, and Live Wire News, and has contributed to Democracy Now and the WBAI News Report. She is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Journalism Award from the Sierra Club of Maine, and the First Place 2017 Radio News Award from the Maine Association of Broadcasters.

Maine Currents 7/7/20: Decolonization

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

A discussion of decolonization, with specific examples from the University of Maine, and the Abbe Museum, with guests:

Darren Ranco, PhD, a citizen of the Penobscot Nation, an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Chair of Native American Programs at the University of Maine. He has a Masters of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School and a PhD in Social Anthropology from Harvard University. His research focuses on the ways in which indigenous communities in the United States resist environmental destruction by using indigenous science, diplomacies, and critiques of liberalism to protect natural and cultural resources. He teaches classes on indigenous intellectual property rights, research ethics, environmental justice and tribal governance.

Hailey Cedor, a rising senior in the Honors College at the University of Maine, Orono. She is a History major with a minor in Environmental Horticulture. She is a member of All Maine Women, an undergraduate Research Assistant with the Holocaust Geographies Project, and a Fellow with the McGillicuddy Humanities Center. She has been working to get the University to rename a building on campus that was named for a former university president who was also the president of the American Eugenics Society.

John Bear Mitchell, a citizen of the Penobscot Nation from Indian Island. He presently serves as the UMaine System Office Native American Waiver and Educational Program Coordinator, University of Maine’s Wabanaki Center Outreach and Student Development Coordinator, as well as, a Lecturer of Wabanaki Studies and Multicultural Studies at the University of Maine in Orono. He has served on numerous museum and educational boards throughout the state with missions based on Maine’s Wabanaki people. For 15 years John visited schools in Maine as a Maine Touring Artist delivering an Arts in Education program. During that time, he visited over 150 schools. While working his way through college, he toured with the Native American Storytellers of New England. He presented a traditional and contemporary program in Native American Stories and Song. His singing and storytelling can be heard in many Maine PBS, tribal-sponsored awareness videos, independent film, HBO Lionsgate TV, and many documentaries with topics on Maine’s Native People.

Starr Kelly is the Curator of Education at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor. Her responsibilities focus on education through dialogue in a decolonizing context. Starr leads the museum’s education and public programs work, including program development and delivery, teacher training, and educational resource development. She is a member of the Algonquin First Nation of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg in Quebec

About the host:
Amy Browne started out at WERU as a volunteer news & public affairs producer in 2000, co-hosting/co-producing RadioActive with Meredith DeFrancesco. She joined the team of Voices producers a few years later, and has been WERU’s News & Public Affairs Manager since January, 2006. In addition to RadioActive, Voices and Maine Currents, she also produced and hosted the WERU News Report for several years. She has produced segments for national programs including Free Speech Radio News, This Way Out, Making Contact, Workers Independent News, Pacifica PeaceWatch, and Live Wire News, and has contributed to Democracy Now and the WBAI News Report. She is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Journalism Award from the Sierra Club of Maine, and the First Place 2017 Radio News Award from the Maine Association of Broadcasters.

Maine Currents 6/2/20: Digital Media Literacy

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Hannah Cyrus, Assistant Director at the Blue Hill Public Library, with a presentation on Digital Media Literacy, recorded on May 20th, and a news report by host Amy Browne. The video of the BHPL presentation is available here

Our thanks to the Blue Hill Public Library for providing the audio and video of the presentation

About the host:
Amy Browne started out at WERU as a volunteer news & public affairs producer in 2000, co-hosting/co-producing RadioActive with Meredith DeFrancesco. She joined the team of Voices producers a few years later, and has been WERU’s News & Public Affairs Manager since January, 2006. In addition to RadioActive, Voices and Maine Currents, she also produced and hosted the WERU News Report for several years. She has produced segments for national programs including Free Speech Radio News, This Way Out, Making Contact, Workers Independent News, Pacifica PeaceWatch, and Live Wire News, and has contributed to Democracy Now and the WBAI News Report. She is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Journalism Award from the Sierra Club of Maine, and the First Place 2017 Radio News Award from the Maine Association of Broadcasters.