To advance our mission, Maine Black Community Development focuses on health equity, policy and advocacy, and food and land justice.
Black Mainers are 20 times more likely to experience COVID-19 than white Mainers.
To support Mainers experiencing COVID-19 in an equitable way, MBCD is creating a quarantine space for COVID-19 positive community members at in Turner, ME, educating Mainers about COVID-19 Resources, and conducting research on COVID-19 and POC Mainers to inform further work. See our Resources Pagefor more COVID-19 information.
Policy and Advocacy
130th Legislative Session
LD 2: An Act to Require the Inclusion of Racial Impact Statements in the Legislative Process Read the bill here. MBCD's Testimony
LD 1034: An Act to Provide Funding to Support the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations Read the bill here. MBCD's Testimony
Permanent Commission on Status of Racial, Indigenous, and Maine Tribal Populations
"For far too long, we have allowed our laws to uphold a system that produces disproportionate outcomes for racial, Indigenous, and Maine tribal populations. Legislation alone will not end these disparities, but it plays a critical role" - Rachel Talbot Ross, Director of Maine Black Community Development.
MBCD's work will be informed by the recommendations from the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous, and Maine Tribal Populations that released its first report in September 2020. The Commission was created by legislation sponsored by Maine’s two African American state representatives, Rachel Talbot Ross, director of MBCD and Craig Hickman, board member of MBCD. Maine Black Community Development recognizes that reports and recommendations issued by state government are just that. It will require organized constituents holding policy makers accountable, at every level, to implement the transformative change required to dismantle institutional racism.
In 2019, the Maine legislature passed Resolve To End Hunger in Maine by 2030 (LD 1159) which was sponsored by Craig Hickman, a board member of MBCD. This bill prompted a report and the design of a strategic plan conducted by an Advisory Group. The Advisory Group, led by Penny Jordan, released the Initial Report (below) on 02/10/2020. Commissioner Amanda Beal presented the report to the legislature on 03/03/2020. Staff and board members of MBCD have participated on the Advisory Group and will continue to engage with this important and groundbreaking work.
Maine Black Community Development is working to meet the hunger and nutritional needs for Maine's growing low-income African/American Diaspora and Muslim communities through food and land justice efforts across the state. Some of our partners include Ummah Farm, Presente! Maine, Annabessacook Farm, and the Cumberland County Food Security Council.
While the US census consistently ranks our state as having the largest percentage of people identifying as white, Maine’s BIPOC communities are marginalized from economic and food security in a variety of unique ways. Due to the relatively small population of people of color here, there has been no infrastructure in place to organize around needs and issues whether it be a lawyer’s guild or a culturally preferred food pantry. While the prevalence of food insecurity reported in 2018 among white non-Hispanic Households was 14.7%, the prevalence for people of color households was 28.3%. We will build unprecedented connections among Maine-based BIPOC food producers and organizations providing direct food access and advocacy opportunities to communities of color.