BGIM Media needs your support now!

Dear BGIM Friends and Family,

When I started this space back in 2008, I had no idea how far my words would travel. Nor did I ever imagine that this space would end up being so meaningful to so many people.

I still can’t believe that my words are used in classrooms and organizations across the United States to move critical and long overdue conversations on racism and white supremacy in this country. This space has allowed me to not only find my voice but use it to make a difference and it now allows others such as Samuel James, Teddy Burrage, Veronica Perez, Heather Denkmire and our other contributing writers to use their voices for change.

While conversations alone will not move the needle on race relationships in the United States, they are an important and critical first step in the long journey toward dismantling white supremacy.

BGIM Media’s goal is twofold. First, to serve as a space for Black people and other POC living in primarily white spaces to have a voice and to know that they are not alone by having a community online. Moving to Maine in 2002 from Chicago fundamentally shifted everything I understood about the world around race. Second, our goal is to serve as a place of education for white people and others who are looking to do their own work on race. Having now spent 16 years in Maine and five years as the executive director of Community Change Inc., I have spent a lot of time in proximity to white people and working with them on matters of race. BGIM Media often uses personal stories to discuss larger systemic issues; this style of storytelling derives from my childhood idol Studs Terkel.

While this site has grown and is said to have a major impact on many, one uncomfortable truth is that I have never been able to get this site fully funded as I wrote last month in our initial plea for financial support. Last month almost 50 new patrons signed up to support this site, but we lost several this month and to be fully funded, we need 400 more people to make a minimum monthly gift of $5. Considering the number of people who are accessing our work, this is not an impossible figure but it does mean people making a conscious choice to support this work.

Can you make a minimum monthly gift of $5 or a larger one time gift to keep BGIM Media going? 

If you have spent any time online, you know that most media outfits are struggling. We have created a world where it’s easy to forget that the fabulous pieces you read are written by real people with real expenses. While our work including the podcast is all available to you for free, it is not free to produce.

Given that my day job is running a small non-profit, I know that you are bombarded with almost daily requests for support. Yet if this space has added value to your life, I am asking you to let us know by making a one-time gift or monthly pledge. Theoretically, no amount is too small, though to be honest, because of money that is taken off the top before I ever see your pledges or donations or tips, anything under a  buck really is too little, as I will only literally get loose change in the end. But in the end, what I am saying is that modest support—especially by enough people—is just as welcome as large donations or pledges. And perhaps more so if enough people step up with modest pledges and tips.

Thank you for your support.

Warmly,

Shay, aka Black Girl in Maine


If this piece or this blog resonates with you, please consider a one-time “tip” or become a monthly “patron”…this space runs on love and reader support. Want more BGIM? Consider booking me to speak with your group or organization.

Comments will close on this post in 60-90 days; earlier if there are spam attacks or other nonsense.

 

 

The real conspiracies are worse than the wild conspiracy theories

To me, the difficult thing about writing is choosing what to write about. There’s just so much happening all the time. Do I write about the country’s racist history or policies or population? Do I write about our own Black history? Do I just write about the most recent time I got pulled over? What issue do I want to draw focus to in the moment? There’s a responsibility in that question that is clouded over by an ever-changing media landscape, peoples’ personal habits and now more than ever, conspiracy theories.

As a member of the media, a person with an audience and just as a person, the abundance of conspiracy theories in the public square is terrifying. It points to how few of us have to acknowledge the shared reality and I worry that it’s just going to get worse.

The thing that’s always bothered me about conspiracy theories is that generally, they are obviously and flatly false. For instance, I think a lot of people buy into the idea that there is a group of mysterious people who control all of the wealth and politicians and pull all of these strings from behind a secret curtain somewhere just out of sight.

I hate this idea so much for so many reasons. I hate it because believing it dismisses our own agency as a citizenry. I hate it because it’s an argument from ignorance. I especially hate it because the opposite is true and the truth is actually in our faces all the time.

Do the wealthy control everything? Absolutely. But are they hiding it? Fuck, no! They brag about that shit! It’s not a secret. They’re constantly shouting it from the rooftops, all of which they own.

Here’s how not-a-secret it is: 101 years ago Bertie Charles Forbes created Forbes magazine. Currently Bertie’s grandson, billionaire Steve Forbes, is the editor-in-chief. If you were to flip through the magazine you would quickly see that it is the voice of the wealthy publicly celebrating themselves as masters over all they see and imagine including the rest of us. And they’re so fucking ostentatiously proud of it they name the shit after themselves.

And, yes, I mean ostentatious.

If I were to tell you that the wealthy actually celebrate surging wealth inequality as a happy sign that life is becoming much more convenient, you might say, “Well, they probably think it and maybe they say some monstrous shit like that behind closed doors, maybe, but that’s not really something you can prove.”

And if that were to be your response, I would gladly direct you to a recent Forbes article, unironically titled, Surging Wealth Inequality is a Happy Sign that Life is Becoming Much More Convenient.

It’s the furthest thing from a conspiracy, though it is somehow believed to be.

That being said, things are different if you’re Black.

Very different.

That Forbes article begins with, “Two hundred years ago the American people were quite a bit more equal in terms of wealth…”

Just like my enslaved ancestors at the time, I know I wouldn’t have been considered any kind of equal two-hundred years ago. Or considered American. Or people. And that information, that the opening line conveniently leaves out is the shadow of a very tall tree with very real conspiracies for every branch, like nooses.

There are intimate conspiracies between individuals like the recent police frame job in Florida. There are more widely-spread conspiracies involving multiple institutions like red lining. There are even full-on, 40-year-long conspiracies of Nazi-style human experimentation perpetuated by the United States Government like the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.

Like I said, it’s a very tall tree.

I’m not saying there aren’t conspiracies based things aside from race. There definitely are. What I am saying is that there is a reality we can choose and a reality that is forced upon us and not understanding the difference can mean falling victim to both.

But understanding the difference can mean undoing both and making an objectively better world for everyone.


If this piece or this blog resonates with you, please consider a one-time “tip” or become a monthly “patron”…this space runs on love and reader support. Want more BGIM? Consider booking me to speak with your group or organization.

Comments will close on this post in 60-90 days; earlier if there are spam attacks or other nonsense.

 

Hey!!! BGIM Media needs your help

For years now, Black Girl in Maine Media has served as a place of learning for white people and also a community for people of color living in primarily white spaces. My pieces have been used across the country in educational and faith communities, including with the Civil Rights Teams in Maine. The work that I have created has held great value for thousands and it has truly been a labor of love while in search of my own liberation—but as we have expanded in the past couple of years, I have had to face the reality that there is a financial cost to all of this.

All BGIM contributors are paid, and my rates are comparable to local Maine publications such as The Portland Phoenix and The Bangor Daily News. However, unlike those publications, there are no advertisers or investors generating income for this BGIM Media venture. This is a one-woman shop that only relies on the generosity of readers making either monthly commitments via Patreon or “tips” via PayPal. With over 11,000 “likes” on Facebook and 14,000 followers on Twitter, currently less than 3% of readers contribute to this space financially. Given that we post three to five articles a day on the Facebook page and on average we post two original pieces a week here at the BGIM Media site itself, long term this is simply not tenable. Especially now with the additional costs related to producing a monthly podcast. A local school has donated studio space and a sound engineer, and a local podcast producer has offered a deep discount to produce the show, but it still adds costs to my operations.

Recently, I have been personally covering the monthly shortfall but that is not something that I can continue to do long-term. The readership continues to grow; we also have more writers. But while readership is up, the financial support is not keeping pace with that and that is a problem. It means we need your help.

Many of my writing/blogging peers have moved to platforms such as Patreon where only paying patrons can read their work. I most certainly have considered going that route but recognizing that some people truly cannot afford a monthly gift of $5 or $10, so that doesn’t sit well with me. Access is important. I’m also offering my platform to new and emerging writers as contributors, and offering them access to a larger audience is important to me. So moving to a closed format is not something that I want to do.

However, after taking into consideration the true costs of this site as well as my own time that is often unpaid or greatly underpaid, I am launching a year-end campaign and asking for your help. If this space has been a part of your learning or community, I am asking you to become either a monthly patron or to make a one-time gift. Monthly pledges are preferred because it allows me to set the editorial calendar for my writers knowing exactly what I can afford. However, one-time gifts are groovy too.

If you have spent any time online, you know that most media outfits are struggling. We have created a world where it’s easy to forget that the fabulous pieces you read are written by real people with real expenses. It is one of the reasons that as part of our work here, we have paid subscriptions to numerous publications so that we have access to the latest news and commentary as well as making sure that we live our own values—much of which is shared on the Black Girl in Maine Facebook page.

Given that my day job is running a small non-profit, I know that you are bombarded with almost daily requests for support. Yet if this space has added value to your life, I am asking you to let us know by making a one-time gift or monthly pledge. Theoretically, no amount is too small, though to be honest, because of money is taken off the top before I ever see your pledges or donations or tips, anything under a  buck really is too little, as I will only literally get loose change in the end. But in the end, what I am saying is that modest support—especially by enough people—is just as welcome as large donations or pledges. And perhaps more so if enough people step up with modest pledges and tips.

Thank you for your support.

Warmly,

Shay, aka Black Girl in Maine


If this piece or this blog resonates with you, please consider a one-time “tip” or become a monthly “patron”…this space runs on love and reader support. Want more BGIM? Consider booking me to speak with your group or organization.

Comments will close on this post in 60-90 days; earlier if there are spam attacks or other nonsense.

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