Greetings friends! It’s January 2017, and I just wanted to give everyone an update on the status of the Black Girl in Maine expansion efforts. In a nutshell: Slower and far costlier than expected.
As you may have noticed over the past several months, I have taken on a few contributors: Teddy Burrage, Marena Blanchard and Average White Guy. Your support of this space has made it possible to do this and offer compensation to our contributors which, while nominal, will be increasing as I look to add on a few more new contributors. Over 70-plus blog posts were written in 2016 and the BGIM Facebook space has grown by leaps and bounds as we continue to post articles of interest and share important thoughts on a daily basis.
While it has been wonderful to see so many people wanting to understand racism, it also has a downside. There were two major hacking incidents on the blog between October 2016 and December 2016, resulting in an extensive upgrade on the back end to keep the site safe. These efforts will continue into 2017 as I install a firewall. As I have learned, sites that focus on race, religion and politics are popular with hackers. The safety measures that I now have to undertake are not free; thankfully, patrons allow me to run the site which as it grows does incur regular expenses: Contributor fees, hosting, security, and a minimal level of compensation for my own time.
Moving ahead, part of the BGIM Media expansion involved adding podcasts. which right now is projected to be up and running by late February. Creating a quality podcast requires an investment of equipment and time, of course, and a longtime reader of this space who is a sound engineer has offered to help me get up to speed on learning the technical aspects. For this I am immensely grateful, as the process has been a bit overwhelming at times.
With the expansion into podcasting, I have been looking at a site redesign that will allow for ease of use, as well as integrating the podcast and blog posts onto the same site. But that process has been slower than expected as the site has graduated to the point that my own skills are no longer enough for redesigning it. I am in the process of getting final estimates from local Maine-based firms including one woman-of-color-run design firm as well as another women-owned firm. Supporting local business, especially any POC-owned businesses, is important to me as there is a link that I have written about in the past between race, gender and economics.
Unlike many media operations, BGIM is a sole proprietorship and I do this work while juggling my day job as executive director of the oldest, continuously running anti-racism organization in the country. A position that, while lovely, sounds far more impressive than the reality of being the only full-time employee at a scrappy little non-profit in challenging times. I also wear other hats that include mom and now grandmother.
This site is truly a labor of love and my way to make a direct difference in the world, but it does require patrons and donations to sustain it. So for those who have supported the site with a financial gift, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your support has been and continues to invaluable to me and very much appreciated. If you have never contributed and you have the means, please consider becoming a monthly donor or make a one-time gift. Your support does matter.
Lastly the first several podcasts will be for patrons only. I suspect they will be a bit raw, but it is my way to show my appreciation for your belief in this work.
Shay aka Black Girl in Maine
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