A new year and thank you

2020 is now in our rearview mirror and while we may all have the collective desire to exhale a sigh of relief, the reality is that 2021—at least over the next few months—will still be a rocky ride with COVID-19 raging out of control. While here in the United States, with the vaccine and the incoming Biden-Harris administration, there is reason finally for hope, we still will have to do our part before we start planning for life without masks and social distancing.

While we have all been impacted by the pandemic to varying degrees, for some of us the losses of 2020 were personal. As many of you know, my beloved father took ill in May and passed away in June. Even prior to the pandemic and my Dad’s illness and death, 2020 came at me hard. It was last January when my daughter spent almost two weeks hospitalized, and we spent the bulk of the year dealing with subsequent health issues; thankfully, she has turned a corner for the better.

Despite the challenges of the year, work still had to happen, which for me meant serving in my role as executive director of Community Change Inc. and continuing the work of Black Girl in Maine Media.

As I have said before, when I started Black Girl in Maine back in 2008, I had no idea where it would go. This site started off as a personal space to process raising Black kids in Maine, and a way to work through my own thoughts of being a Black woman in one of the whitest states in America. This year will mark 19 years since I moved to Maine and while many things have changed, many things have not. Which is why this space still lives.

Blogging itself has shifted over the years. Many of the bloggers that I started out with back in 2008 have moved on—some still write, many others don’t. With the proliferation of social media, and the world domination of a certain site, many no longer visit blogs, preferring the one stop shopping of that “Book.” However, you choose to still read this site, and many of you have chosen to financially support this space to cover our costs which include paying our writers competitive rates.

Speaking of our writers, many of our early contributing writers have moved on to deepen their own activist work, in some cases full time. And one former contributor, Samara Cole Doyon, went on to publish her first book last year, Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration.

Your support over the years has made it possible for me to share this platform with young writers of color, as well as white writers who are committed to deepening their anti-racism praxis and sharing their journey, as Heather Denkmire does every month.

While anti-racism work went mainstream in 2020, we remain committed to writing and sharing our racial analysis in a manner that is accessible to all. Something that is respectful of all but firm. Anti-racism work requires being in a relationship, and while I may not know you personally, I strive to live my values and be the same person whose words you read that you would know in person. There are few contradictions in my work, but I am who I say I am. Messy and honest but vulnerable and authentic.

Thank you for being a part of this community and thank you for your support. I also want to acknowledge that if you gave a financial contribution after last May, the odds are high that I may not have sent you a personal note of gratitude. Patreon patrons do receive an automated note of gratitude but contributions given via PayPal require me to manually send a note. Once my Dad took ill, and I went to Chicago, I fell behind in all email and frankly have not been able to catch up. In fact, I am still playing email catch-up.

While you may not expect a note of gratitude, I know that you have choices in who and what to support, and I don’t take your support for granted. Especially when many have been impacted by the economic disruption of the pandemic. Speaking of all that, 2020 was a challenging year financially for this space. We have lost a number of patrons and many of my spring and summer speaking engagements were cancelled. Even this year is off to a challenging start and for the first time in over five years, I won’t be speaking on MLK Day. I am walking in faith and trusting that things will work out/ I have chosen to keep this site open and not behind a paywall and to trust that if readers have the means and find the work to be of value, they  will support it.  As always, we welcome your support.

In closing, thank you for your readership, your support and more importantly, your commitment to an anti-racist vision for all. Stay safe and remember that while we are getting ready to say good riddance to 45, the work continues.

In love and solidarity,

Shay aka BGIM

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