The chorus is forming…won’t you support it?

Back in August, I wrote a post Lemons to Life and the Raising of the Collective Chorus. To recap, as I looked out at a changing landscape, I decided that after eight years of just writing in this space, I wanted to make changes and accommodate more voices in this space. Starting in early 2017, I will be adding podcasts to the mix, and I am looking to move Black Girl in Maine from more than a blog and podcast but to a media hub for non-white voices in Northern New England. From Black Girl in Maine the blog to BGIM Media.

I have long held to the belief that we need to look at who creates the narratives that we read and believe. In most places, the narratives are fed to us by white people who are often unaware of the biases and prejudices that are often projected in the messages they share, which in turn tends to keep things like white supremacy and institutional racism alive and well, in both subtle and overt ways. Stories about the “Dapper alt-right,” anyone? Articles that normalize Steve Bannon and his hateful rhetoric?  Now more than ever (especially as we see so many Black hosts in particular having their shows yanked recently from various channels like Comedy Central and MSNBC), there is a growing need for non-white voices to be heard and elevated, and my mission is shifting to do just that.

Since that announcement, I have added Teddy Burrage and Marena Blanchard as regular contributors, as well as a few drop-in guests such as my brother and my co-parent (granted, my co-parent is white, but his two decades of experience in my family give him provisional standing in non-white circles). I have been inundated with resumes and writing samples from writers of color throughout the region and I am looking forward to bringing new voices to this space.

Now more than ever as our nation grapples with the realities of a Trump presidency and our racially divided nation, spaces such as this are places for camaraderie and learning. My blog posts continue to travel far and wide; this was brought home to me one day recently when my tween daughter came home and told me that her school’s Civil Rights Team had used one of my posts in class as a learning tool. I recently had the opportunity to speak at a local high school that has been using my posts for learning. An old childhood friend who is a professor at a prestigious university contacted me after a faculty meeting when a colleague suggested several of my posts as resources for students. We had quite the laugh. My words have come a long way from the South Side of Chicago.

As wonderful as it is that this space and the curated posts that I share on the BGIM Facebook page resonate with many and are tools for learning and knowledge, there is a cost. Frankly all the media that we consume digitally has a cost, yet for legacy media, they still have the resources to underwrite or absorb those costs with corporate and institutional support.

For smaller creators like myself, I ask readers to support the work. For many years, I wrote and was happy to just have readers but as the readership grew along with the time devoted to this space, I started to ask readers to consider making the occasional donation to help underwrite the cost of maintaining the site. In the past year, I have moved to using Patreon , which allows people to pledge monthly support to content creators they enjoy. I also offer the Paypal tip option for one-time or sporadic gifts of support.

I recognize that the internet is a vast place and that there is plenty of good content available, but increasingly legacy media uses paywalls and limits access. Also, some sites are so littered with pop-up ads and other distractions that the noise gets in the way of reading the good stuff. There is none of that here. However, this space involves a great deal more than just writing a post and posting it. I am also committed to offering my contributors financial compensation because I know all too well about writing for free and earning nothing but a headache. I also know that we live in a world where Black women earn 63 cents to the white man’s dollar. Given my primary focus on using this space for the uncomfortable discussions of race, for me to consume the work of Blacks and other non-white people without ensuring that we are working towards financial parity would just one more way we continue to perpetuate the systems that create divisions and maringalization. We can’t talk about racial justice without realizing that there is an economic piece too.

If you are already a financial contributor to BGIM, thank you. Your support has allowed me to kickstart the wheels of transformation and to start shifting this platform. If you have never financially supported this space and it matters to you, please consider becoming a monthly patron or making a one-time, year-end contribution. If you work with a group or organization that could benefit from a dialogue on race, consider bringing me out to your space. I do travel nationally.

Thank you again for your support!

BGIM, aka Shay and crew
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.