Project Seeks Nominations for Maine’s Black and Brown Heroes

2020 is the state of Maine’s bicentennial. This 200th birthday is being celebrated through depictions of the people and events that shaped what the state is today. These stories and images appear all over the state, in newspapers, tv, at schools, town halls and countless other places. However, many of us have noticed that this telling of Maine’s history focuses almost exclusively on White men and women. Why don’t these stories reflect all the people who have contributed to Maine?

Vision 2020 is a project of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine (HHRC) to push back on this telling of Maine’s history. We want to highlight that throughout Maine’s history, black and brown people have been part of and contributed to every facet of life here. And more, that black and brown people have shaped Maine’s history in important ways that deserve our attention and appreciation.

Vision 2020 is designed to celebrate the role of Black and Brown heroes in Maine. Our purpose is to produce a visual arts exhibit and educational programs for Maine students highlighting the contributions of black and brown people in Maine historically and today. 

Vision 2020 started with a group of committed community members, working with the Holocaust Human Right Center of Maine. And we want people across Maine to join us in this important work.  Share with us the stories of Black and Brown people that you think are heroes of Maine over the last two hundred years to the present.  Help us make sure that the vision of Maine’s history and future is 20/20!

Photo courtesy of Corey Templeton Photography

About the Vision 2020 Project

A Note On Language

We struggled with our language in drafting this call. We recognize that these terms, “black”, “brown” and “hero”, are problematic and far from perfect. The language of race- how people name themselves and been named by others- has a long and complicated history. Racial labels are rooted themselves in racist beliefs, white privilege, colorism and other systems of oppression. They have been used to limit and demean people and call their humanity into question.  But these labels have also been consistently reclaimed and redefined. They are a core part of resistance, self-determination and pride. 

We also recognize that the word hero is troublesome.  In most traditional definitions, it refers to men. We could find no other words that are gender neutral and we didn’t want to use hero and heroine, which would only reinforce the idea that gender is binary. 

These name and labels are far from resolved. They continue to evolve and be loaded with emotion. We recognize that each one could spark months of conversations, and hundreds of pages of debate. We ask you to take them in the spirit that we offer them- in a sincere desire and commitment to recognize the contributions of people who are far too often left out of the stories we tell about history.

What do we mean by black and brown?
Who is a hero?
Vision 2020 Committee

Nominate Your Black or Brown Hero

Please Note: If a member of the Vision 2020 committee or an immediate family member of that committee member is nominated by a member of the public, that committee member will recuse themselves from deliberations about inclusion of the nomination in the Vision 2020 exhibit.

Online Nomination Form

Click or drag files to this area to upload. You can upload up to 3 files.

Download the Nomination Form