Sign posted in town sparks debate, gets torn down — Should the swastika be re-appropriated as a symbol of the resistance?

Last week locals reported on Facebook that dozens of posters depicting Nazi imagery went up on various signposts around Congress Street. At a quick glance, the poster depicted a black swastika, but a closer inspection revealed that the poster was actually intended as an antifascist one with the word TRUMP arranged to create a swastika in the negative space. The signs prompted a tricky question among Portlanders: could a symbol of hate be reappropriated? Seemingly,…

The Klan is On the Common — Views from the Boston Counterprotest

On Saturday, an estimated forty-thousand people took to the streets in counter-protest. White nationalists who rallied on Boston Common in the name of "free speech" had twenty-five. The group I was with hailed from here in Portland. We traveled down in different cars and met up to share the streets. Mostly an introspective group, we observed, taking in our surroundings. I love protests. Love the energy that the crowd brings. Love knowing that the people…

Never Turning Back — Cast Aside's 'Hedwig' Blurs Gender and Spots a Star

Holding court this weekend at the Portland Ballet Studio Theater is a captivating glam-rocker, a fabulous chanteuse who will rock, rage, dish, and tell all — of love, division, unification, and the genital stub that was the cost of her emigration to America. Yes, it’s Hedwig, the “internationally ignored song stylist” of John Cameron Mitchell’s wildly beloved Hedwig and the Angry Inch, onstage in a tight, zinging show by Cast Aside Productions, directed by Celeste!…

Finding A Common Tongue — How Immigrant Women's Organization In Her Presence Does the Good Work

“The hardest was to find snow suits for the babies,” Penny Carson tells me as she gestures to the navy toddler suit lying next to the heaps of English Language Learner workbooks and vocabulary flashcards on the couch. Penny Carson, a retiree in her seventies, volunteers as an English teacher to newly arriving refugees and asylum seekers at local non-profit In Her Presence. “There will always be more need this winter you know, so I’ll…

When Words Can Kill: Should the ACLU Have Defended the 'Unite the Right' Riot?

In the aftermath of Saturday's bloody "Unite the Right" demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia — which included hundreds of white supremacists and which the American Civil Liberties Union publicly defended — some progressives are wondering whether the organization can still be considered a valuable ally in the fight for social justice. Before the riot devolved into a violent conflict, the ACLU took to Twitter to state that the white supremacists who organized it had a right to mobilize.…

City Council 'Thinking Outside the Box' to Get Rent Stabilization Ordinance on November Ballot

Advocates pushing for rent stabilization in Portland were thrown a curveball Monday when was reported that the citizens initiative submitted by Fair Rent Portland containing over 2,500 signatures was not received in time for consideration on the November 7 ballot. According to Fair Rent Portland (and confirmed by the city), the group had been told by city officials that they must submit signatures 90 days before the ballot — August 7 — but according to…

Fighting Climate Change: Could carbon emissions be curbed by taxing them?

Last month the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii recorded its first ever carbon emissions reading that was in excess of 410 parts per million, marking a milestone: the Earth hasn’t had this much carbon in the atmosphere in 66 million years. A recent scientific study titled “Trajectories Toward the 1.5°C Paris Target” predicts that the Earth will pass the critical warming threshold agreed upon by participants of the Paris Climate Accords within the next 15…

The 2017 Portland Cheap Eats Guide

Welcome to Portland, Maine. Food is good here. (We get it.) Real talk, though. The praise heaped on the high end of city cuisine is totally well deserved. But sometimes, y’know, that’s not what we’re about. Here, we carved out space for some amazing meals Portlanders can get on a tight budget. If you’re someone with a busy lifestyle who juggles a love of food with an appreciation for “old Portland” aesthetics (and maybe class…

The Horse in the Room — Watching 'The Bachelorette' as a POC

When sociologists look back through the annals of television at Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette — which comes to an end this Monday, August 7 — they will get a closer look at America’s collective anxiety about race and culture.  Will they find it odd that Rachel, the first black Bachelorette in history, has two white best friends? Or that several of her relatives are in interracial relationships? Will they be as shocked as…

New Country, New Challenges: Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center Provides Much Needed Support

The Greater Portland area is changing in many ways. One of the more obvious is its demographics. Over the past five years, the city’s seen an influx of immigrants, coming primarily from places like Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Congo. Catholic Charities — which provides Maine’s only refugee resettlement program — has assisted 642 primary refugees, 34 secondary migrants, and 85 asylees into new homes in Portland in 2016, and the numbers of…
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