South Portland, ME - At the 2018 Celebration for Our Healthy Future with Environmental Health Strategy Center, Mano en Mano received the Grassroots Leadership Award at the annual celebration.
Executive Director Ian Yaffe accepted the award. Read his acceptance speech below;
Mano en Mano, Spanish for Hand in Hand, was founded in the early 2000s after a group of migrant farmworkers settled in Milbridge, in occupied Passamaquoddy territory, which is now called Washington County by many. As I thought about this event, I was reflecting on how closely colonialism and its partner racism are related to environmental destruction and injustice. These same forces bring us to today, when about 400 Latinx individuals and families call the Milbridge area home, in addition to thousands of indigenous, Latinx, Central American, Caribbean, and Maine-based workers whose labor allows us to enjoy many iconic products of Maine - such as blueberries, lobster, and wreaths - and who face intense structural and environmental barriers to living healthy lives and supporting their families.
Our vision is a stronger, more inclusive Downeast Maine, where the contributions of diverse communities are recognized and welcomed, access to essential services, education, and housing are ensured, and social justice and equity are embraced.
This award is dedicated to the Latinx and farmworker communities of Downeast Maine who show us what community and justice mean, and what is possible for Maine's future.