rose

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The First Six Months

Last May, the world reacted in horror to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. Here in Maine, Rose Barboza mourned for a few days—and then turned her sadness and anger into action. Her brainchild, Black Owned Maine, started as a simple online directory of Maine businesses owned by Black people, populated with the companies she knew off the top of her head. Six months later, it’s become a comprehensive resource, a community for entrepreneurs, a funder of grants to families, a content company—and Barboza’s full-time job.

George Floyd Memorial Wall in Portland, Maine.

George Floyd Memorial Wall in Portland, Maine. Painted by Ryan Adams.

When protestors started flooding the streets of Portland to protest police brutality and racial injustice, Barboza wanted to participate. But as a single parent, she felt it would be irresponsible to join large crowds in the midst of a pandemic. “I was thinking, I really want to go to a protest, but I feel like there’s something else I can do that will be a little more long lasting,” Barboza remembers.

Rose Barboza laughing in Portland, Maine

Rose Barboza

Thus, Black Owned Maine, which Barboza created in a 48-hour period while furloughed from her tourism job. She pulled in her friend Jerry Edwards, a producer and musician who goes by the name Genius Black, to help get the word out. Edwards studied Africana Studies at Bowdoin College, focusing on writing and cultural studies. The duo asked friends, colleagues and Reddit commenters to share information about Maine-based Black businesses, and by June 1 BlackOwnedMaine.com was live!

Jerry Edwards aka Genius Black

Jerry Edwards aka Genius Black

In the last six months, Mainers have taken advantage of the directory to work with businesses they may not have known of previously. In the meantime, the vision for Black Owned Maine has expanded dramatically. The organization has an impressive social media following, and Edwards has begun producing the Black Owned Maine podcast, with three episodes out so far. They’ve begun accepting donations from the community, thanks to support from Creative Portland. They’ve sold merch and they’ve given out grants to Black-owned businesses that have been affected by the pandemic, as well as to families that are struggling to make ends meet. The grant applications are intentionally simple and straightforward, so as not to create a burden on people who are already stressed.

BOMP Logo. BOMP stacked three times in orange, purple, and white.

Black Owned Maine Podcast

Going forward, Barboza and Edwards want Black Owned Maine to become an even more integral resource for businesses that don’t often get the spotlight—as well as for up-and-coming entrepreneurs. They’re planning to build out the website so it contains all the information you’d need to start a business in Maine. That information will be accessible to anyone, though of course the target will be entrepreneurs of color. In addition, they aim to create a business incubator and mentoring program, while also offering for-profit marketing and media services. “This is a social change project that turned into something much bigger,” says Barboza—and Maine is better as a result. 

Last May, the world reacted in horror to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. Here in Maine, Rose Barboza mourned for a few days—and then turned her sadness and anger into action. Her brainchild, Black Owned Maine, started as a simple online directory of Maine businesses owned by Black people, populated with the companies she knew off the top of her head. Six months later, it’s become a comprehensive resource, a community for entrepreneurs, a retailer, a funder of grants to families and businesses, a content company—and Barboza’s full-time job.

When protestors started flooding the streets of Portland to protest police brutality and racial injustice, Barboza wanted to participate. But as a single parent, she felt it would be irresponsible to join large crowds in the midst of a pandemic. “I was thinking, I really want to go to a protest, but I feel like there’s something else I can do that will be a little more long lasting,” Barboza remembers.

Thus, Black Owned Maine, which Barboza created in a 48-hour period while furloughed from her tourism job. She pulled in her friend Jerry Edwards to help get the word out. The duo asked friends, colleagues and Reddit commenters to share information about Maine-based Black businesses, and by June 1 BlackOwnedMaine.com was live! 

In the last six months, Mainers have taken advantage of the directory to work with businesses they may not have known of previously. In the meantime, the vision for Black Owned Maine has expanded dramatically. The organization has an impressive social media following, and Edwards has begun producing the Black Owned Maine Podcast, with three episodes out so far. They’ve begun accepting donations from the community, thanks to support from Creative Portland. They’re selling merch and they’ve given out grants to Black-owned businesses that have been affected by the pandemic, as well as to families that are struggling to make ends meet. The grant applications are intentionally simple and straightforward, so as not to create a burden on people who are already stressed.

Going forward, Barboza and Edwards want Black Owned Maine to become an even more integral resource for businesses that don’t often get the spotlight—as well as for up-and-coming entrepreneurs. They’re planning to build out the website so it contains all the information you’d need to start a business in Maine. That information will be accessible to anyone, though of course the target will be entrepreneurs of color. In addition, they aim to create a business incubator and mentoring program, while also offering for-profit marketing and media services. “This is a social change project that turned into something much bigger,” says Barboza—and Maine is better as a result. 

2020-12-13T18:02:45-05:00December 2nd, 2020|BOM THROUGH TIME|

Black Owned Maine Podcast Archives

July 14th, 2020 Genius Black and Mosart talking about the fight for racial justice, youth leadership, and creativity. In these critical times, we explore leadership in [...]

August 12th, 2020|Categories: BOMPodcast|Tags: , |
2020-12-15T11:45:48-05:00December 2nd, 2020|BOMPodcast|

Gaby Barboza ‘What Our Bodies Teach Us’

November 18, 2020

2020-12-15T11:31:07-05:00December 2nd, 2020|BOMPodcast|

Ali Ali ‘Echoes of Old Systems’

October 23, 2020

2020-12-15T11:30:56-05:00December 2nd, 2020|BOMPodcast|

Bear the Torch

August 4, 2020

Black Owned Maine                                                                                                                                                                                     

PO Box 690

Saco, ME 04072

https://blackownedmaine.com/

blackownedmaine@gmail.com 

 

Black Owned Maine hits Fundraising Milestone with Help from Bowdoin College

Money will combat racism in Maine and strengthen the local Black community

Portland, ME: Today, Black Owned Maine announced its fundraising milestone of $6,200 in one week, thanks to the partnership with Bowdoin College’s Track and Field and Cross Country Team and its Bear the Torch fundraising event, securing funds for future business and personal grants for the local Black community here in Maine.

Claire Traum, Gillian King, Jada Scotland, and Women’s Track and Field Head Coach Lara Jane Que reached out to Black Owned Maine, composed of Jerry Edwards and Bowdoin Alumni, and Rose Barboza. These students and athletes had an idea to launch this fundraiser: Power the Black Owned Maine movement with movement – asking Bowdoin teammates, alumni, coaches, students, faculty, staff, family, and friends to run, bike, walk, or move across the country for Black Owned Maine. People were asked to pledge one cent per mile of movement, resulting in over $6,700 raised between July 26 – August 3, 2020.

 People can still donate to the Bear the Torch fundraiser at the GoFundMe page here: Fundraiser is now closed. If you wish to donate to BOM you may do so through our fiscal sponsorship with Creative Portland.

Black Owned Maine launched its first Black-Owned Business Grant and Black Owned Maine Family Grant in July 2020, and this fundraiser will help provide direct assistance to support and strengthen local Black businesses and local Black families in Maine. “Most importantly, when we support the overlooked Black community in our state, we help combat racism in Maine and we strengthen our overall Maine economy and our Maine community in a powerful way,” says Rose Barboza, founder of Black Owned Maine. “This movement has been a long time coming, and thanks to partners like Bowdoin College, it’s finally getting the traction we need to make a real difference.”

About Black Owned Maine: Black Owned Maine was created to fill a void within the commerce industry of Maine. Before deciding to create this project there was not a single concise source showcasing Black-owned businesses in Maine. National directories simply left our beautiful state out completely. Black Owned Maine has challenged this truth and offered a solution. Please visit https://blackownedmaine.com to check out the Black Owned Directory as well as learn how to get involved, and follow them on Instagram @blackownedmaine, as well as their personal accounts @realgeniusblack and @roseofbom.

About Bowdoin College’s Track and Field and Cross Country Team: Please visit https://athletics.bowdoin.edu/ or follow them on Instagram @bowdoin.xc.tf.

2020-12-15T12:08:52-05:00September 3rd, 2020|Blog|

Mozart Nuñez

July 14th, 2020

2020-12-15T11:31:48-05:00August 12th, 2020|BOMPodcast|

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