UMPI slates Diversity Dialogue on racism

5 years ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Inclusion and Civility Task Force, in conjunction with Aroostook Acts Against Hate, will present Shay Stewart-Bouley, the author of the blog Black Girl in Maine and Executive Director of Community Change Inc., as the guest speaker for its Diversity Dialogue presentation on Tuesday, March 26 at 12:30 p.m. in the Campus Center. This event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.

During her talk, titled Authentic Dialogues: Talking About Racism and How to Take a Stand Against Hate, Stewart-Bouley will lead an interactive session designed to look critically at racism in our communities and our nation by examining the roots of white supremacy and how the past impacts our present.

A key goal of this presentation will be teaching, sharing, and learning practical tools for working in our own communities to combat racism and to start conversations on addressing racism and difference in predominantly white spaces. This session is a mixture of lecture and small-group work, which will allow participants to deepen their knowledge of racism in the current landscape of America, examine their own biases, and learn techniques for starting conversations on racism and how to be an effective ally.

Born and raised on a combination of big city attitude and Midwestern sensibility as a Chicago native, Stewart-Bouley, also known as Black Girl in Maine (or BGIM), had to learn a bit of Yankee ingenuity when she relocated to Maine in 2002. After a brief foray into education, Stewart-Bouley bridged her socially-minded work from Chicago, where she worked with the homeless, to Maine by working with low-income and at-risk youth in southern Maine. Community Change Inc., where she works now, is a 50-year-old anti-racism organization based in Boston that organizes and educates for racial equity with a specific focus on working with white people.

Stewart-Bouley has been blogging since 2008, frequently on matters of social justice and systemic racism, through her Black Girl In Maine website. In 2011, she won a New England Press Association Award for her writing on race and diversity for the Portland Phoenix. Her writing also has been featured in a variety of Maine and national publications as well as several anthologies. In November 2016, Stewart-Bouley gave a TEDx talk titled Inequity, Injustice… Infection. She is a graduate of both DePaul University and Antioch University New England and, even though she works in Boston now, she is indeed still BGIM, continuing to reside in Maine.

UMPI’s Inclusion and Civility Task Force was established in Fall 2016 to focus on efforts connected with diversity, understanding, campus safety, and civil discourse. Since its creation, the Task Force has worked to host campus conversations on topics that impact the student body and campus as a whole. The Task Force is pleased to be able to open up this Diversity Dialogue presentation to the local community to support a broader conversation about these issues. To encourage open dialogue, sound and video recordings are not permitted during these events.

For more information about Stewart-Bouley, visit her website For more information about this Diversity Dialogue, contact Gayla Shaw at 207-768-9452 or email To learn more about the work of UMPI’s Inclusion and Civility Task Force is doing on campus, visit

Submitted by the Community and Media Relations Office of the University of Maine at Presque Isle.