Community Organizing Alliance (COA) is a social justice, civic engagement organization that centers the voices and experiences of BIPOC and low-income Mainers to ensure they are empowered and engaged in their communities. As we approach our one-year anniversary, programs are up and running. 

  The Listening, Education, and Organizing program (LEO) is COA’s flagship program. LEO offers workshops, training, community focus groups, and community needs assessments geared to BIPOC people. LEO provides a space for critical discussions about diversity, equity, and inclusion, specifically how to address systemic barriers and develop strategies for relationship building and effecting change. Each LEO cohort centers the priorities of participants, and helps members feel safe, heard, and comfortable in a space that is healing and liberating. LEO was offered in January, March, and April 2023 through the help of local sponsors, and will be offered at least every other month. 

  The Community Advocacy Project (CAP) is a community advocacy group that supports policies to benefit historically underserved and underrepresented communities of color. CAP members recently traveled to Augusta to learn about civic engagement. On May 17, we will return to Augusta for a program with Maine Equal Justice to speak with local leaders, tour the First Amendment Museum, and learn about the branches of power. 

  After hearing and seeing the ongoing challenges faced by our community in relation to financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and workforce development, we launched the Financial Literacy, Entrepreneurship, and Workforce Development program (FEW) in November. The goal of FEW is to empower community members to improve their local economies by providing access to tools and resources. The program recently held its first financial literacy workshop and plans to offer a monthly workshop, including focused workshops about writing resumes and cover letters, and practicing for job interviews. Additionally, FEW offers assistance and resources for those interested in entrepreneurship. 

  Together with youth in the Lewiston-Auburn and greater Portland areas, COA helped organize the Ramadan Soccer Tournament, already a community tradition for more than a decade. The tournament provides a way for individuals to come together and enjoy the beautiful game of soccer during the holy month of Ramadan, which is a time for reflection, spirituality, and community bonding.  People from diverse backgrounds participate. 

  On June 19, we will host our first annual Juneteenth Celebration and learning workshop. As we head into the summer we are looking for paid interns. For information, please contact [email protected], (207)701-7519.