The Azerbaijani Society of Maine
The Azerbaijani Society of Maine, a nonprofit, is led by Tarlan Ahmadov and a board of five people. Members of the board come from many faiths, including Muslim, Bah’ai, and Jewish. The community promotes and celebrates Azerbaijan culture and heritage, but serves all people from the former Soviet Union, who are connected by culture and identity. The society makes a point of inclusivity. Most community members moved to Maine in the mid 1990s and early 2000s.
During the height of the pandemic, the society delivered masks, sanitizer, thermometers, and food to those in need, including some who were too frightened to go out and shop for groceries. They also encouraged people to get vaccinated, and worked to fight the huge anti-vaccine propaganda campaign targeting immigrants. They also held Zoom meetings to help break through isolation, including mindfulness training with a culturally aware, licensed social worker to help people cope with stress. The society held a New Year’s Eve party (masks required) on December 30, complete with Santa Claus, music, and dance; commemorated the Khojaly Massacre; held a concert at the Aura event space in Portland; and celebrated Novruz, the Persian New Year and the coming of spring. In April, the society will buy fresh lamb from a farm, skin and butcher it, and deliver it to homes in observance of Ramadan.
Plans include bringing people back together after the long period of isolation. Concerts and readings by poets and writers are in the offing. A goal of these cultural events is to bring youth and older people together to learn about world culture.
Contact: [email protected].