Photos by Mark Mattos

Maine Immigrants Rights Coalition’s first Immigration Forum was celebratory, with food from immigrant-owned food vendors, dance and drumming, and a keynote by Bayo Akomolafe, a Yoruba poet, public intellectual, author, and speaker. Emcee Jerry Edwards, a.k.a. Genius Black, opened the festivities: “It’s a new day. We are watching the face of Maine change, making space for our brothers and sisters from all over the world.”

MIRC runs a culturally appropriate food program for asylum seekers, and service awards were presented to the women who prepare the food
The Amjambo Africa leadership team had a good time
Angkor Dance Troupe
Bina Nanga Mabina Mboka Dance Troupe
Delicious main courses were on offer by EmpanadaclubME, Greeks of Peaks, Oga Suya, and Taj Restaurant
Fatima Saidi, Bayo Akomolafe, Mufalo Chitam

Without anyone having to proclaim it, the Forum displayed the full breadth of MIRC’s work and the purpose that MIRC serves. The rich diversity of the gathering, the excellence and energy of the performances, the excited buzz in the room from start to finish, the radical and visionary shift in perspective Bayo offered in his talk, all evoked a spirit of the future, and of hope.”

– Charles “Val” Carnegie, MIRC Board Chair