Formation of the Maine Multicultural Center (MMCC) was set in motion by then Bangor Mayor, Sean Faircloth, in the late summer of 2016 in response to a growing concern about the Bangor area’s shrinking workforce and a recognition of the need for greater diversity in our population. With the help of leaders from many cultural and ethnic groups in the greater Bangor area, as well as local business, community, faith-based, and municipal leaders, a loose coalition was formed with the goal of providing professional welcoming services to new Mainers and increasing awareness and appreciation of the benefits of expanding cultural and ethnic diversity in the area. The organization was originally housed at the University of Maine at Augusta’s Bangor Campus, and Eastern Maine Development Corporation served as its fiscal agent. MMCC and its mission were endorsed by the Bangor City Council, and the organization was governed by a volunteer Steering Committee. The group incorporated in June 2017 at which time governance of the organization shifted to a volunteer Board of Directors. MMCC obtain official non-profit status in November of 2016. The organization is currently housed at Eastern Maine Development Corporation on Harlow St. in Bangor, Maine.
The new non-profit was up and running in short order. Under the guidance of Catholic Charities’ Refugee and Immigrant Services, and with the help of interns from the University of Maine at Augusta, we initiated an asset mapping project, began hosting workshops on cultural humility. Following the 2016 national elections immigration resettlement throughout the country slowed to a trickle and the attendant increase in opposition to immigrants made MMCC’s work in fostering awareness and appreciation of immigrant populations that already existed in our community even more important. We have developed a number of programs in response to this need and continue to advocate for immigrant rights and services at the local, state, and national level. With the recent influx of asylum seekers to Maine, we have also returned to the other half of our original mission to provide professional welcoming services to new Mainers.