The Big Question

How should life be?

Back to Maine at 200

October 19, 2019 | Portland

At The Big Question, we jump started our year of inquiry, curiosity, and engagement with Maine’s bicentennial. 

We view Maine’s bicentennial year, just a few months away, as an invitation to take stock, to look back with new eyes at what’s already happened, to look around with renewed care at what’s happening now, and to grapple with big questions.

To start with, we listened to communities around the state and chose four interrelated themes for our engagement with the bicentennial: Many Maines, Migration & Borders, Race & Ethnicity, Wabanaki Voices. Throughout the coming year, we aim to be a resource for a wide range of rich discussions in partnership with people and organizations all over Maine.


  • Virgine Akimana, Instructor, Portland Adult Education and Community Interpreter, Catholic Charities Maine
  • Libby Bischof, Professor of History and Executive Director of Osher Map Library, University of Southern Maine
  • Maurice Habimfura, Founder of the Imihamirizo Project and Representative of Ikirenga cy’Intore
  • Michael Kebede, Policy Counsel, ACLU of Maine
  • Lisa Margonelli, Author of Underbug: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology
  • Darren Ranco, Professor of Anthropology and Coordinator of Native American Research, University of Maine


This year we had have a fabulous group of community co-sponsors — folks who helped us spread the word, and who brought a group to join in the discussion.

Amjambo Africa! Maine Family Planning
For Us, By Us Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition
Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance
Homeless Voices for Justice Portland Adult Education
In Her Presence Portland Overdose Prevention Society
Ladder to the Moon Network Portland Recovery Community Center
The Telling Room