Coordinator, Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition
Wendy Allen is a 45 year woman who battled Substance Use Disorder and is in long term recovery. She is formerly incarcerated, and is living proof that recovery is possible. She currently holds many hats in the community. She is a grant writer and coordinator with Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, the Young Adult Diversion Program lead for Restorative Justice Institute of Maine, a Recovery and Re-entry Coach, as well as a Peer Support Specialist for Penobscot Family Recovery Court with Maine Prisoner Re-entry Network. She recovers loud for those suffering in silence. She is a wife, mother and grandmother that enjoys music, crafting and spending time with her family.
Wendy is also a Facilitator for Maine Humanities Discussion Projects and winner of the 2022 Maine Humanities Facilitator Prize.
Founder and Director, Franco-American Women’s Institute
Rhea Côté Robbins was brought up bilingually in a Franco-American neighborhood in Waterville known as the South End. Côté Robbins is the author of creative nonfiction, memoirs titled, ‘down the Plains,’ and Wednesday’s Child, winner of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance Chapbook Award.
She is editor of Canuck and Other Stories, an anthology of translations of early 20th century Franco-American women writers who wrote about their immigration experience. Her poems and essays have appeared in many publications. She is the founder and director of the Franco-American Women’s Institute, FAWI.
President, Khmer Maine
Marpheen Chann is an author, thinker, advocate, and speaker on social justice, equity, and inclusion.
As a gay, first-generation Asian American born in California to a Cambodian refugee family and later adopted by an evangelical, white working-class family in Maine, Marpheen uses a mix of humor and storytelling to help people view topics such as diveristy, equity, inclusion, belonging, and justice through an intersectional and empathetic lens.
Marpheen Chann lives in Portland, Maine. He works in the nonprofit and advocacy sector and holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Southern Maine and a law degree from the University of Maine School of Law.
Associate Professor of Africana Studies
Judith Casselberry is Associate Professor of Africana Studies at Bowdoin College. Her teaching and research focuses on Black American religious and cultural studies, social movements, and Black intellectual thought with particular attention to gender and liberation.
She is author of The Labor of Faith: Gender and Power in Black Apostolic Pentecostalism (Duke University Press, 2017) and co-editor of Spirit on the Move: Black Women and Pentecostalism in Africa and the Diaspora (Religious Cultures of African and African Diaspora People series with Duke University Press, 2019.
Poet, Writer, Archivist
Jefferson Navicky is the archivist for the Maine Women Writers Collection. He is the author of four books, most recently Head of Island Beautification for the Rural Outlands (2023) as well as Antique Densities: Modern Parables & Other Experiments on Short Prose (2021), which won the 2022 Maine Literary Award for Poetry.
Cultural Historian, Penobscot Nation
Carol Dana works to preserve, share, and teach Penobscot language and storytelling.
She was born in Bangor in 1952 and attended school on Indian Island until the fifth grade. She later attended college in Machias, got married in 1971, and had her first child in 1972 before moving to New York and working on Akwesasne Notes.
Dana returned to Maine to raise a family on Indian Island and started working on the Penobscot Dictionary in 1982. She currently works in the Cultural Historical Preservation Department for the Penobscot Nation. Available for speaking December - March