Got an old Hoover kicking around? Coffee maker? Digital camera? TV/VCR/DVD?
What about that dust-collecting dry erase board sitting in your basement? And, if your plants have been acting up, Equality Maine, the go-to group for the GLBT community in the state, might take them, too. Why? Because they finally have the room to store, clean, and water such things.
That’s what happens when you win a referendum (and are likely to face another) — you outgrow the teeny office that was once your home. And, for anyone who has ever met, planned, plotted, or prayed at the Equality Maine closet in the Cinamon building on Pleasant Street, you know it’s amazing that the group has been able to accomplish anything in such small quarters.
This week, as the group attempts to figure out their new phone system, they’re moving to bigger digs downstairs — and no one is happier than EQMaine’s executive director, Betsy Smith.
“It’s really just bricks and mortar, but it’s very significant. We have grown and we need more space to hold all the people that we have now,” says Smith, adding that the group that was all-volunteer for 17 years has, in recent history, developed to three full-time staff members and one part-time staff member with more expansion on the horizon.
“We’ve just been bursting at the seams, so, to do the things that we need to do, we just needed more space. It’s very exciting because now we can do the phone banking and the canvassing and the meeting whenever we need to, without sharing space.”
That said, EQMaine is staying in the same building. No more sharing meeting space with the Peace and Justice Center. And no more tripping over one another, which is good, because EQMaine has a full plate.
We all know marriage is on the horizon for gays and lesbians not only in Maine, but all over the country, but Smith says that the added space, and the generous contribution of things like plants and vacuums, will also certainly benefit short-term priorities.
“Currently, there are a number of legislative campaigns that we’re involved with,” says Smith. “But, I’d say that, overall, we’re focused on educating the community about full equality for gay and lesbian families.”