What are we building?
JustME for JustUS (JMJU) is a youth-led organization advancing accessible climate justice and civic engagement opportunities for youth in rural Maine. We shift power, resources, and funding to northern and rural parts of the state to ensure that rural young folks have the same access that is centered around southern Maine and larger towns. Our paid Rural Youth Organizers are the decision-makers in our work. We provide them, and anyone who gets involved with JMJU, with training, resources, and compensation so they are empowered to become climate justice leaders and a political force.
At JMJU, we envision a new model of Maine youth climate justice organizing that:
Prioritizes youth in rural Maine communities.
Provides trainings and support by and for youth that come out of their specific needs, community, and experience.
Pays youth for their work.
Is rooted in justice and equity.
Focuses on environmental and climate justice and civic engagement.
Builds sustainability beyond the 4-year student turnover cycle.
Increases representation and equity in civic and environmental work in Maine.
The JMJU Approach
JMJU intentionally designed our work to address the specific experiences, needs, and opportunities of rural Maine. We focus on supporting and lifting up rural youth, ages 15-30, to focus on community climate justice organizing and civic engagement. Because of the context and experiences of these communities, our approach needs to be thoughtful.
JMJU is the first organization to create such a network in Maine. With our intentional focus, we do not enter a community with an agenda to hand down. We provide the resources needed to support existing work. We have a firm commitment to paying youth for their work–from hiring to providing stipends for time spent organizing. Transportation is often a barrier, so we reimburse for expensive transportation costs.
We use a relational trust-based organizing model to establish long-term relationships with communities and local organizations. JMJU builds these grassroots relationships outside of the election season, supporting local work and existing projects. These issue-based relationships can then be activated when we pivot to vote work. We are more successful working with youth who already have trust and relationships in their community.
Rural organizing is a long-term effort. Today’s youth will define the next generation of climate justice and politics. It is vital that all young folks have the tools and resources to engage civically and hold the system accountable. Our work is critically important for Maine’s future.
We are coming together to create the world we want to live in.
Who are we?
JustME for JustUS (JMJU) works in rural Maine, specifically areas now called Washington, Hancock, Penobscot, Franklin, and Kennebec counties. These areas occupy ancestral Wabanaki Confederacy lands, and include three of five Wabanaki communities in Maine: the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township, the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik, and the Penobscot Indian Nation. Our land ethic and approach to climate justice is informed by Indigenous ways of knowing and being. We advocate for Wabanaki sovereignty and justice, work to decolonize our internal and organizational practices, and remain eager to learn and grow in thoughtful community.
JMJU is fiscally sponsored by the Maine Environmental Education Association (MEEA), 501(c)3.
The Maine Environmental Education Association builds environmental awareness, accountability, and action by centering equity and advancing systemic change. MEEA envisions a Maine where interconnectedness with the natural world is the root of environmental and social responsibility of all individuals, institutions, and communities.