The Northeast

Fronteras | Borders


A Letter to the Somali Community • October 1, 2002

Somali Protest in Lewiston

July 17, 2015 —
"I am well aware of the legal right of a U.S. resident to move anywhere he/she pleases, but it is time for the Somali community to exercise this discipline in view of the effort that has been made on its behalf…"

In October 2005 Laurier T. Raymond, Jr., Mayor, City of Lewiston, Maine wrote an open letter to the Somali community in Lewiston that quickly made the rounds among immigrant advocates around the country.

The Somali community in Maine fought back by organizing a peaceful protest in front of City Hall.

A group of us at a meeting of the RI Immigrants Rights Coalition spoke about this incident briefly and someone suggested we make an effort to reach out to the local Somali community in Rhode Island as a sign of solidarity.

This incident always stayed with me because It reminded me of when I moved to New England from Texas. Not because I felt overt discrimination , but because I always wondered how people from a hot desert country could survive the frigid weather in New England. When I was planning out this stretch of my Fellowship travels, Lewiston was at the top of my list. I wanted to talk to the Somali community to better understand their border stories.

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