The Letter: An American Town and the "Somali Invasion"
In October 2002, former Mayor of Lewiston Laurier T. Raymond wrote an open letter addressed to leaders of the Somali immigrant community, predicting a negative impact on the city's social services and requesting that they discourage further relocation to the town. The letter angered some persons and prompted various community leaders and residents to speak out against the mayor, drawing national attention. Demonstrations were held in Lewiston, both by those who supported the immigrants' presence and those who opposed it. In January 2003, a small white supremacist group demonstrated in the city in support of the mayor, prompting a simultaneous counter-demonstration of about 4,000 people at Bates College and the organization of the "Many and One Coalition".