Archive: Live show reflecting on Lewiston since 2002

LEWISTON — Mayor Larry Raymond's comments and letter in October 2002 kicked off a firestorm of controversy, putting Lewiston and its influx of new immigrants on newspapers and TV screens around the world.

Ten years later and comments by Mayor Robert Macdonald have ignited a similar, but smaller, controversy.

Join Lewiston Deputy City Administrator Phil Nadeau and Lisbon Street store owner Hussein Ahmed for a live video discussion about Lewiston then — the days and weeks after Raymond's controversial letter — and today.

How has the community changed, are the changes for the better and what will happen — or needs to happen — next?

The live video chat is scheduled for noon Monday, Oct. 8. It will be shown live on, with a live chat via Log on to discuss the topic and ask questions.

Larry Raymond's letter and Lewiston's reaction

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 's picture

I can't wait to read the "20

I can't wait to read the "20 Years Later" article. If you can't tell I am being sarcastic, this would have never been brought up if it wasn't by the stupid remark by MacDonald. Every major newspaper in Maine (Bangor Daily News, Portland Press Herald and yes, Lewiston Sun Journal) are milking the hell out of this story. What they don't understand is by continuing bringing this up, it in fact makes the problem worse more then making it better. There is a difference between talking about an issue to resolve that issue and talking about it so much that it reignites the issue, which is exactly what is occurring.

Donald Dostie's picture


In my opinion former Mayor Raymond's "letter" did not deserve such a negative reaction from the Somali community, nor from the national press. I'm curious about our current Mayor's intentions. From the Council meeting excerpts he has worked with our Somali fellow residents, "breaking bread" with them, yet his rambling written and spoken words confuse me as to what his real intentions were. Even though he tried in his own way to explain what they were, I still have no idea what they were.

I felt bad for former Mayor Raymond and supported the letter he wrote as a genuine reaching out on an issue of great importance to our City. It was "his way" to communicate, though many "assumed" his intentions were not good. Why he didn't meet with the Somali community before writing the letter? Who knows and so what, his bad. Did he or the City deserve the circus that followed? No. I'm convinced of that after reading the Sun Journal articles again.

Given our history of events over the past 10 years and given the hard work of many in the Somali community to make a better life for themselves here in Lewiston, becoming citizens and becoming actively involved in the community, they did not deserve the current Mayor's comments, neither did the rest of Lewiston. Are there some who take advantage of our generosity? Sure, no more than the rest of us. Will it take more time to grow into our community after leaving their homeland? Of course, as it did with other immigrants that moved here. He needed to admit his mistake and apologize Tuesday night. It is one thing to communicate with people directly, another to make it a public spectacle. Blame the press? That's a cop out. I hope the Somali community and he work together to resolve the issues and show everyone else that forgiveness and tolerance are not qualities that have been forgotten in Lewiston. Perhaps the press will then have something positive to report on.


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