Imagine that the United States is a war-torn country with violence and constant unrest. You hope and pray that a better opportunity comes along and that your family will find peace some time.
You hear stories of a country around the world where opportunity is abundant — freedom to speak, choose your own career path, walk down the streets without fear, and even become a citizen and vote. You think, what a wonderful place that must be.
Then it happens and you get to bring your family to this treasured land.
When you arrive you find the people aren't as welcoming as you hoped for. Why don't you speak our language? You are a different color and your customs are not used here. You hear "They moved here, why don't they learn to live like us?" You have trouble finding work and ask the town you are in for help. This causes local citizens (many struggling on their own) to think even less of you.
I have talked with a number of French Canadians who experienced some of this when their families came here years ago. The stores and restaurants had signs in the windows saying "French spoken here" because there was a need for it.
I'm sure people will say there were a lot of differences then, but the basic principles are still the same: "We are our brother's keeper."
Let's keep hatred and fear out of Lewiston-Auburn, and learn to embrace, not just tolerate, our neighbors.
Stephen Morgan, Lewiston