I would like to thank the Lewiston City Council for voting with compassion on June 30 and retaining General Assistance for legal asylum seekers currently surviving on GA until they are able to work legally in their new country.

I am deeply saddened that the council was unable to embrace all who need help due to lack of both state and federal support of asylum seekers. I understand and am troubled by the difficult position localities are placed in when hard-hearted authorities are vindictively unsupportive of a locality’s neighborliness to the least among them.

Examples of people who sought asylum in the USA include: Albert Einstein, Nobel winning scientist from Germany, during the Holocaust; Claude Levi Strauss, an early anthropologist whose work is still respected today, from France, also during the Holocaust; Miriam Makeba, a South African singer fleeing Apartheid during the 1960s. She testified at the United Nations in 1963.

And, as New Englanders we can’t forget Luis Tiant, beloved Red Sox pitcher who fled Cuba for asylum in the United States.

Jane E. Pentheny, Poland

Editor’s note: The writer is co-chairwoman for social justice at the First Universalist Church, Unitarian Universalist, in Auburn.

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