Recently, I heard from many members of the Lewiston community about the name change for the Franco American Heritage Center.

This change of name did not take into consideration the voice of the community, and it apparently was not a full board decision, either. That was a big mistake, as this building is emblematic for the Lewiston community.

I think that what created such an uproar was to not involve the community. Of course, the people of Lewiston care. How could they not care about such a building belonging to the Franco community, which is a huge part of the Lewiston heritage.

The Francos have been much too long unheard, unseen, mocked and erased. Many of my Franco friends have told me their sad stories of not being able to speak French when they grew up, or worse, being ashamed to be of French origin. At the Franco Center, they felt at home, respected and heard.

Suddenly, this center is named “Riverfront,” a banal name that does not even represent its geographic situation. A strange choice.


As president of the Alliance Française du Maine, my heart goes out to all the French-speaking people of Maine, especially the Francos, direct descendants of the early French settlers who moved to Canada from France.

This center shines brightly in the Lewiston sky as the Franco-American Center, and it should proudly keep its name to reflect its history.

Régine Whittlesey, Brunswick

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