Somalis not welcome in Lewiston, Maine

Local mayor: "Leave your culture at the door"

Latitude News staff By Latitude News staff

Somali immigrant women in Louisville, Kentucky. (Reuters)

In today’s interconnected world, news doesn’t stop at the border. Every week, Latitude News brings you three stories from the local press that drive that point home.

  • In Lewiston, Maine, Mayor Robert Macdonald told a BBC reporter that Somali immigrants should “leave [their] culture at the door.” Now the Somali community is rallying for him to resign, reports the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal. “The Somali community appreciates the chance offered to us to live in the city,” said one 26-year old Somali-American woman at a rally in front of city hall. “Mr. Mayor, we are an example of the American Dream.” Macdonald has so far refused to apologize, saying his words were taken out of context. Thousands of Somalis have immigrated to Maine in the last decade, according to the Sun Journal, fleeing poverty and an Islamist uprising in their homeland.
  • Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have guaranteed overtime pay, breaks and other perks — or are they rights? — to domestic workers in California, many of whom are Filipino immigrants. Brown said the “Domestic Workers Bill of Rights” would make care too expensive for the elderly and disabled, and would cost the state $200 million. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill in 2006, writes the Asian Journal. Brown’s decision angered many Filipino-Americans. In a statement, the The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns claimed: “Governor Brown’s actions are a clear sign that the civil rights and labor rights of workers and immigrants are a low priority for US politicians and leaders. We demand [he] listen to the cries of countless domestic workers and immigrant families and oppose anti-immigrant policies and unequal labor protection.”
  • Never try to outrun an Ethiopian — you’ll lose. Tsegaye Kebede, Feyisa Lelesa and Tilahun Regassa finished first, second and third at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, clinching an impressive sweep for the African nation. Kebede broke the course record, set last year by Kenyan Moses Mosop, by 59 seconds, reports the Chicago Tribune; he finished in two hours, four minutes and 38 seconds. It was the first time an Ethiopian man came in first at the Chicago Marathon. Atsede Baysa — yes, she’s from Ethiopia too — won the women’s race. “[Kebede] is a consistent, amazing marathoner,” said Dathan Ritzenhein, who came in ninth, the best finish for an American man.