In this piece for Forbes, journalist Cynthia Anderson takes a look at her hometown, Lewiston, Maine, and how the recent arrival of Somali Muslims have impacted the former mill town – for the better.
“Before the first Somali Muslims arrived in 2001,” Ms. Anderson writes, “Lewiston was just one more post-industrial city in slow fade.” But now, 20% of children in public school are Muslim, and many adults are successfully working in healthcare, retail and financial services, re-directing the city for the future. “This city of 36,000 needs the energy and the perspectives of these more than 4,000 mostly young people. If they leave, the void will be deep,” concludes the journalist.
According to Ms. Anderson, the town– like many across America – is divided over the results of the election, but the writer is struck by the local Muslim community who displays a “marked lack of bitterness” and rather, a sense of “agency.” “It is our responsibility to fix the divide caused by our political leader,” say Negeye, a local Muslim community leader. “We need to come together and unify as one people.”