Modal close

Dear Democracy Now! visitor,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power. Democracy Now! brings you crucial reporting like our coverage from the front lines of the standoff at Standing Rock or news about the movements fighting for peace, racial and economic justice, immigrant rights and LGBTQ equality. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation—all without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How is this possible? Only with your support. If every visitor to this site in December gave just $10 we could cover our basic operating costs for 2017. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in 2017.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.

Topics

4,500 People Rally in Support the Somali Community of Lewiston, Maine Against Neo-Nazi Rally

StoryJanuary 13, 2003
Watch iconWatch Full Show

Some 4,500 people gathered in Lewiston, Maine on Saturday to rally in support of the Somali community. Three miles away, the white supremacist group World Church of the Creator held a rally of their own. David Stearns told the crowd: "These people (Africans) are the enemy. Make no mistake. If they get the chance, they will probably slit your throat."

The city of Lewiston, Maine has a population of just 35,000. In the last two years, over a thousand Somali refugees have settled there, looking for low-cost housing, safe streets, and a family-friendly environment.

The anti-immigrant rhetoric heated up in October, when Lewiston Mayor Laurier Raymond wrote a letter to the local newspaper asking that no more Somalis move to Lewiston. He said Lewiston is as unable to afford services for them.

World Church of the Creator leader Matt Hale used the perception of a besieged white majority to promote Saturday’s hate rally. (The mayor was conspicuously absent for the weekend, on a golfing vacation in Florida.)

Matt Hale himself could not be at the rally. He was arrested in Chicago last week for allegedly plotting to murder a federal judge.

Tape:

  • Lewiston high school students Cara Gaumont and Sifia Nur, talking about their inter-racial friendship at the anti-racism rally at Bates College on Saturday.

Guests:

  • Stephen Wessler, Director of the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence at the University of Southern Maine. The center conducts workshops on preventing hate violence. Wessler directed the civil rights enforcement effort at the Maine Department of the Attorney General from 1992 to 1999.
  • Omar Jamal, executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, the home of the largest Somali community in the US. Jamal is leading a National Tour Against Hate, which has brought him to Somali communities in Seattle and now Lewiston, Maine.

Related link:


The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.

Make a donation