In light of recent remarks and media coverage attempting to link the Somali community in the US to events overseas, Somalis in Maine, edited by Kim Huisman, et. al. is timely. It was recommended by several people in the refugee social services community in Maine during research for the next issue of Higher’s Newsletter coming out later this year. I’m still waiting for my copy in the mail, so haven’t read it, yet.
In just a brief visit, it was impossible to miss the community ties Somalis continue to deepen in their new home in Portland and Lewiston.
- I watched soccer over tea and pastry in a Somali-owned shop in downtown Lewiston established with a small business loan and technical assistance from the StartSmart refugee program of Coastal Enterprise Institute.
- I bought fresh, organic produce at a farm stand that is a part of training and income generation for Somali farmers in the New American Sustainable Agriculture Project at Cultivating Communities.
It’s especially important now to share balanced information about the contributions Somali and all refugees make in the US. You can read a bit about the Somali community perspective on recent events in this article from the New York Times. It would be great to hear from anyone who has read this book already.
(Every Friday we highlight one entertainment option related to our clients or some aspect of our work to help you celebrate the weekend and possibly recommend to employers and other community supporters in the following week.)