Strangers and Neighbors
The city of Lewiston, Maine, has struggled since its mills began closing in the 1950s. In the new millennium Lewiston acquired a new identity as 'Maine's Mogadishu'. Beginning in 2001, substantial Somali immigrant settlement gave Lewiston the largest per capita Somali population in the United States and sparked controversies and collaborations that redefined the city. In Strangers and Neighbors, Andrea M. Voyer shares five years of observations in the city of Lewiston. She shows how long-time city residents and immigrant newcomers worked to develop an understanding of the inclusive and caring community in which they could all take part. Yet the sense of community developed in Lewiston was built on the appreciation of diversity in the abstract rather than by fostering close and caring relationships across the boundaries of class, race, culture, and religion. Through her sensitive depictions of the experiences of Somalis, Lewiston city leadership, anti-racism activists, and even racists, Voyer reveals both the promise of and the obstacles to achieving community in the face of diversity.