Bates in Brief Lewiston: Many and One turns 10, Bobcats in the community

Many and One, Plus 10

January saw the 10th anniversary of one of the most heartening shows of humane thinking — a joyous pro-diversity rally at Bates that drew thousands.

Photograph by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Photograph by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

The January 2003 event in Merrill Gym grew out of a letter that Lewiston mayor Laurier Raymond sent to Lewiston’s growing Somali community the prior October. Claiming that their presence was depleting municipal resources, Raymond asked Somali elders to discourage friends and relatives from coming to town, predicting that continued immigration would mean “negative results for all.”

Sparking widespread outrage, the letter was welcomed by one tiny constituency: a Wyoming-based white supremacist group who saw it as an invitation to hold a rally in Lewiston for their cause.

A determined group of local citizens would have none of that, though. “This is not who we are, and we have to make sure people know that,” said the late Dean of the College James Carignan ’61.

So under the banner of the Many and One Coalition, organizers mounted a counter-rally that drew 4,000 to Bates — Somali residents, Bates folks, justice activists and top Maine politicians — with John Jenkins ’74, a former mayor of Lewiston and Auburn, serving as master of ceremonies. Drawing national attention, the rally inspired related programming that included church vigils around Maine.

The supremacist rally across town, meanwhile, drew about three dozen participants.

The anniversary was noted this winter with a commemorative event organized by Welcoming Maine, an immigrant-advocacy organization founded by Sarah Davis ’10. — DLH

Photograph by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Photograph by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Close to Home

Jenny Bergeron ’14 of Lewiston can rest assured: She already knows she’ll be heading to medical school.

Bergeron, a biochemistry major, is the first Bates student accepted to the Tufts University School of Medicine’s Early Assurance program, guaranteeing her a spot in the med school’s class of 2018 after she graduates from Bates next year.

Bergeron will join Tufts’ Maine Track program, reserved for Bates, Bowdoin, Colby and UMaine graduates. Bates students do “very well” gaining admission through Maine Track, says Karen Daigler of the Bates Career Development Center, ticking off a number of recent grads now at Tufts.

Established in 2008 as a partnership between Tufts and Maine Medical Center, Maine Track includes clinical rotations in rural Maine. The program seeks to train more doctors to serve rural Maine, where, according to state data, only 39 percent of residents have a primary care physician. — HJB

Lewiston Facts

Bates students make up about 5 percent of Lewiston’s population.

Bates is the third largest employer in Androscoggin County.

When Bates needs to remove building furniture temporarily, a Lewiston moving company stores it.

President Spencer ate at a local brew pub, Gritty McDuff’s, on her first visit to Bates.

Photograph by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Photograph by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Lasting Memories

Museum L-A offers a compelling set of online oral histories that reflect the craftsmanship and expertise of shoemakers from Lewiston-Auburn’s once-thriving shoe industry. Below is some of what the late Bernard Charest had to say about the art of hand-sewing shoes:

If you want to become fast at anything, you have to eliminate all the wasted movement, and that’s how Marcel Grondin taught me how to become a fairly decent, fast hand-sewer. You start knocking down the movement, you start speeding up the time.

Dick McBride taught me how to read the leather, how to feel it, how every piece of leather is different. It’s a living thing, and he taught me how the leather talks to you, tells you what it wants to do, how it’s going to come out well.

You may have part of the [upper] that’s going to stretch more than the other part, so you may have to cut some off this side, or purposely last it a little crooked, because leather has a memory. You have to learn how to listen to what it’s telling you, and you can make pairs of shoes that last forever.

Museum L-A oral histories

Give and Go

Besides their more visible exploits on the field, Bobcat athletes support numerous nonprofit programs in the Lewiston-Auburn area.

Free youth clinics
Women’s track, basketball, alpine skiing, softball, baseball, men’s lax, tennis

Good Shepherd Food-Bank
Men’s lax, football, rowing, field hockey

Tree Street Youth and Hillview housing youth programs
Soccer, baseball, squash

Softball, squash, tennis, men’s basketball teams “adopt” children facing life-threatening illnesses

Trinity Soup Kitchen
Tennis, men’s soccer

Holiday support for families in need
Softball, baseball, men’s lax, squash

Athletic equipment donation
baseball, men’s lax, men’s soccer, alpine skiing, athletic department

Lewiston High School Science Fair
Men’s lax, tennis

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Read-in

Lewiston Adult Learning tutoring and 5K fundraiser
Nordic skiing

Youth swim lessons

Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund
Men’s soccer; $7,000-plus raised for dependents of 9/11

Maine Premier Soccer Inner-City Initiative
Men’s soccer

Youth camp scholarships

Dempsey Challenge
Field hockey, women’s lax, athletic department

Rebuilding Together L/A
Athletic department

Bates Field Day
All 31 teams; nearly 300 children participated last year