This letter was submitted to the Adhoc DEI Committee's September 9th meeting and read aloud as public comment.
To the Adhoc DEI Committee,
I want to first commend each and every one of you for being courteous to one another, and being able to express your views openly.
I do however, want to express my concern that what was once an agreement on having Suheir Alaskari come and speak, was changed based upon her political affiliation. Given that this committee is for making New Gloucester be upstanding in accepting diversity, equity, and inclusion. To change one’s opinions due to a person’s political affiliation is the opposite of being inclusive.
Prior to the knowledge of her political affiliation her resume alone would have been something that brings trust in the department of DEI. Having Suheir Alaskari to speak is as much of a valuable asset as having Fatuma Hussein, each individual brings valid experience as experts in their field.
I would never think to revoke an invitation to someone based upon their religious background, their political background, or their racial background from speaking on a subject they have expertise in. Does that mean that within this board we must reconsider those who also serve as chairs and treasurers on a political committee?
I would hope that the town of New Gloucester can be accepting of all individuals who reside in this town. Those who stand on different aisles of political spectrums, those of different racial backgrounds, those of varying abilities, and those who have different lifestyles.
This is my first open letter regarding any of the things that have been happening in the past year since I moved here, if only because of the fear to speak or put my name in the public realm of where my opinions lie. I know I am not the only individual who fears to speak in this town about things, and while freedom of speech is allowed I do acknowledge the consequences of that speech. I just find it truly sad that I’m witnessing the breaking of neighbourly bonding, as well as healthy discourse. It used to be that you could speak up and share your opinions without the fear of complete ostracisation. Instead I now live in a realm where it appears if you do not hold the same values as certain individuals that you are deemed a pariah, and as such should not be treated courteously.
I hope moving forward the board can take that into consideration, and know that regardless of differences of opinions, there is no reason to treat anyone with anything less than common decency and respect.
New Gloucester Resident
*This is a guest post by Mikaela Nadeau. The views expressed are those of Mikaela Nadeau, and not endorsed by the New Gloucester GOP. The New Gloucester GOP supports the right of individuals to submit guest blog posts freely, and without censorship. If you are interested in sharing an article, or post please send all submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org