LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A Somali advocacy group is asking Mayor Robert Macdonald to step down, after some controversial remarks he has made recently.
The African Diaspora Institute of Maine held a news conference Monday in front of Lewiston City Hall to respond to Mayor Macdonald's comments to the BBC that immigrants should leave their culture at the door.
The group was joined by Lewiston High School students, who say they support the city's Somali population.
"A lot of people, they grow up kind of sheltered to be honest, and when they go out into the world they're not sure how to handle it" Lewiston High School student Nicholas Burpee said. "A lot of people fear it and that's where we are today with a lot of these situations like with the mayor."
The group says Somalis have successfully integrated into life in Maine over the past two decades,and the mayor's comments were unacceptable.
"We want to put the message out there that one bad apple or a couple bad apples or other people that don't like us can't make a difference, because we are Mainers who grew up here," the organization's director, Mohammed Dini said. "All work, appreciate, contribute to the economy. You can walk around the city and see how the city's in life, partly because of the greatness of Somali-Americans who make the city great."
Mayor Macdonald did not respond to a request for comment.