Letter to the editor: Jamestown should be more welcoming to newcomersI was born and raised in Jamestown and although I no longer reside there, I continue to read the paper daily. I am responding to the article “Police respond after job search leads to heated argument” in the weekend edition of The Jamestown Sun. I was disheartened by the argument that ensued at Bethel 4 Acres regarding the employees there and a potential job seeker.
By: Lizzy Deutscher, The Jamestown Sun
I was born and raised in Jamestown and although I no longer reside there, I continue to read the paper daily. I am responding to the article “Police respond after job search leads to heated argument” in the weekend edition of The Jamestown Sun. I was disheartened by the argument that ensued at Bethel 4 Acres regarding the employees there and a potential job seeker.
I first want to make it clear I wasn’t there and don’t know the exact details of the argument, however, I highly doubt anyone looking for a job would become argumentative and begin cussing unless strongly provoked. Delores Bagan, who is listed in the article as the administrator of Bethel 4 Acres, made a remark: “Dressed in that flowing garb they couldn’t fill a position scrubbing floors and toilets,” she said. How does Bagan know this? Did she ask them before the police were called?
So, if I went to fill out a job application and wore, in her opinion, the wrong clothes, I wouldn’t be eligible for the job? I find her comments both uninformed and offensive as I personally have Somali friends who are kindhearted and hard-working individuals. What also upsets me is that this is the behavior of the administrator. Her behavior demonstrates to her employees a negative attitude toward immigrants is accepted in their workplace.
Additionally, I find it interesting that Jackie Hyra called Bethel 4 Acres and was told, without hesitation, there was a job opening shortly after the Somali woman was told the job was filled. Bagan used the excuse that the particular person who answered the phone was not informed of the position being filled. I would think that after this confrontation and police being called that most of the employees, if not all, would have been well aware that the position was closed.
If the Somali resident cussed, I am not condoning that behavior, however, personally if I would have been pushed to the limit or discriminated against I imagine I would react the same way, angry, as any other residents trying to make a living for themselves would. This not only sheds a negative light on Bethel 4 Acres and its administration, but on Jamestown as a community.
While I know Jamestown is a warm community, I would hope the local Somali residents will not let this negative incident cast a cloud of unwelcomeness over Jamestown or to other possible immigrants. In my experience of having friends from all different locations around the world and of all different ethnicities, having an open mind and a welcoming heart will go a lot further than putting up a wall to them.
Little Falls, Minn.