Make ‘Eden’ a sanctuary

To the Editor:

We live amongst migrants. Eiders and mackerel come and go from our coves. Hawks pass over our mountains. Whales feed in our waters. And people come, as they have for millennia.

The People of the Red Paint lived, hunted, fished and died here. The People of the Dawn developed legends, culture and skills that live on here. Basque fishermen came searching for cod.

Portuguese explorers flying Spanish flags mapped our coastline. The French, then English laid claim to this land that was not theirs. They fought and drew lines. English Tories and American Revolutionaries cleared this land and were sustained by its bays. Seeds and stock from Europe spread alongside spruce and moose. Italians and Swedes came to cut stone and wood. Scots and Irish came to farm and fish. French Canadians added hands to mills and lumber camps. Our young men left to fight in wars and to sail around Cape Horn. Those who came back brought ideas and visions of a bigger world.

Back-to-the-landers, summer folk and tourists come to us each year – some stay on and winter over. We are supported by a seasonal workforce from across the U.S. and around the world. These people come to cook, serve, clean, rake, tip, fish and guide here. Some return to Portland, western ski towns and national parks, to universities in Eastern Europe or to family in the Caribbean. Others stay here with us and make our lives richer with their diversity.

I am asking my neighbors in Bar Harbor to stand at town meeting and honor this richness and say that we will not support federal orders that make us use our local police men and women as weapons of intolerance and fear. The immigration status, religion, language and color of a person pose no threat to our community.

We need to come together and say “no” to any federal dollars that force us to narrow the horizons of our homes and give up our right to control the priorities and objectives of our hardworking local law enforcement officers. We need to become sanctuary cites, towns and villages. If the leader of our executive branch will not lead with thoughtfulness and compassion, then we, the citizens of Maine, must do so.

Join me and call your town councilors or selectmen. Ask them to help make our communities sanctuaries.

Brett Ciccotelli

Bar Harbor

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