To the editor:
I am writing in response to Tom McLaughlin’s column, “City Hall homeless encampment,” published Aug. 5. McLaughlin’s disdain and lack of empathy for the homeless people of Portland, Maine, is evident throughout this piece. However, his overtly racist, poorly constructed attempt to link homeless advocates and organizers with an unrelated incident and perpetrator should never have made it past your desk.
McLaughlin writes, “Protesters included organizers like African refugees Hamdia Ahmed and Abdul Ali. Later, someone named Abdikareem Hasan was arrested for firing several shots into the nearby Portland Police Station parking garage.”
None of the three is mentioned in the column before or after this, and McLaughlin does nothing to explain why he included this disjointed comment. There is no need for explanation, however, as his racism is clear.
It is a grim reality that my hometown paper continues to give space to the racism of Tom McLaughlin. Surely, there is another local columnist whose perspective would not actively harm its readers.