law enforcement | Not in Our Town

law enforcement

On July 24, 2013 we kicked off our first in a series of webinars as part of our partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office. In this inaugural webinar, we brought together a representative from the COPS Office, 13 members of the Not In Our Town law enforcement cadre, and law enforcement professionals who have used Not In Our Town successfully in the field to share their stories. If you weren’t able to join us, here’s a recap complete with shared presentations and useful tools.  
Harpreet Singh Saini is sworn in before testifying. Photo Credit: AP “I want to tell the gunman who took her from me: You may have been full of hate, but my mother was full of love,” said Harpreet Singh Saini, who lost his mother in the tragic hate crime killings at a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek Wisconsin on Aug. 5.  
We joined Oak Creek, WI for a vigil and funeral after the mass shootings at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. In this short film, we witness the community coming together in the wake of tragedy. Thousands gather in the center of town to support the Sikh community in the aftermath of the Aug. 5, 2012 hate crime killing at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, a suburb of Milwaukee. Mayor Steve Scaffidi, Police Chief John Edwards, and Amardeep Kaleka, son of the slain temple president, share prayers and hopes for peace and unity. Days later, the community comes together again for a memorial service for the six victims of the attack.    
Our hearts and thoughts are with the community of Oak Creek, Wisconsin today, after yesterday's tragic shooting at a Sikh temple that claimed seven lives—including the gunman—and left three wounded. The Sikh community has been a target of hate since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and often mistaken for Muslim. Yesterday's tragedy reminds us of the two Sikh grandfathers who were shot during their daily stroll in Elk Grove, Calif. in March 2011. We joined the community seven days after the shootings and documented their interfaith vigil, and again, for the community's Sikh Solidarity Day, detailed below. This piece is an example of community solidarity with the Sikh community and law enforcement leadership.  One of the community leaders in Elk Grove was Amar Shergill, a West Sacramento attorney who is a board member of that city's Sikh temple and the American Sikh Political Action Committee. He spoke about Oak Creek, Wisconisin's tragedy with the local Patch. 
Tulsa, Okla. mourns three of its residents after a shooting spree on Good Friday that also left two injured.
Photo Source: Community Oriented Policing Services  Following the tragic events of Sept. 11, Arab and Muslim-Americans across the country have faced political, legislative, and social repercussions that have led to the alienation, stigmatization--and in some cases, violence--against Muslim community members. Among rising hate crimes and anti-Muslim rhetoric, law enforcement agencies have experienced pressure to incorporate tactics such as immigration enforcement, intelligence gathering, surveillance, and racial profiling in "counter-terrorism" training intended to thwart future terrorist attacks. 
"An attack against one person in our community is an attack against all of us." It's a common feeling among Not In Our Town leaders and it was also the message from San Jose City Councilwoman Rose Herrera, speaking at a press conference yesterday.
One highly motivated and persistent person can help spark significant action in a community.   That's what Jesse Castaneda did in Silicon Valley. Because of his actions, key civic leaders in Santa Clara County renewed their commitment to prevent hate crimes. Since August 2011, Castaneda has been screening the film Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness  with civic leaders, teachers and immigrant groups. While many leaders in the area have been aggressive about addressing hate crimes, the new film, and Jesse's persistence helped shed light on  the dangers of anti immigrant violence, and encouraged people to come together to find new solutions. Although the activist works full-time in health care, is chair of an immigration reform coalition, and is expecting his first child in a few months, Castaneda has found the time and energy to use the latest Not In Our Town film to help galvanize his community.
Redlands, a diverse city of 70,000 in California’s Inland Empire, has a city motto: “See Something, Say Something.”      “It’s so important to collaborate with the community. We need more eyes and ears, we solve crimes because someone comes forward,” said Lt. Travis Martinez, Redlands Police Department. Martinez is in charge of community policing and liaison to the city’s Human Relations Commission. He heard about Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness through Not In Our Town’s partner, the Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services and is utilizing our screening kit to plan his screening and strengthen relationships within the community.  Thanks to prompting from Martinez, the city’s Human Relations Commission will screen and discuss the film on Oct. 19 at the University of Redland’s Orton Center.