Concord Residents Rally and Read Together to Stop Hate | Not in Our Town

Concord Residents Rally and Read Together to Stop Hate

Photo source: Concord, NH Police Department.
While racist graffiti scribbled on the homes of three Concord families was meant to hurt and intimidate the refugee population of New Hampshire’s capital city, residents united immediately in an ongoing effort to show that everyone is welcome and safe in their community. 
The hate messages were discovered on Sept. 18 and targeted refugee families who are originally from Africa. The incident has been labeled a hate crime by police and is being investigated by the New Hampshire attorney general’s office, according to the Boston Globe
As part of the community-wide response, hundreds of residents outraged by the graffiti rallied to show their condemnation of racism the following Saturday. But their engagement did not stop there. 

Photo Source: Elaine Grant/NHPR 
The Love Your Neighbor Coalition was formed in Concord to counter the hate incidents and has since organized a second rally in support of the community’s refugee population. According to the coalition’s Facebook page, the rallies are aimed at creating a conversation about issues facing the community, as well as to create and strengthen connections among residents. 
Just four days after the messages were found, the Concord Monitor published the opinion piece, “Here’s a chance to learn the facts about refugees.” The author uses the recent events to correct assumptions about refugees and invited residents to participate in the reading program held at the Concord Public Library for the past ten years.  
The program, Concord Reads, is intended to bring the community together by encouraging participants to read and join discussions and events about the same book. 
With this year’s theme centered around refugees’ experiences through the book Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman's Quest to Make a Difference by Warren St. John, the reading program is often relevant to the issues that the Concord community is currently grappling with.
"Concord Reads offers the community a chance to come together and discuss both the book and the issues it raises, including how to overcome misunderstandings and prejudice to understand each other better," wrote Deb Baker in the Monitor


To learn more about how to get involved with Concord Reads, check out their 2011 Calendar of Events. The Fort Collins Not In Our Town Alliance also hosts a successful book club. See our video on their efforts, "A Novel Approach to Talking About Diversity."

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