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.
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.
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.
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."