The Fort Collins Not In Our Town Alliance was honored with a 2010 Advancing Equality Award from the Gay & Lesbian Fund of Colorado. Though the organization received 40 nominations from across the state, Fort Collins NIOTA nabbed the award for Outstanding Nonprofit Organization.
The awards, according to Tonya Ewers, are “really meant to uncover organizations and people in Colorado who are doing wonderful things in the community for equality” and their overall goal is to “create a more equal Colorado and a better place for everyone.” The fund is a program of the Gill Foundation.
At the December award dinner, the Gay & Lesbian Fund used this language to explain why the Fort Collins NIOTA was selected as a their Outstanding Nonprofit Organization:
In 2004, a group of citizens in northern Colorado came together to focus their collective energies on challenging discrimination and preventing local violence related to hate and bigotry. In conjunction with the local Human Relations Commission, the Fort Collins Not In Our Town Alliance has since formed prevention and response teams that develop educational awareness and anti-hate campaigns, and offer support for victims, often organizing community responses to incidents. One recent community response involved working with the local LGBT community center to stage a completely silent and peaceful response when members of the Westboro Baptist Church descended on Fort Collins this summer. Westboro church is known for picketing funerals of AIDS victims and soldiers, stomping on American flags, and protesting LGBT and Jewish organizations around the country. The alliance also works to engage schools and youth in educational outreach, flyer-distribution campaigns and press coverage in response to incidents, like when a brick was thrown through the window of a local Islamic center in northern Colorado; and calling attention to a local sheriff’s webpage that also contained anti-Muslim comments. Together, the group, which consists of individuals, businesses, and local government, is committed to preventing hate crimes, and proudly proclaims “not in our town.”
The award comes with a $5,000 gift, which the Fort Collins NIOTA has opted to send to the Rocky Mountain Resource Center. The Fort Collins NIOTA is part of this center and will be using the money to fund upcoming projects.
Congratulations to Fort Collins Not In Our Town!
Photos provided by Hal Mansfield of Fort Collins NIOTA and features (L-R) prevention team leader Caroline Tu Farley and board members Charlotte Miller, Cheryl Beckett and Lester Washington.