Learning from West Virginia | Not in Our Town

Learning from West Virginia

What can you do when a notorious hate group targets a wide array of institutions in your community, each of which has its own leadership, values, and organizational methods?

That's the situation that faced Charleston and Wheeling, West Virginia in March, when Fred Phelps' Westboro hate group announced it would picket Catholic and Jewish institutions in the two towns, a local university, and a mine where more than a dozen miners had recently lost their lives.

What they came up with was "West Virginia: No Place for Hate," a multi-pronged action campaign that was featured on NIOT.org last month.

NIOT executive producer Patrice O'Neill spoke to some of the campaign leaders, including members of OneKanawha, the NIOT group in Charleston. "Turning Hate into Opportunity in West Virginia" features the lessons they've shared.

This is the first in a new feature on NIOT.org -- regular reports and updates from NIOT communities, so we can continue to learn from each other. We will share best practices and analyze challenges honestly. If you have had experience with the Westboro hate group, please share it on the Local Lesson page.

Our hope is that we can provide tools in the ongoing effort to create safer and more inclusive communities.

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