Margaret MacDonald, a leader in the Not In Our Town Movement in Billings, Montana, wrote the following letter to people in Brattleboro, Vermont who are uniting in response to incidents of racism and violence. I have been reading with a sinking heart about the activities in Brattleboro, and my sympathies go out to the community as it struggles with hate groups cropping up among the youth of the city. Billings was in a very similar state of consternation and dismay back in 1993, when we began to organize the community to confront this phenomenon in ways that were creative, but firm. Here is a review of some of the guiding principles that helped shape the responses, which were later recognized by the Working Group documentary “Not In Our Town.”
October 28, 2008 - 9:00pm
October 28, 2008 - 9:00pm
It was the worst kind of nightmare for the mother of a bi-racial high school student. In June, the people of Brattleboro, Vermont learned that a racist youth group called NHRA (“N—– Hating Redneck Association”) was active in the local high school. Larry Pratt Jr., a 17-year-old NHRA member, was arrested after waving a weapon at a multi-racial group of students near the high school grounds. Pratt and several other NHRA members were suspended from school and placed in a restorative justice program, but the alarm bells were ringing for parent and musician Barbara Holliday.
October 8, 2008 - 9:00pm
It was ten years ago this week that gay college student Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten and left hanging on a rural fence in Laramie, Wyoming. His murder stirred a profound response that would galvanize communities and states across the U.S. to fight for hate crime laws that include protection for gays and lesbians. In an interview with CBS News, Judy Shepard, Matthew Shepard’s mother talks about the young men who were convicted of killing her son and her ongoing work against anti-gay bias: “I’m pretty sure that they actually wonder still why they’re in such trouble for what they did, just, you know, killing a young gay man. The environment was set up for them that it was OK to do that to Matt.”
September 4, 2008 - 9:00pm
As the people in Shenandoah, PA grapple with the recent killing of Luis Ramirez and the charges against local high school students for this crime, a story from Prince William County, VA provides a glimpse at the deep divisions over immigration in other communities, and also the countervailing power of local citizens who stand up against violence based on anti-immigrant bias. As Serafin “Pedro” Alvarez Negrete, a Mexican day laborer, walked home toward his trailer park on a fall night in 2006, he was shot multiple times. Police apprehended 2 teenagers, who admitted that they had decided to “get a Mexican,” and later plead guilty to first degree murder.
August 28, 2008 - 9:00pm
UPDATE: Community members in Shenandoah, where Mexican immigrant Luis Ramirez was murdered, are planning a Unity Celebration. The event is taking place at the same time as another group holds an “anti-illegal immigration rally.” “The only proven way to counter their effect is to hold a positive, safe, meaningful and uplifting event at the same time,” Unity Celebration organizers said. “They are using us and our misfortunes for their own agenda.” The Unity Celebration will be held Saturday, August 30th, 6 -7 :30PM, at Kahillat Isreal Non-Denominational Christian Church, 213 W. Oak St., Shenandoah.