Known to most as the “Music City” of the United States, Nashville, Tenn., is the heart of a vibrant country music scene and a mecca for those who hope to break into the industry. In recent years, however, Nashville has also been known by a different name.
Since early 1990, the Southern state has gained over 200,000 foreign-born residents. With almost half of this population settling into the Nashville area, the U.S. State Department has designated Nashville as a “Destination City” for refugees.
Today, the city is home to a colorful mix of Kurdish, Somali, Ethiopian, Burmese, Sudanese, Iranian, Iraqi, and Bhutanese communities attempting to integrate into the traditional culture of Nashville.
In an effort to raise awareness about issues of diversity and acceptance in the community and in correlation with Not In Our Town’s National Week of Action, Nashville Public Television has launched “10 Days of Peace,” a calendar of events that include the station’s broadcast of Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness.
"What makes the work in Nashville such a powerful example of the Not In Our Town model," Kathy Edson, NPT community outreach manager, says in Hispanic Nashville, "is that it brings different sectors of society — schools, law enforcement, faith, Islamic, Latino/Hispanic, and local government -— together in ways that link common experiences and issues, so that no one is excluded or left vulnerable to hate."
Through NPT’s Nextdoor Neighbors Project—an award-winning series of four documentaries that highlight the city's immigrant communities—the public television station has actively worked to increase awareness and tolerance of Nashville’s diversity and to create a dialogue about issues facing residents of all backgrounds.
The 10 Days of Peace initiatives began last Sunday on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 and will conclude on Sept. 21 with a community gathering at Nashville’s Centennial Park in observance of the International Day of Peace.
The events were held at various locations within the Nashville community and included panel discussions, community walks, a candlelit vigil, immigrant and refugee soccer tournaments, as well as an Islamic Center-sponsored “fast-a-thon.”
During the ten days, Light in the Darkness screenings were hosted at the Tennessee State University, the Islamic Center of Nashville, Vanderbilt University, Glencliff High School, and at Icon in the Gulch. The final screening will take place on Sept. 20 at the Belcourt Theatre.
Not In Our Town's partnerships with public media stations were featured in a recent Current article, "Not In Our Town: Pub media at its best seeks civility." For a complete list of our public media partners, click here.