Just recently, racist and anti-Semitic fliers targeting the local Not In Our Town group were spread across the Princeton University Campus. The fliers single out one of the leaders by name and attack the NIOT Princeton group for their efforts to address racism and white privilege.
One of the fliers advertises a fake course that parodies the NIOT group’s Continuing Conversations series on race and inclusion. Another reads “It’s time to examine the oppressor society, to study Whites the way they have studied colonized people for decades.”
NIOT leader Linda Oppenheim said that the anti-Semitic and racist messages only gave her and the group as a whole more courage to continue their work for racial justice in the community. Not in Our Town issued a statement about the fliers affirming their commitment to continue their work in the community. Statement via Planet Princeton.
Not In Our Town Princeton, an interfaith group focused on racial justice was formed in the late 90’s when many NIOT groups were formed after the original Not In Our Town Billings film aired on PBS. The film documents how Billings Montana successfully fought back when residents were targeted by racist and anti-Semitic hate crimes.
The NIOT group maintains an active and consistent presence in the Princeton area, driving important cross-sector conversations to build safe and inclusive communities. They host an annual event highlighting innovative student efforts to address racism and intolerance, as well as candidate forums for school board members. Their visible actions appear on the streets, in schools, and in the local public library. Three key programs include: outreach to downtown merchants, ongoing public conversations about racism and privilege, and Unity Awards for local students.
NIOT Princeton was there when a Central Pennsylvania middle school teacher wanted to connect with a local NIOT group when KKK fliers began appearing in her community. After a series of calls with NIOT leaders Becki Cohn-Vargas and Patrice O’Neill, the teacher started attending meetings at the nearest NIOT group in Princeton. The teacher now helps lead an anti-hate/ pro-inclusion effort in her community and she helps lead Continuing Conversations on race and white privilege with the Princeton group.
Thanks to Planet Princeton for this reporting.
Photo source: Planet Princeton, from NIOT Princeton participation in Stand Against Racism demonstrations.