Photo Credit: Steve Smedley / The Pantagraph
In the aftermath of the events in Ferguson, MO, communities across the nation are searching for ways to address racism and discrimination in their towns.
On Tuesday, Dec. 9, community and educational leaders will unveil a new pledge to erase bigotry and promote inclusion, which residents can sign to show their support.
“Last summer [after the NIOT National Gathering] there was a renewed discussion and an effort to reinvigorate things in Bloomington-Normal,” said Martin Ross, one of the local NIOT organizers. “It’s an inoculation, person by person, business by business, community group by community group, to instill an attitude against intolerance and bullying until it becomes habit.”
Part of the renewed campaign includes saturating the twin cities with messages reminding residents to say no to hate and discrimination. These messages are targeted for use by business owners, office managers, teachers, law enforcement, and community members, each with specific wording. Some examples include “Not At My Counter” for a coffee shop owner, “Not In My Class” for a teacher, and “Not On My Watch” for police officers.
These proclamations are already appearing on billboards in the Bloomington-Normal area, and soon will be part of a city-wide campaign that may include decals on windows, buttons, apparel, bus advertisements, and more.
“It’s an upbeat stance on things,” Ross said. “We’re inviting people to be a part of this. It’s a welcome, not a finger wagging. We want them to be a part of a positive idea for a safe, inclusive community.”
Read more about the work being done in Bloomington-Normal on their webpage.