Not In Our Town Film Series Sparks Dialogue in Elgin, IL | Not in Our Town

Not In Our Town Film Series Sparks Dialogue in Elgin, IL

A screening of NIOT's Light In the Darkness at the Gail Borden Public Library.

The Chicago suburb of Elgin, IL is hosting a Not In Our Town film series at the public library that gathers community leaders, residents and students to discuss NIOT films. Community Engagement Liaison Danielle Henson of the Gail Borden Public Library convened the series to bring together people in her town to promote diversity and address issues of inclusion. In this report about their recent screening of Light in the Darkness, Henson shares how 500 students joined community leaders in order to talk about their own expereinces with racism and seek ways to address it.

Audience members engage in discussion following the film.

Elgin Police Department, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin Community College MAGIC & OLAS student groups, Elgin International City of Peace & The Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Elgin joined together to host a screening of NIOT: Light in the Darkness and hosted approximately 500 students, community members and professors who discussed the moving film. The multicultural and multigenerational audience engaged in discussion that expressed emotions, fears and hope as we addressed each piece of the important movie. Community members and students brought forward their questions about racism, personal stories of racial violence, ways to be and feel safe in a community and how we can build bridges of understanding through film, discussions, multicultural education and building a culturally intelligent community. Because we felt there was more to learn and discuss, we agreed to continue our NIOT film series and bring more organizations to the table to create more film series’, human library events, multicultural events, discussion, and presentations that allow questioning and conversation. 

We have since engaged The Muslim student group at ECC, The Elgin Human Relations Commission and the Elgin Hispanic Network. We are embarking on 2016/2017 planning. Many of our organizations have other efforts such as ECC Humanities presentations, ECC MAGIC films & Authors (last year hosted James Santiago Baca’s film & Debbie Irving “Waking up White”, and EPD hosts Community Conversations with the Chief and Mayor.

As reported by Danielle Henson, Community Engagement Liaison for the Gail Borden Public Library.

The Gail Borden Public Library, along with its community partners, is continuing the NIOT film series. The next screening will be of Not In Our Town Northern California: When Hate Happens Here, and it will be occurring on Sunday, June 5th. For more information, please contact

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