Caroline Tu Farley is a founding member of the Ft. Collins Not In Our Town Alliance (NIOTA). Since the founding in 2005 she has worked in several capacities with the organization, continuing to promote diversity and inclusion in the Ft. Collins community. She started the NIOTA book club in 2009, which is a monthly community group that reads and discusses books from a diversity angle. Caroline serves on the NIOTA Council as Prevention Team Leader and was instrumental in the selection of NIOTA as the best nonprofit in Colorado working with diversity from the Colorado Gay & Lesbian Fund.
Tell us about your community:
Fort Collins is a college town that is home to Colorado State University. We are
about 60 miles north of Denver.
What kind of work do you do in your community?
I served on the Fort Collins Human Relations Commission from 2003-2006. We launched the Fort Collins Not In Our Town Alliance (FC NIOTA)
in April 2005 I have served as a FC NIOTA Council Member since the beginning and currently serve as the Prevention Team Leader, FC NIOTA Community Book Club Coordinator (since it started in 2009) and in charge of the FC NIOTA Facebook Page. FC NIOTA is also co-sponsoring, with the Rocky Mountain Resource Center, the Mountain States Conference on Cults, Gangs and Hate Groups on May 17, 2014. We look forward to Not In Our Town leaders Patrice O’Neill and Michelle Gahee Kloss participating In this upcoming conference.
I also am involved as a Board Member for Intercultural Community Builders (ICB). We sponsor workshops to help teens learn intercultural skills and teach them to be leaders in the community. Many of teens become teen facilitators as well as ICB Board Members.
Currently, I am trying to establish a “Dining for Women”
chapter to help help raise funds for women/girls living in poverty.
When did you become involved in anti-hate work and why?
I’ve always been a strong believer in volunteering in the community. My mother and her family, during World War II, were taken from their home in California and were interned in the Rohwer camp in Arkansas when the government uprooted 110,000 Japanese-Americans and put them behind barbed wire. My mom always spoke passionately to us, and spoke at high schools, about this injustice. I credit my mom for inspiring me to speak out against discrimination and injustice.
What work are you most proud of?
I am proud that I was one of the founding members of FC NIOTA. After seeing the NIOT Billings film and attending a hate crime forum at Colorado State University, I was inspired to get the Not in Our Town message out. I, along with a few other community members, decided to launch FC NIOTA.
What do you see as the challenges to anti-hate work in your town?
Fortunately, there are not a lot of hate crimes/incidents happening in Fort Collins but they do happen in certain segments of the community but rarely make the newspaper. Therefore, some community members think that nothing bad happens here and people become complacent.
The Fort Collins NIOTA being honored with a 2010 Advancing Equality Award from the Gay & Lesbian Fund of Colorado.
What gives you hope?
I see there are so many good people in our community, nation and world. For example, just seeing the other Not In Our Town communities inspires and gives me hope.
What advice would you give to other community leaders who want to address hate and intolerance in their town?
I would tell them just start talking and finding others in the community who share the same passion about making their communities a better place for not some of us but for all of us.
Join Caroline and other anti-hate leaders at the Not In Our Town National Leadership Gathering in Billings, MT from Friday, June 20 to Sunday, June 22. Learn more and register here.