First broadcast during the early days of PBS community engagement efforts in 1995, the half-hour Not In Our Town film about people in Billings, MT standing up to hate is a success story that continues to resonate in communities and schools.
The PBS broadcast was coupled with the first "Not In Our Town" week, as communities across the country examined their own experience with hate, racism and intolerance, and strategized together about how their actions could mirror the impact they saw in Billings.
Soon, cities began to adopt the "Not In Our Town" identity for their efforts to address racism and promote diversity and inclusion, and a movement was born. (Here we are, two decades later, and the lessons from these communities have been chronicled in our subsequent PBS films, and hundreds of short videos and guides posted and shared on NIOT.org.)
Not In Our Town Bloomington-Normal, IL which began with the first Not In Our Town Week in 1995 is a leading civic force in the twin cities. (2005)
The rise in hate speech and violence in our country is alarming. In November, five people were killed in an attack at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. Ten people lost their lives in an attack at a grocery store in Buffalo in May 2022. Earlier this week, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff hosted a roundtable at the White House on the rise of antisemitism in the United States, saying there is an "epidemic of hate facing our country."
We cannot normalize this," Emhoff said. "We all have an obligation to condemn these vile acts. We must not stay silent. There are no two sides. Everyone must be against this."
Back then, and to this day, Not In Our Town stories ask and answer the question: What can we do in our local communities to stop hate and the bigotry that fuels it?
We know the strength of our communities and what can happen when people stand together to reject hate and violence and declare their core values of inclusion and safety for all.
Twenty seven years after the first film aired, our new film, Repairing the World: Stories From the Tree of Life, is ready to be used in communities and schools across the U.S.
This story of Pittsburgh’s powerful response to the deadliest antisemitic attack in U.S. history could not be more timely. We have so much power when we work together, when we recognize that an injury to one is an injury to all.
But the film is just the beginning. Not In Our Town offers resources for schools and communities to take long term action to stop hate. Join us this year as we work with communities to screen the film and work with cities across the U.S. to build long term action plans to prevent hate crimes.
Your generosity and actions have made these past 27 years of action possible. We certainly can't continue without your support. Your donation gives meaning to our message, we CAN Stop Hate Together.
Patrice O'Neill + Pardeep Kaleka, Co-Directors
For the NIOT Board + Team