As hate infiltrated the Northern California town of Novato when an Asian man was stabbed at a local supermarket, residents not only stood by the victim’s side—several grocery clerks chased down the assailant.
The residents’ heroic response was documented in Not In Out Town II,
and has left a lasting impression of a community that comes together in times of trouble.
Since then, “trouble” has revisited Novato, and it has several faces: First, an ongoing debate over high-density affordable housing and increased crime prompted one local newspaper to dub Novato the “City of Rage
” and has left a divisive tone at city hall as well as within the community.
But when anti-immigration activist Jerome Ghigliotti
was arrested for disturbing a city council meeting after the council refused to put a measure requiring Novato contractors to E-Verify the legal status of employees on the ballot, underlying tensions became palpable.
Lynne Wasley (right) and Annan Paterson
Paterson and her colleague, Lynne Wasley, a community volunteer on the Blue Ribbon Coaliton for Youth
who is also a co-founder of USSN, are once again witnessing their community drifting apart due to intolerance and have decided to do something about it.
Besides their own engagement in grassroots organizations that address the town’s current issues, Paterson and Wasley will be hosting a screening of Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness, a film that chronicles the joint efforts of a community attempting to heal after the murder of an Ecuadorian immigrant.
Paterson believes that the timing couldn’t be better.
“I appreciate the honest expressions of fear, anger, confusion, sadness, and the struggle of the town after the hate crime murder. It showed a variety of perspectives: the victims, the families of the perpetrators, law enforcement, town leaders, faith groups,” said Paterson about the film. “It is very timely and reflects our experience with the tragic impact of hate crimes and the power of a community coming together.”
Paterson said that the Light in the Darkness screening will be held in honor of Knud Dyby, a long-time Novato resident and Human Rights activist.
Novato resident Knud Dyby died at age 96.
Dyby died on Sept. 8 and leaves behind a legacy that encompasses humanitarian efforts such rescuing Danish Jews and others during World War II as well as working to teach tolerance and diversity to students in his Novato community.
“He impressed me as a humble, down to earth man who was proud of his history but grounded in the present day need for continued action,” said Paterson while recounting her first encounter with Dyby.
The Light in the Darkness screening is scheduled to take place on Sept. 22, at the Novato Police Dept.Training Room, 909 Machin Ave., at 6:30 pm.
For more information on tonight's screening, see the Novato Patch. For more information on the film, visit the Light in the Darkness page. You can also find a screening near you or host one in your town. Not In Our Town offers numerous resources to help make your screening successful.