By Brian Lau As the fourth annual “Not In Our Schools” month in Palo Alto comes to a close, we wanted to share some of the inspiring activities from students across the district. Gunn High School and Palo Alto High School each dedicated a full week of events to promote acceptance and diversity, with daily activities focusing on students as “upstanders” — those who do not simply stand by in the face of injustice, but act to make change. Here are few highlights from both campuses.
April 27, 2009 - 9:00pm
April 27, 2009 - 9:00pm
EDITOR’S NOTE: The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote this week on legislation that would strengthen federal hate crime law to include sexual orientation and gender identity. In this essay, Not In Our Town Network member Jim Hennigan reflects on his beliefs about hate crime laws. A Crime By Any Other Name Nominally speaking, I hate “hate crime” laws. By Jim Hennigan It wasn’t until May 2007 that I gave much thought to the notion of so-called “hate crime” legislation and why people feel so strongly about it. That was when Sean Kennedy was killed in Greenville, South Carolina, the town I called home. More significantly, May 2007 was when it seemed like everyone who followed the local news formed an opinion about “hate crime” laws.
April 21, 2009 - 9:00pm
Kelly Whalen, Producer of NIOT Gwen Araujo story, reflects on transgender victims of hate crime and the law EDITOR’S UPDATE: After deliberating for two hours, on April 23, 2009, a Weld County jury found Allen Ray Andrade guilty of first-degree murder and a bias-motivated crime in the killing of Angie Zapata. The trial was Colorado’s first successful hate crime prosecution involving a transgender victim. Andrade was sentenced to life in prison without parole, the mandatory penalty in Colorado for first-degree murder. Below is a video of the statement by Zapata’s family: .
April 7, 2009 - 9:00pm
Hate crimes against Hispanic and LGBTQ Americans are on the rise. Yet current federal hate crimes laws do not protect LGBTQ citizens; there are still five states with no hate crimes legislation on the books; and 23 states do not require collection of hate crimes statistics. This year, the US Congress is expected to vote on the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (LLEHCPA), legislation that would add protections for victims of attacks based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and give the federal government the power to work with local authorities to ensure that hate crimes are properly investigated and prosecuted. President Obama’s campaign platform included passing the LLEHCPA (also known as the Matthew Shepard Act), and now that’s he in office, many diverse groups are working to get this legislation through the House and Senate. Their letters, statements, and videos speak powerfully about fighting hate. Here are some links and excerpts:
April 1, 2009 - 9:00pm
On Wednesday, April 1, over 160 community members gathered at JLS Middle School in Palo Alto to watch the premiere screening of Not In Our School: Palo Alto. The film looks at Palo Alto Unified School District’s “Not In Our Schools” month, where across the district, students in elementary, middle, and high schools participate in activities centered around fostering safe school environments and ending intolerance.