Hate Crime | Not in Our Town

Hate Crime

The packed gymnasium erupted on a Tuesday night with applause as the Oakland High School varsity boys basketball team ran onto the court for the first home game of the season. But their usual blue and white Wildcat jerseys were replaced by cerulean T-shirts with the message “NO H8” printed on the front, and a single name printed on the back, “Sasha.” That name refers to Sasha Fleischman, a high school senior at nearby Maybeck High School in Berkeley, CA, who was badly burned after being set on fire while sleeping on a city bus. Sasha, who identifies as agender, was wearing a skirt at the time of the attack, leading police to investigate the incident as a hate crime. A student from Oakland High School has been apprehended and charged with assault with a hate crime enhancement. While the majority of Oakland High students had never heard of Sasha before this event, the alleged offender is one of their classmates. The “No H8” basketball game was created by the students to honor Sasha and remind the local community that Oakland High is a school where diversity is celebrated and students stand up to injustice. This event is just one part of an ongoing Not In Our School campaign by Oakland High School.
Julie Mann is a teacher at Newcomers High School in NYC. When she saw the Not In Our Town Video,  Charleston, The Days After, and the accompanying lesson ideas, she decided to adapt it for her English Learners. The beauty of Julie's lesson plan is that she scaffolds the experience for her students, beginning with understanding the horrific hate crime that happened this summer where a white supremacist murdered nine African-American people during Bible Study at the AME Church in Charleston, SC. From there she brings to life the people who were killed in a way that builds understanding and empathy and allows students to express their feelings.
Students at Norwood Junior High School in Sacramento, CA send paper cranes as a symbol of peace and healing to the community of Oak Creek, WI after a deadly hate attack at The Sikh Temple.  Learn more about Oak Creek by viewing the NIOT film Waking in Oak Creek.
Waking in Oak Creek: A Community Rocked by Hate is Awakened and Transformed As the Sikh community in Oak Creek, Wisconsin prepares for Sunday prayers, a deadly hate attack shatters their lives, but not their resilience. After six worshipers are killed by a white supremacist, the local community finds inspiration in the Sikh tradition of forgiveness and faith. Lieutenant Murphy, shot 15 times in the attack, joins the mayor and police chief as they forge new bonds with the Sikh community. Young temple members, still grieving, emerge as leaders in the quest to end the violence. In the year following the tragedy, thousands gather for vigils and community events to honor the victims and seek connection. Together, a community rocked by hate is awakened and transformed by the Sikh spirit of relentless optimism. * Request a free DVD classroom copy of the film by clicking here.  Useful teaching strategies that are aligned with the Common Core State Standards:
When Quality Auto Paint & Body owner, Richard Henegar, hears that a local college student is the victim of an anti-gay hate attack, he decides to help. Not only does Richard repair Jordan Addison's vandalized car, he brings his entire community together. After painting over the anti-gay slurs and replacing windows and tires, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres learns of this act of generosity and invites the two men to talk about their experience on national television. Richard is also honored by his alma mater, Lord Botetourt High School when they create The Richard Henegar Kindness Award to highlight how one person can make a difference.
In 1995, Azim Khamisa's 20-year-old son, Tariq, was delivering a pizza when he was shot to death by a 14-year-old gang member. Experiencing the pain, grief, frustration, and anger that a parent would, Azim decided that the only way he could better the situation was to use the tool of FORGIVE to ensure that this type of tragedy happens less frequently in the future. After meeting with the father of the boy who shot Tariq, Azim decided that he would bring his message of forgiveness and mutual respect to groups of young people all over the country. The foundation in his son's memory, the Tariq Khamisa Foundation, raises awareness and engages youth to resist a culture of violence and learn to live in harmony with one another. This lesson addresses the following SEL strategies and you can have students look for these issues and examine them in themselves.
  SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FOR STUDENTS AFTER READING THE CHRISTMAS MENORAHS, VIEWING NOT IN OUR TOWN, OR VIEWING OR PERFORMING PAPER CANDLES. By Janice I. Cohn Fighting Bullies         The residents of Billings stood up to bullies despite the risks. Why did they do that? Do you think that would have happened without the help of people like Chief Inman and Margaret MacDonald? Do you think that would have happened if Tammie Schnitzer had not “gone public” with what happened to her family? What were the risks these people took by taking a stand? What can each of us do in our own lives if we must confront − or someone we know must confront − bullying? Would you attempt to help another person who is being bullied or treated badly? Why? What factors would affect your decisions? What would you want to do, and how would you want to do it? What would be helpful to you in these situations Fighting Hatred And Intolerance •    Do you think the events that happened in Billings could happen in any town? Why?
 Joe Lobozzo's class at Lakewood High School in Ohio discuss the trailer of Light in the Darkness.
This is the second segment in the PBS special, "Not In Our Town: Class Actions," which premiered nationally in Feb. 2012. For more information, visit http://www.niot.org/classactions.
After a rash of bias-motivated incidents and hate crimes at the University of San Diego, faculty, staff and student leaders have been grappling with how to respond.