"Who is this group that's coming? And I realized ... it's Fred Phelps and my heart just dropped. I can't believe they're coming. Why us? Out of all the schools, why us?" —Daisy Renazco, Gunn High School teacher Above is one of NIOT.org's most popular videos, "Gunn High School Sings Away Hate Group," which has garnered more than 225,000 views on our YouTube channel. Ellen DeGeneres, in a Tweet, said she was "so unbelievably proud of Gunn High School in Palo Alto, CA for demonstrating love & acceptance in a peaceful way." What's significant about this video is that it showcases how a community can stand up to hate in a peaceful and constructive way. The video was shot in 2010, when the Kansas hate group known as the Westboro Baptist Church (Fred Phelps' family) announced they would picket Bay Area schools and Jewish institutions. The students of Gunn High School, located in Palo Alto, Calif., decided they could not sit quietly.
Video Category: Diversity/Multiculturalism
Transgender activists, community members, civic leaders and local law enforcement gather in Oakland, CA on Transgender Day of Remembrance to honor the victims of brutal hate crimes across the country. Learn more at the NIOT.org blog. Please share this video with your friends and community.
When the Kansas hate group known as the Westboro Baptist Church (Fred Phelps' family) announced they would picket Bay Area schools and Jewish institutions, students at Gunn High School decided they could not sit quietly. (3 min 34 sec) Check out our Local Lesson, Helping High Schoolers Take the Lead, which features an interview with Gunn High School Principal Noreen Likins.
This promo features scenes from an upcoming PBS special about three stories of students and their communities standing together to stop hate and bullying.
When Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri and Deputy Mayor Stephen McGiff were invited to visit Gualaceo, Ecuador, Marcelo Lucero's hometown, the community welcomed them and shared stories and concerns about relatives and friends living in the United States. While the two towns are linked by the tragedy of Marcelo Lucero, Mayor Pontieri vowed to make Patchogue safer for everyone in the future.
Not In Out Town: Light in the Darkness Web Extra Patchogue, New York Mayor Paul Pontieri reflects on his family's history of immigration, his love of his hometown, and how his life has influenced his policy of inclusion for all Patchogue residents. For more information on the film, visit niot.org/lightinthedarkness
Across the country, students and teachers are sharing stories, joining together and taking action to create safe schools, free from stereotypes, intolerance, and hate. They’re part of a movement called Not In Our School (NIOS). For more than a decade, Not In Our School has inspired students of all ages to develop and share innovative ways to resist bullying and promote an atmosphere of acceptance and inclusion. The Not In Our School videos, activities and resources on our website showcase the immense capacity, energy, and creativity of young people who are creating new ways to make their schools safe for everyone. Visit NotInOurSchool.org to view all our Not In Our School videos.
Interfaith residents of Elk Grove, Calif. gathered on March 11 for a prayer vigil to honor two elderly Sikh community members who were gunned down early this month during their routine walk through the neighborhood. One of the victims in the shooting, 67-year-old Surinder Singh, suffered fatal wounds while his friend, 78-year-old Gurmej Atwal, remains in critical condition. East Stockton Boulevard, a busy Elk Grove road was temporarily closed to traffic as residents of different ethnicities and religions lit candles and listened as a series of speakers, including the grandson and granddaughters of Singh, spoke solemnly about the tragic loss of their family member. Many members of the community fear that the shootings were a hate-motivated crime and that the two might have been mistaken for people of Muslim faith. Just feet away from where the two were shot, Sikh and Muslim residents called for interfaith acceptance and respect.
"We are all Americans in this country." —Fred Korematsu (1919-2005) Fred Korematsu's fight for equality became a symbol of American freedom. Born in the U.S., Korematsu protested the forced internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, claiming it was unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld charges against him in 1944 and it would take nearly 40 years for his charges to be formally overturned. Korematsu said, "It was a great victory for all Americans and all Asians in this country, that this will never happen again." In 2011, California celebrated its first Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution on Jan. 30. It is the first day named after an Asian-American in the history of the United States. Five hundred teachers in California teach Korematsu's story on that day. “In the long history of our country’s constant search for justice, some names of ordinary citizens stand for millions of souls: Plessy, Brown, Parks. To that distinguished list, today we add the name of Fred Korematsu,” said President Bill Clinton when he presented Korematsu with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, in 1998.
Every January, Not In Our Town honors Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy by sharing the real life stories of people who are applying Dr. King’s principles today. Though the political landscape has changed since the Civil Rights era, his dream that the United States would fulfill its promise of equality has yet to become reality. But Dr. King’s work proves that change is indeed possible in this country. The communities in Embracing the Dream: Lessons from the Not In Our Town Movement are living proof of that — town by town, school by school, they demonstrate that change is happening. Watch their stories below. What will you do this Martin Luther King Jr. Day - Monday, January 20 - to Embrace the Dream?