This summer, a comment arrived in response to our video “Lowell Students Dance Away the Hate,” a short film featuring an inspiring student response to a visit from the hate group known as the Westboro Baptist Church. “This is so sweet,” the commenter wrote, “I found out about this video after I read the book Miss Fortune Cookie! It incorporated this event in the book and included the link to this video at the end. It's so cheerful and happy. =)” Miss Fortune Cookie is a young adult novel penned by Lauren Bjorkman, an author who attended high school in the San Francisco Bay Area and now lives with her family in Taos, New Mexico. We connected via email about her interest in the video and how she fictionalized it in her book.
Not In Our Town: Princeton has been tackling racism since the group was founded in this New Jersey university town more than a decade ago. Their visible actions appear on the streets, in schools, and in their public library. Three key programs include: outreach to downtown merchants ongoing public conversations about racism and privilege Unity Awards for local students Princeton is a well-heeled town, home to Princeton University, one of the nation’s premier Ivy League institutions. Just five percent of its 16,000 residents are African American and another five percent are Latino. Racial tensions and socio-economic disparities exist, and that's where this NIOT group has chosen to focus. The group’s mission statement is “to speak truth about ‘everyday racism’ and other forms of prejudice and discrimination,” and to “promote social justice, economic justice and educational equity for all.”
Fort Collins, CO: How do you open up a conversation about challenging issues in your town? The Not In Our Town Alliance in Fort Collins formed a book club dedicated to exploring issues of acceptance and inclusion in their community. This winter, Mayor Doug Hutchinson led a discussion of The Tortilla Curtain, which was chosen to generate discussion about immigration issues.