Scene from Light In the Darknes In Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness, we witness how students can become upstanders, even in the wake of violent hate crimes. The 60-minute documentary premiered on PBS in 2011, but is now available for purchase as a 27-minute classroom version. This film is extremely pertinent to the educational community for several reasons. In addition to the importance of learning about how the community came together to respond to hate, it brings up serious questions for educators, for example: How did these young people routinely participate in what they called "beaner-hopping" ("beaner" is a racial slur and "beaner-hopping" refers to beating up Latino immigrants) without their teachers and parents noticing? Why did other students who knew what was going on never speak up? What was the impact of the media's hateful rhetoric on the attitudes of youth in the schools? Educators across the U.S. have begun to use the film as a springboard for addressing issues of immigration, bullying, and teaching students to be upstanders (speak up and take action).
“As I watched this documentary unfold I found myself riveted to the screen. It deals with social issues that I hold dear, specifically how central a community can be for making changes. It restored a feeling of optimism in me to see how a community coming together can turn a frightful act into a hopeful new beginning.” — Berenice Pliskin, Artist After viewing Farmingville, a 2004 PBS documentary about the hate-based attempted murders of two Mexican day laborers on Long Island, New York artist Berenice Pliskin felt moved to depict the town’s conflict as a vibrant painting.
Three Mountain View teenagers were arrested for committing a hate crime, among other charges, after the teens allegedly yelled racial slurs and threatened to kill four 11-year-old Latino boys. The three white teenagers, two 15-year-old boys and one 14-year-old boy, were shouting racially offensive statements about Mexicans to the four Latino youth from inside their house, according to statements made by the victims to the police. After the two groups started arguing, the suspects came out of the house carrying a BB gun. The suspects, who are all students at Mountain View High School, allegedly continued to make hateful remarks and threatened to kill the victims with their weapon. This incident is the second potential hate crime to hit Mountain View recently. Spanish-language signs put up by one of the local school districts were stolen, defaced, and re-posted in late October with the words “No More Aliens.” Police have been unable to definitively determine if the vandalism constitutes a hate crime, but school officials are stepping up their efforts to ensure their signs are safe.