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light in the darkness

Our film, Light in the Darkness, focuses on Patchogue, N.Y. following the hate crime killing of local immigrant Marcelo Lucero in 2008. Seven local teenagers from Patchogue-Medford High School were arrested for the attack—one was charged with murder, the other six were charged with gang assault and conspiracy. Over a two-year period, the story follows Mayor Paul Pontieri, the victim’s brother Joselo Lucero, and Patchogue residents as they openly address the underlying causes of the violence, work to heal divisions, and initiate ongoing action to ensure everyone in their village will be safe and respected. Joselo Lucero and family, speaking to the press after the trial.    The crime, trial and other legal actions gained national media attention. On the Light in the Darkness: Legal Actions page, you can read about the tense climate for immigrants in Suffolk County, beginning nearly a decade before Marcelo Lucero's death; the trial of Jeffrey Conroy; and find extended interviews with Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas J. Spota and prosecutor, Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Megan O'Donnell.
Jesse Castañeda, chair of the Silicon Valley Alliance for Immigration Reform (SVAIR) and human rights activist, has been campaigning for immigration reform in an effort to bridge the gap between the immigrant and mainstream populations.         Jesse Castaneda, Chair of the Silicon Valley Alliance for Immigration Reform, at the Light in the Darkness screening in San Francisco Castañeda recently organized a screening of Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San Jose, Calif., using the film to facilitate a conversation about anti-immigrant sentiment in his community.    “My community is the community that Marcelo Lucero's family is part of—immigrants, mostly Latino immigrants, many undocumented. They do not have a voice in our society and live in the shadows,” said Castañeda.
Following the premiere broadcast of Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness on PBS, many communities across the country joined the campaign against hate and intolerance by hosting screenings and using the film to start a conversation about hate and intolerance in their areas. 
Our new documentary Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness had its broadcast premiere on PBS stations across the country last night. We hope that it will inspire thousands of people to take action to stand up to hate in their communities. The film tries to achieve that goal by making space for discussions about all the underlying issues that give rise to hate and hate crimes. What did you think of the film? How can you use it as a tool in your community?
As hate infiltrated the Northern California town of Novato when an Asian man was stabbed at a local supermarket, residents not only stood by the victim’s side—several grocery clerks chased down the assailant.     The residents’ heroic response was documented in Not In Out Town II, and has left a lasting impression of a community that comes together in times of trouble.      Since then, “trouble” has revisited Novato, and it has several faces: First, an ongoing debate over high-density affordable housing and increased crime prompted one local newspaper to dub Novato the “City of Rage” and has left a divisive tone at city hall as well as within the community.    But when anti-immigration activist Jerome Ghigliotti was arrested for disturbing a city council meeting after the council refused to put a measure requiring Novato contractors to E-Verify the legal status of employees on the ballot, underlying tensions became palpable.   
This morning, Not In Our Town executive producer and director of Light in the Darkness spoke with Michel Martin on NPR's Tell Me More.  "I think you can have wide disagreement about immigration reform and what should be done, but there should be absolutely no disagreement about people being able to walk the streets of a community free from being attacked because of their identity and people should be able to safely report crimes to the police," O'Neill told Martin. "I think that's a bedrock value of our democracy." Listen to the interview here.  For more information on the film, visit    
On the day of broadcast, we share with you a video extra featuring Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri. 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.
Known to most as the “Music City” of the United States, Nashville, Tenn., is the heart of a vibrant country music scene and a mecca for those who hope to break into the industry. In recent years, however, Nashville has also been known by a different name. Since early 1990, the Southern state has gained over 200,000 foreign-born residents.  With almost half of this population settling into the Nashville area, the U.S. State Department has designated Nashville as a “Destination City” for refugees.   Today, the city is home to a colorful mix of Kurdish, Somali, Ethiopian, Burmese, Sudanese, Iranian, Iraqi, and Bhutanese communities attempting to integrate into the traditional culture of Nashville.
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