niot | Not in Our Town


NIOT Marchers (Photo Credit: Michael Matejka) Hundreds of Bloomington-Normal residents gathered outside the old courthouse to remember and renew 20 years of grass-roots action to address racism and bigotry. On June 28th, the street festival featured local student performances, a march, screenprinting, speakers, and a participatory dance experience, all to celebrate diversity. Check back for NIOT video story on the event.
Not In Our Town Executive Producer Patrice O'Neill appeared on NewsRadio 104.9 FM's Gulf Coast Morning and talked about Not In Our Town's vision as well as some upcoming events including the 2014 National Leadership Gathering and the Gold Star Cities project. Gulf Coast Morning is broadcast out of Biloxi, Missouri. Hosts Mike and Steve discussed Not In Our Town's history, strategies for fighting hate, and the importance of uniting communties to start their own Not In Our Town campaigns.  Listen to the full interview with Patrice O'Neill below!  
Not In Our Town Community Engagement Director Michelle Gahee Kloss appeared on WBGTV's North West Ohio Journal and talked to host Steve Kendall about the great work that Not In Our Town Bowling Green is doing.
“This is our moment for healing. We all stand here, we all sit here as a school, as a community.” UCSB students gathered for a candlelight vigil on Saturday, May 24 2014 Photo Credit: University of California Santa Barbara   The Isla Vista community in Santa Barbara has come together after the shooting rampage last week that took the lives of six students and injured 13 other people. Memorial shrines with flowers, messages, candles and photos were placed at the scenes where the violence was perpetrated, according to UCSB’s student newspaper, The Bottom Line. A candlelight vigil was held at the school on Saturday, May 24.
Addressing & Eliminating Labels “Do not define me by my clothes or the color of my skin”. These are the words that begin a powerful video titled, Labels. The video, created by Maneetpaul Singh, is a creative project featuring people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds, wearing a stereotype or label written on a piece of tape, covering their mouths. The video featured labels like “know it all,” “shy,” “prep,” and “terrorist,” among others. The opening and closing lines are from the poem that inspired Singh to embark on this project, written by Singh’s friend Bani Ahuja. The video ends with a woman, burning a piece of tape with the words “insert label here,” and the final words of the poem are narrated:   So take this label that I wear, Let it burn into the air, I am not the words that you assign, There’s so much more that meets the eye. Watch Maneetpaul Singh's video here., the digital home of Not In Our Town's films and resources as well as our community, school and law enforcement programs, just got a new look!  
Young community leaders gather for a photo at the 2006 Not In Our Town National Gathering. Photo by Jackson Hill.   Standing up to build hate-free communities is challenging work. The Not In Our Town National Leadership Gathering is an opportunity for community members and leaders to learn the concrete steps to build a diverse, thriving town. In this session, you will learn solutions needed in all communities: Turn apathy and complacency into energy Keep coalitions proactive Pass on the knowledge of veteran leaders turn them into mentors for youth Get civic and business leaders to join in community-based efforts Bring school boards on board to change school climate Understand and communicate the impact of hate incidents and bullying Turn your police department into hate-prevention leaders
Not In Our Town Bowling Green/BGSU is celebrating its first anniversary! We'll be joining Bowling Green, Ohio on Tuesday, April 15 to commemorate BGSU and the city of Bowling Green’s decision to come together to ensure inclusion, diversity, and social justice thrives in their community. The event will begin with a Diversity Showcase hosted by the Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate Student Senate with performances from singers, instrumentalists, rappers and spoken word poets. Later on we’ll be Breaking Down The Walls in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union where you can join others telling their story, filling out a brick and breaking down the barriers to leave the past behind. Finally, we’ll celebrate the one year anniversary of Bowling Green/BGSU Not In Our Town by recognizing Bowling Green's efforts. Speakers will include Not In Our Town producer Patrice O’Neill, BGSU president Mary Ellen Mazey, and Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards.
Become a Gold Star City   Your town can be a beacon of light for communities everywhere. The NIOT Gold Star Cities initiative recognizes NIOT communities that are making an ongoing commitment to safety, respect, and diversity for all. These selected cities will receive focused support, including training, mentorship, and peer-to-peer exchanges. The program is now in pilot phase, working with a select group of cities to test and refine the criteria and measures of success.  Learn more about the Gold Star Cities initiative and Phase 1 Gold Star City criteria by downloading this PDF. If your community is ready to make a long term commitment to stop hate and build inclusion, send an email to  For more information, please email    
  Source: Time.Com, Kristallnacht in Words and Photographs By Becki Cohn-Vargas, Not In Our School Director