Not In Our Town
Michelle Gahee Kloss directs Not In Our Town’s Community Engagement efforts. Formerly a New York-based producer and writer, Michelle has produced media projects for such varied broadcast entities as CourtTV, Viacom, Discovery Networks, Sony Pictures and Columbia Tri-Star Television, as well as independent documentary projects. She is also a widely published journalist with credits from publications such as The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. In 2007 she transitioned to philanthropic work leading the non-profit communications efforts and directing the campaign at the Cal Alumni Association to create a merit-based scholarship for underrepresented minority students at UC Berkeley. Additionally, she has taught a race relations seminar at UC Berkeley. Specializing in media, law, social and organizational issues, Michelle is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and Howard University School of Law and she has taught at colleges in Los Angeles and New York City. She is also a Duke University certified Integrative Health and Life coach.
In April, Not In Our Town conducted seven workshops in Hungary, meeting with the local media, community members, police recruits, students and documentary filmmakers. The tour was sponsored by Central European University and the U.S. and Norwegian embassies.
Bowling Green State University students, faculty, and community members launched a Not In Our Town Campaign after a series of racially charged tweets spurred the community into action. After two incidents of hate speech earlier this school year, a number of inappropriate tweets came to light after a group of African-American students visited a local bar on April 4, immediately sparking a response from the Black Student Union, according to the BG News.
On April 5, 2012, Ohio State University’s Black Cultural Center was vandalized with the words “Long Live Zimmerman,” referring to shooter George Zimmerman, who shot unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin. This incident of hate brought to light concerns of safety and inclusion, and lead to the creation of the No Place For Hate Task Force. In this article, which is republished with permission from college newpaper, The Lantern, editor Caitlin Essig describes the work of the No Place For Hate Task Force and its role in the Ohio State community. The words “Long Live Zimmerman” spray-painted on the side of the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center on Ohio State’s campus caused a ripple effect. A task force was formed to combat hate on campus, and a year later, it has accomplished some of its goals. The painted words were discovered the morning of April 5, 2012, on the west exterior wall of Hale Hall. Roughly a month earlier, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla. Officials said the words were likely spray-painted on Hale Hall in response to the incident.
Not In Our Town Executive Producer Patrice O’Neill will join other change-makers at the 10th Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. The Skoll World Forum brings together nearly 1,000 entrepreneurs and innovators from the social, finance private and public sections to Oxford University to discuss solutions to social challenges. Patrice is one of four Media Advisors to the Sundance Institute’s Stories of Change delegation to the Skoll World Forum. Learn more about the incredible work of the Skoll World Forum.
From Cleveland.com: The North Royalton Early Childhood PTA and students from the Early Childhood Center provide some community service for their peers in Newtown, CT By Becki Cohn-Vargas, Not In Our School Director After the massacre in Newtown, the National PTA launched a campaign to send snowflakes to Sandy Hook School. The result: thousands of snowflakes from all over the United States were delivered as a message of empathy and blanketed the grieving community.
The Not In Our Town production crew just returned from Oak Creek, Wisconsin, where we experienced one of the most moving stories we've followed. Oak Creek residents are standing up for each other, providing a powerful example of a community coming together after a devastating hate crime took the lives of six members of the Sikh community in August 2012.
How can Marshalltown, Iowa sustain and build on the Not In Our Town efforts launched in 2012, so the community can achieve lasting change? That was the big question a group of more than 20 civic leaders gathered to discuss at their first-ever retreat held at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Marshalltown. The group invited speakers from three areas their campaign to stop bullying was working to address: Schools, Home, Community and Workplace. Non-profit and advocacy organizations from Immigrant Allies, Domestic Violence advocates, the school district and chamber of commerce presented needs to the group for support and action. Not In Our Town Executive Producer Patrice O'Neill and evaluation coach and consultant Grace Carroll were there to observe and told the group that their efforts would be watched and shared with communities nationwide. They presented ideas for benchmarks that are particular to Marshalltown, but also universal for other towns who may want to strive for Gold Star City status on the NIOT.org map.
Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Photo by Jennell Jenney. We could have never guessed a single story would launch a movement. Nearly 20 years ago, The Working Group sent a film crew to Billings, MT, to document a story about ordinary people who stood up for their neighbors when they were under attack by white supremacists.