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Not In Our Town

Every Hanukkah, we are reminded of the incredible courage of those who stand up for their neighbors. On one bitterly cold night, a brick was thrown through a 6-year-old Jewish boy's bedroom window, where he had placed the family's Hanukkah menorah. The anti-Semitic incident was one of several hateful acts in Billings, MT that year, including skinheads at an African-American church, racist hate messages on a Native-American woman's home, and the desecration of the Jewish cemetery. The community responded by saying, "Not In Our Town." In an act of solidarity, nearly 10,000 Billings residents hung paper menorahs in their windows. This Hanukkah story is part of our origin story here at the Not In Our Town project. Today, please remember the Billings story with us.     Happy Holidays. 
This is the second year in a row that Lancaster's students, teachers and parents have celebrated the start of Bullying Prevention Month in their city. Dozens turned out to watch their mayor and city council sign a Not in Our Town proclamation declaring Lancaster's schools a safe zone from intolerance and hate. Check out the full story in The Antelope Valley Times. Just like last year, Mayor R. Rex Harris joined with local school district administrators to officially sign the proclamation that challenges local leaders and students to stand up to bullying in their schools. Here's the full proclamation: WHEREAS schools make substantial contributions to the future of America and to the development of our young people as responsible and productive citizens; and
That's why we talk. That's why we have dialogue: to learn about the things that we are unaware, they said. We all come from different backgrounds, and it takes a collective effort to weave a tapestry that paints an accurate portrait of our community.  By David Alexander, Staff Writer at the Times-Republican Sister Chris Feagan said people are like M&Ms: they come in a variety of colors, but they are all the same inside.
If you've been following our Facebook page, you know we have been in Marshalltown, Iowa—twice! This city of 28,000 residents is taking a proactive stance to preventing hate and bullying, bringing the entire town together to say, "Not In Our Town." Here are some images from these exciting events in Marshalltown. Interested in starting your own Not In Our Town campaign? Find Marshalltown, Iowa resources in the Not In Our Town Action Kit to adapt for your community.
As part of their Not In Our Town campaign, Marshalltown, Iowa, created orange Not In Our Town T-Shirts to unify the movement and allow participants to show their support for the anti-bullying efforts in Marshalltown. The Not In Our Town community dons these shirts at events such as the Aug. 30, 2012 rally at the Marshall County Courthouse, and "orange-out" at a football game in September.  Interested in personalized t-shirts for your Not In Our Town or Not In Our School campaign? Visit our store. 
Thank you for your interest in writing for the blog. Like our films, our blog features stories, solutions and discussions relevant to those who are working together to make their towns and schools safe and inclusive for all. We are interested in blog posts that address or model the following: What communities and schools can do when hate comes to town What communities and schools can do to prevent hate, bias and intolerance Student led anti-bullying and anti-bias activities, programs, and solutions Anti-hate or anti-bias activities or campaigns in communities and towns The role of educators, civic leaders, law enforcement and/or interfaith leaders in the fight against hate and intolerance Supporting victims of hate The hate crime reporting gap Guest posts should: Be useful to the Not In Our Town community Not be self-promotional or include marketing links, though authors may link back to their site in their author bio (see below) Be original, and include hyperlinks to source all facts quoted in the blog post Length: 500-750 words
Executive Producer Patrice O'Neill and film crew sit with local Marshalltownnewspaper, the Times-Republican, Wednesday, Aug. 29. Photo Courtesyof Times-Republican. This week, we join Marshalltown, Iowa to celebrate the city’s Not In Our Town campaign. Tomorrow at noon, Marshalltown’s Not In Our Town committee will host a rally on the Marshall County Courthouse lawn, where hundreds donned in orange Not In Our Town T-shirts will meet to support the efforts against bullying. Our camera crews are in Marshalltown now to help support as well as document the movement. At the rally, Executive Producer Patrice O’Neill will send greetings from the Not In Our Town community, while Marshalltown Mayor pro-tem Bethany Wirin will present a proclamation supporting Not In Our Town. Meanwhile, participants can sign pledge cards against bullying.
                  When Susan Guess of Paducah, KY learned that her 8-year-old daughter was being bullied by a classmate, she was devastated. “I’m a 37-year-old mom, with a very close and open relationship with my child, yet she kept that information private from me,” she said. Guess asked her daughter Morgan what was going on and was finally told the truth about being bullied at school. “This was an eye opening experience about how little I and the school knew about bullying,” Guess said. “There was so much ignorance.” Guess became increasingly concerned about her child and other children who suffer in silence, so she and Morgan decided to open the conversation about bullying and share their story. Guess met with school leaders to raise awareness about the growing problem of bullying at their school. She also launched an anti-bullying campaign that would raise money to bring the film Bully and Director Lee Hirsch to their town.
My name is Eran Thompson; I serve as Board Chairman for Not In Our Town Billings. The story of my community's stand against hate was the spark for the worldwide movement that is Not In Our Town.'s contribution to this movement: documenting the stories, creating videos that tell the stories, discussion guides, blog posts, etc. have become an invaluable asset in my organization's work to create a safe, inclusive community. Last month, I visited the Not In Our Town offices in Oakland. We talked at length about how to expand the Not In Our Town Network and movement. As a leader of one of the NIOT communities, I pledged the following:
Today we would like to share with you a note from one of our monthly donors. Kathryn is a retired teacher from Oregon, and she has been sending us a monthly donation since October 2011. Inside this colorful card, Kathryn addresses Not In Our Town Executive Producer Patrice O'Neill and our team.  We are so grateful to all of our supporters for helping to make this work possible. We invite you to join Kathryn and our other regular donors by making a monthly contribution to Not In Our Town. Dear Patrice and the rest of the Working Group,