Working closely alongside Facing History and Ourselves, Not in Our School spent the past year documenting student efforts to address issues of concern in their schools. From posting positive messages on Facebook to taking on a social action project or simply speaking out against bullying, students across the nation have taken a step towards tolerance and acceptance with the guidance of their teachers. Thanks to support from the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, we produced five short films with accompanying Facing History lesson guides that address issues such as cyberbullying--and highlight peer-to-peer solutions. To view the films and the accompanying lesson guides, follow the links below: Students Take On Cyberbullying A Facebook campaign to spread positive messages, invented to counter cyberbullying by Watchung, N.J. students. Stand Up, Stand Out: No Checking, No Capping, No Bullying
Not In Our Town
In addition to our films, we would like to introduce you to the Not In Our Town community of leaders like you who are working for vibrant, diverse communities where hate crimes are not just responded to, but prevented; and where people work together to address the everyday issues of intolerance. First time on the site? Here's how you can get started: Check our our how-to section for a step-by-step tutorial on how to sign up and join or start groups on NIOT.org. A story can open up a conversation with neighbors Can a film help people change their town? Yes it can. The original Not In Our Town film is a perfect example. Now, there are more than 60 films on NIOT.org/videos that can be downloaded for free and used in community meetings. Here are a few videos to get you started:
A woman attends the vigil honoring Marcelo Lucero. Featured in our film, Light in the Darkness, which premiered nationally on PBS in September. At a moment when our country is deeply divided and facing financial stress and crisis, we need the narratives that can lead us away from blame and scapegoating toward the better angels of our nature. We share stories about people like you who are willing to stand up for their neighbors. Our goal is to support the amazing force of people who stand up to hate and intolerance and work to create better, safer, more inclusive places for all of us to live together. And we're proud of our contributions to this effort in 2011.
“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.
Right before the Thanksgiving holiday, we shipped off our next film, Not In Our Town: Class Actions to PBS. Not in Our Town: Class Actions features three stories of students and their communities standing together to stop hate and bullying. Premieres on PBS stations in 2012. Fifty years after James Meredith became the first black student at the segregated University of Mississippi, football fans resurface the chant, “The South will rise again.” Student leaders confront the divisive practice, sparking a campus visit from the Ku Klux Klan and a peaceful counter demonstration led by the student organization One Mississippi. Photo Credit: William Bender The college town of Bloomington, Ind., shocked after a Korean student was murdered by a white supremacist a decade ago, bands together again after anti-Semitic attacks on the eve of Hanukkah. Photo Credit: Bloomington Herald Times
Mayors of neighboring communities, Sid Espinosa of Palo Alto and Jac Seigel of Mountain VIew, collaborated in hosting a screening of Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness in Los Altos Hills, Calif. Local lawyer and avid film critic James Quillinan shares his review of the film from a screening in which more than 50 supporters attended.
On Sept. 21—the day our film, Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness premiered on PBS—San Francisco declared it Not In Our Town Day. The proclamation, signed by San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee, was presented to Not In Our Town Executive Director Jonathan Bernstein at a special Human Rights Commission meeting last night. The City and County of San Francisco's Human Rights Commission had called the meeting to explore hate crime trends and anti-bullying efforts. The proclamation states that: "Not In Our Town has motivated thousands of people to develop their own initiatives to overpower hateful actions and voices in our communities" and "the City and County of San Francisco is proud to recognize Not In Our Town's Week of Action, which takes place from September 18-24, during which time people across the country are taking action to build communities that are inclusive for everyone." For Bernstein, the proclamation will encourage others to speak out against hatred.
Not In Our Town remembers philanthropist David Logan for his contributions to the arts and to journalism. Logan died on Jan. 22, 2011 at the age of 93. Friends and family members attended a memorial service that was held in Logan's honor in Chicago this past weekend. Among his many accomplishments is the creative and financial support given through his foundation, the Reva and David Logan Foundation, to the arts, education, and to providing countless platforms for social change. Through his foundation, Logan has truly left a footprint in the world of journalism by providing funding for the nonprofit Center of Investigative Reporting, for PBS’s “Frontline,” and by endowing a chair in investigative reporting at the University of California-Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. The foundation also supported Not In Our Town's mission. Logan is survived by his wife, Reva, as well as his three sons, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
The Not In Our Town movement has spanned more than 15 years and has included the grassroots efforts of communities fighting hate across the country. We've compiled this podcast—available to listen here or to download on your MP3 player—based on our Link TV special that chronicles our history from Billings, Mont. to the launch of NIOT.org in April 2010. From Link TV: Inspired by the story of Billings, Montana, where people took action every time a hate crime occurred, communities across the country are standing up to hate. Through creative and innovative actions, they are making their towns more safe and inclusive for everyone. * Fremont, CA: After a fatal attack, community members send a powerful message of support to their Muslim neighbors. * Kansas City, MO: When an African American teen is set on fire, a group of ministers comes to his aid. * From East Cleveland, OH, to Palo Alto, CA, students address bullying and stereotypes in Not In Our School campaigns.