While the rest of the world turns to Brazil and the World Cup for soccer this week, we share this great story from Nashville, TN, where a diverse group of players came together on the field. Not In Our Town partnered with Nashville Public Television’s “Ten Days of Peace” activities on the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. This short film illustrates how peaceful activities can go a long way toward building bridges and creating community. InterFACE Ministries hosted soccer games that brought together soccer enthusiasts from around the globe. Rather than letting national, religious, or cultural differences create divisions, the players from Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Bosnia, and Nashville were able to bond using the common language of their love of soccer. One player from Nashville reflected on his 16-year friendship with a Rwandan teammate, saying, “You just go out and play, and through those interactions you form pretty deep bonds.”
Not in Our Town staff is gearing up for some big events in Morgantown and Charleston, WV next week. In the meantime, we offer a tip of the hat to folks at West Virginia University (in Morgantown), who have put together the "One WVU" campaign that celebrates the diversity on campus and makes clear that bigotry will not be tolerated. The campaign was initiated by WVU soccer coach Marlon LeBlanc. The coach responded to an incident where one of his team's players, who is black, was showered with racial epithets by youth in a passing car. The One WVU campaign has been embraced by university authorities who now sponsor an annual diversity week that boasts more than 40 events. The videos below were produced by the One WVU campaign. Patrice O'Neill, executive producer of the Working Group, will travel the state to talk about creative efforts to build safe, hate-free communities. MORGANTOWN EVENT:Where: WVU Mountainlair Gluck TheaterWhen: 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 CHARLESTON EVENTS:When: Wednesday, November 4th, 2009Where: 3 p.m. Charleston Area Alliance, 1116 Smith StreetWhere: 7 p.m. YWCA of Charleston, 1114 Quarrier St.