Not In Our Town: Class Actions Community Screening Guide
Not In Our Town: Class Actions is a PBS documentary about student leaders working together with community members to create change in the wake of racism, anti-Semitism, and the traumatic consequences of bullying.
These stories of courageous, innovative action in three American towns show how communities are vital partners for young leaders stepping up to confront intolerance and affirm the core values of their communities.
This guide outlines tips community members and organizations can use to plan a local Not In Our Town: Class Actions screening event.
A Class Actions screening is an opportunity to bring together your diverse community to tackle the problem of bullying and intolerance, learn from one another, and work towards safety and inclusion for all.
1) Reach out to build your audience
If you’re part of a community group, remember to include youth in your list of invitees. Class Actions tells the story of young leaders playing a key role in organizing their community’s response to divisive and harmful practices. Ask students and youth groups to help plan and take part in the screening discussion.
If you’re part of a youth-led group, remember that Class Actions features a range of people taking positive action against bullying and intolerance. Use the characters in the film as a starting point for building your audience, and reach out to educators, campus groups, longtime residents, law enforcement, elected officials, and faith leaders in your town.
2) Partner with local groups
A screening of Class Actions is also an opportunity to build connections among diverse groups in your town. Reach out to diverse members of your community, including civil rights groups, faith groups, student groups, service organizations, PTAs, public media outlets, unions, museums, and libraries. These organizations can help promote your screening by word of mouth, events, newsletters, blogs, and social media.
3) Select a facilitator
Facilitators can help the audience understand the lessons of the film and move to taking action in their community. A good facilitator is articulate, aware of the subject, familiar with the community, and maintains a positive tone without getting derailed by individuals or groups with other agendas. A good facilitator promotes constructive discussion without taking over.
4) Choose a central, accessible venue
Consider your local library or public media station as a potential screening venue. Other accessible locations include local theaters, university/college lecture halls, school auditoriums, churches and synagogues, union halls, public media, and government buildings.
In addition to physical accessibility, consider language accessibility for members of the community who may attend. An interpreter should be used if there are non-English speakers in your audience or your facilitator(s) cannot speak the languages represented in your audience.
5) Spread the word
- Personal invitations: Bring along event flyers to recruit in gathering places such as cafes, libraries, sporting events, or other public spots. Ask representatives from partner organizations to personally invite their constituents, coworkers, families, neighbors, and friends and announce the event in newsletters, websites, and bulletin boards.
- Flyers: Post announcements in places where a cross-section of your community gathers, like your local post office, grocery store, mall, community center or town hall. Visit the Screening Kit page for flyers and graphics to use in your outreach.
- Local media: Promote your screening with calendar listings and articles in your local newspaper, local news blogs and websites, community and ethnic press, and on radio. Find out from your local media how long before your event they need information, and send them a press release in time. Be sure to invite reporters and bloggers to cover the screening.
Sample Class Actions screening press release [Word Document]
- Email and social media: Send out two email reminders: the first at least 4-5 weeks in advance of your event, and then a reminder several days before. Posting your screening as a Facebook event and sharing it with your contacts can also help spread the word.
7) Move from dialogue to action
The goal of Not In Our Town screenings and discussions is to spark long-term community efforts to create safe, inclusive environments for everyone. Let your screening attendees know that this is just a beginning. Here are other ideas for taking action in your town:
Organize a rally or vigil in support of safety and acceptance for everyone
Create a civic proclamation opposing hatred and affirming inclusion
Create a school proclamation opposing bullying and intolerance
Organize a community photo
Start a “One Book/One Community” club with your local library
Get to know your neighbors at a potluck or event
For more information and tips on planning these activities, visit NIOT.org/ClassActions or email email@example.com.
1. Preliminary planning – 4-5 weeks before
Book the venue and decide on a date for your screening.
Determine event facilitator, speakers and panelists.
Reach out to partner organizations.
2. Logistics and initial outreach – 3-4 weeks before
Visit our Screening Kit section for graphics you can use to publicize your screening.
Use our sample press release with your local press, including print, radio, television, blogs, ethnic & community media. Download a sample press release here.
Secure a Class Actions DVD and other audio-visual equipment
Create an agenda for your event.
3. Continued planning – 2 weeks before
Create an email announcement about your event. Send your first email 2 weeks before, and a follow-up announcement 2-3 days before the screening. Download a sample email announcement here.
Contact community calendars about your screening.
4. Media outreach – 10 days before
Send out press releases to media outlets. Download a sample press release here.
Make calls to local television and radio programs.
5. Final planning – 3-4 days before
Set up your DVD and projector and test screen your DVD.
Send your second email announcement.
Follow-up with local press about event details.
6. Finalize your agenda. 2-3 days before
Make copies of materials to distribute at the event.
7. At your screening:
Encourage people to sign up for your email list as they arrive.
Have a timekeeper so that everyone stays within their allotted time.
Enlist a note-taker to write down next steps.
Have information about partner organizations and anti-hate groups available as a resource if people are inspired to take action.
8. Share your story
After your screening, tell us what you’ve done! Visit niot.org/classactions to post details about your event, post photos on the NIOT Facebook page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also learn from groups around the country who are starting their own Not In Our Town community campaigns.
Adapted from Out in the Silence Event Planning Checklist. Used with permission.