'This Saturday, just two days before the federal Martin Luther King jr. holiday, the community in Billings, Mt. gathered amid freezing temperatures for the first and largest community photo.
"As we sat back and thought about events we could do to celebrate Dr. King and his spirit, we were thinking about the ‘I have a dream' speech," NIOT-Billings chair Eran Thompson told the Billings Gazette. "This is Dr. King's idea, to see the community come together, every race, religion, creed and color, just come together and be neighbors. And so we're going to take a picture."
The community photo is the first of what Thompson hopes will be an annual event. This event is part of the larger "I Am Billings" campaign, promoting diversity in this Montana town.
The community photo comes after the group's Summit on Hate in November, which brought together community leaders to discuss and seek solutions for a resurgence of hate violence. As the original Not In Our Town group, NIOT-Billings has been proactively fighting hate and building community for years, and their story continues to inspire towns across the U.S. to stand up to hate.
The photo session was also sponsored by the Black Heritage Foundation and Montana State University Billings, which held other events honoring Dr. King this weekend.
Here is a video from KTVQ of the event: