- Group Name: Not In Our Town Billings
- Location: Billings, MT
- Links: NIOT Billings | NIOT Billings on Facebook | NIOT Billings on Twitter
- Origin: The original NIOT community. Formed in 1994 when a racist threw a brick through a Jewish family’s window, where a Menorah was displayed for Chanukah.
- Membership: About 12 members at monthly meetings and 50 dues-paying members.
- Structure of group: Board of Directors with 9 members, including 4 officers. 4 Committees with chairperson. Applying for 501(c)(3).
- Regular meetings: Meeting: first Wednesday of each month, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm, 2nd floor of the GW Building (2722 3rd Avenue North). All interested individuals encouraged to attend.
Activities, Challenges & Lesssons Learned
Recent actions include “eat-ins” at six minority-owned restaurants in response to hate related vandalism and graffiti, working with citizens to pick up flyers dropped by white supremacist groups, workshops on diversity at MSU-Billings in conjunction with the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, and keeping NIOT Billings booth at local events and festivals.
We have white supremacist groups in our community. We do not have a Hate Crime Ordinance that includes sexual orientation. We struggle to get information from our police department. Our school district is not allowing the Not In Our Schools program in their curriculum.
We were able to negotiate continuing education credit for Montana’s licensed teachers, social workers, therapists and others for attending our one-day workshop on diversity issues. We have a board of directors that is willing to continually give of their time and resources, and have successfully partnered with faith and civic groups that share our interests and goals. We’ve learned to react quickly to every opportunity when we are asked to give a presentation or to be part of an event, and maintain a good relationship with the local press and providr press releases for all of our events.
Faith groups, including Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Billings, Mayflower Congressional Church, Beth Aaron Congregation, First United Methodist Church and All Nations Church; The Black Heritage Foundation; Pride Foundation, Billings PFLAG and Yellowstone AIDS Project; Civic groups; The March Against Drugs and Violence; Schools and colleges, including Montana State University Billings, Rocky Mountain College, the Yellowstone Academy and Laurel Middle School; The Billings Police Department.