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Not in Our Town


Source: The Working Group

Each of the episodes of the "Not in Our Town" series focuses on different communities and issues.

Disc 1:
Not in Our Town (25 minutes)
This episode of the television program “We Do the Work” focuses on Billings, Montana, which was heroic in its efforts to combat right-wing hate activity. Billings came to national attention in 1993 when anti-Semitic hate crimes during Chanukah were met by solidarity from the primarily non-Jewish community, who placed menorahs in their windows to show support for the targeted Jewish population. As other groups were targeted on the basis of race and sexual orientation, the community pulled together a broad coalition and slowly demonstrated to the Neo-Nazi groups that hate would not be tolerated in their town. Can be used with Chapter 12 of the Holocaust and Human Behavior resource book.

Not in Our Town II (58 minutes)   
This documentary is a sequel to “Not In Our Town.” In “Not in Our Town II,” the Billings story is briefly revisited, but the focus is on other communities across the U.S. who come together against hate crimes. Among the stories featured are the rebuilding efforts after a South Carolina church was burned for racially motivated reasons; Kokomo, Indiana, which organized a unity rally as a counter to a planned KKK march; and Medford, Oregon, where the community and schools held meetings after a lesbian couple was murdered because of their sexual orientation. This film examines the importance and powerful impact of ordinary citizens participating in their communities.

Not in Our Town: Across America (9 minutes)
This short film gives an overview of the Billings story, showing the national reach of the "Not in Our Town" movement and its adoption by towns, states, law enforcement, and citizens.

Disc 2:
Not in Our Town: Northern California: When Hate Happens Here (59 minutes)
This episode looks at five communities in California dealing with hate violence over a five-year period. After a transgender teen is killed by local youth in the Silicon Valley suburb of Newark, high school students, residents, and civic leaders struggle to deal with this brutal crime. Sacramento mobilizes after the worst anti-Semitic arson attacks take place in their history. Redding citizens find new strength in diversity after a prominent gay couple is murdered. The Shasta County town of Anderson joins forces to make their values clear when a cross is burned on an African American family's lawn. The San Francisco Public Library turns the mutilation of gay-themed books into an opportunity for creative community action. These stories focus on the crimes themselves, as well as the ways in which the communities mobilize to prevent additional hate crimes.

Disc 3:
Not in Our Town: Light in the Darkness (60 minutes)
This documentary follows the community of Patchogue, New York, in crisis after a fatal attack on a local immigrant resident in 2008. Stunned by the violence, diverse community stakeholders openly confront the crime and divisive atmosphere, committing to ongoing actions to prevent future hate crimes and intolerance.

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Democracy & Civic Engagement

Not in Our Town

Students read the story of a community's response to intolerance and discuss hate crimes and civic participation.

Antisemitism & Religious Intolerance

Not in Our Town

Consider how people get involved in movements by learning about how the people of Billings, Montana, reacted when hateful attacks started happening in their town.


Beyond Hate

Hate has many faces, but do we really understand its roots, and are there practical ways to cope with it? What is hate doing to us?

Antisemitism & Religious Intolerance

Not In Our Town: Billings, Montana

This short excerpt from the film “Not In Our Town” shows how ordinary citizens in Billings, Montana joined together to stand up to hate when their neighbors were under attack by white supremacists.

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