JACL Joins with ‘Not in Our Town’ to Combat Violence Against Immigrants

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WASHINGTON — The JACL is partnering with the Not in Our Town project to join communities across the country who are using a new PBS documentary to find ways to prevent hate crimes and anti- immigrant violence.

“Not in Our Town: Light in the Darkness” tells the story of residents of a Long Island village taking action after a local immigrant is killed in a hate crime attack by seven teenagers. While starkly revealing the trauma of hate, the film provides a blueprint for people who want to do something before intolerance turns to violence. The film airs nationwide on PBS stations on Sept. 21 (check local listings).

“The documentary shows how a town combats the stigma of racism,” said JACL Midwest Director Bill Yoshino, “while providing a safe surrounding for all its residents to live without fear.”

As part of Not in Our Town National Week of Action, Sept. 18-24, communities throughout the country will host screenings, events and discussions on hate crime prevention, working to develop new ways to make their towns safer.

In 2008, a series of attacks by a group of seven local teenagers against Latino residents of the Long Island, N.Y. town of Patchogue ended with the killing of 37-year-old Marcelo Lucero. An Ecuadorian immigrant, Lucero had been a Patchogue resident for 13 years.

Filmed over a two-year period, the documentary follows Mayor Paul Pontieri, the victim’s brother, Joselo Lucero, community leaders, residents and students as they openly address the underlying causes of the violence, work to heal divisions, and take steps to ensure everyone in their village will be safe and respected.

Developed by The Working Group in 1995, Not in Our Town began with a PBS documentary that told the story of how people in Billings, Mont., joined together to respond to a series of hate crimes in their town. This simple, powerful story of people banding together struck a chord with audiences, and created a model that inspired viewers around the country to hold their own campaigns against intolerance. Not in Our Town has grown into a national effort to connect people working together to take action against hate and create safe, inclusive communities.

Go online to http://niot.org to:

–       Request a “Not in Our Town: Light in the Darkness” DVD screening kit, publicity materials and discussion guide;

–       Learn about activity ideas for Not in Our Town Week of Action, and download free resources you can use for your events;

–       Get campaign updates, put yourself on the anti-hate action map, and post stories about your town.

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