Friday, September 16, 2011

PFLAG National Joins with Not In Our Town for National Week of Action: Communities Stand Together Against Hate

"Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness" is a powerful new PBS documentary about a town standing together to take action after anti-immigrant violence devastates the community, thrusting them into the media spotlight. The film airs nationwide on PBS stations September 21st  (check local listings). PFLAG National is joining with Not In Our Town to launch a campaign to help communities and schools use the film and related resources to prevent hate crimes and intolerance.

Many of us live every day knowing such brutality could strike our child, loved one or friend. PFLAG has a critical role to play in helping prevent hate crime in our communities, and chapters across the country. The key is EDUCATION!

A public screening event is a productive way to engage and rejuvenate community members, and an effective tool for reaching out to and establishing new community partners. To sign up to host a community screening event during the National Week of Action, September 18 – 24, or any time this year, please visit

A Discussion Guide and Screening Kit are available for free download, and activity ideas to galvanize  and energize your community are provided. As of today, more than 180 screenings are in the works!

Hate is a community challenge, not simply a criminal issue; it is essential that diverse coalitions work together and stand up for the rights and safety of all residents. PFLAG joins a growing list of national campaign partners that includes: American Federation of Teachers; Hillel; Interfaith Alliance; Interfaith Immigration Coalition; Japanese American Citizens League; Muslim Public Affairs Council; National Hispanic Media Coalition; National League of Cities; and the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Services, among many others.

It is important to recognize the intersection of identity and how this relates to our families. In particular, Latino and immigrant LGBT people face a unique situation, living with the reality of being targets of hate crimes due to national origin, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

More about “Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness”
In 2008, a series of attacks by a group of seven local teenagers against Latino residents of the Long Island, New York 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. While starkly revealing the trauma of hate, “Not In Our town: Light in the Darkness” provides a blueprint for people who want to do something before intolerance turns to violence.

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, Montana 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 from a PBS documentary into a national effort to connect people working together to take action against hate and create safe, inclusive communities. features short videos, text-based lessons and other resources available for free download, to help people respond to and prevent intolerance and hate violence targeting people because of their race, ethnicity, nationality, faith or sexual orientation. The Not In Our School initiative highlights new ways to make our schools safe for everyone: