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In response to Charleston, “Not in Out Town” CEO and Filmmaker urges communities to act locally to stop hate

 “Now more than ever, our communities need to come together to resist hate and intolerance” said Patrice O’Neill, co-founder and Executive Producer of the Oakland-based non-profit production company, The Working Group.

aboutpatriceIn the aftermath of the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston that killed nine people, including Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, a South Carolina state senator, CEO Patrice O’Neill is galvanizing the Not In Our Town (NIOT) network to make sure their work against hate, bigotry and racism is mobilizing at the local level.  In city after city and across the nation, O’Neill has been a leader in the movement to educate and inspire action against hate crimes for over 20 years.

“Our hearts go out to the families of the nine people who lost their lives, and to the community of Charleston. We are heartsick and outraged at the racism that led to this mass killing. But the act of domestic terrorism in Charleston is also a call for us all to stand up to hate in our own cities,” said O’Neill. “Not In Our Town communities are joining with African American churches, faith, civic and law enforcement leaders to mourn for Charleston, and make sure all feel safe from hate in their towns.” 

Not In Our Town (NIOT) is a vital network of community members, activists, city and faith leaders, and law enforcement agencies who are committed to stopping the spread of hate. The NIOT.org website recently posted a blog, After Charleston: Three Ways to Stop Hate, with tips and tools for anyone looking to organize their own campaign in response to the tragedy in Charleston. NIOT groups across the country are answering the call, rallying their own communities to take action.

“The solution to hate violence lies with all of us. We’ve seen that together, communities can create an atmosphere where hate and bigotry are made unacceptable, and where young people learn to respect differences – not fear them. No hate, no fear, no violence; Not In Our Town,” O’Neill said.

For over 20 years, O’Neill and the Not in Our Town team have produced compelling  PBS films and media, to promote conversations and move people to take a stand against hate crimes. And O’Neill has personally travelled the country filming and interviewing courageous victims, as well as community and civic leaders who have moved their towns to take action. 

Not in Our Town’s most recent film, Waking in Oak Creek, tells the inspiring story of how an entire community rallied behind Sikh leaders to transform their town after six worshipers were killed by a white supremacist at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in August 2012.

NIOT is also currently working with the Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Service to release a series of films on how law enforcement and communities can work together to prevent hate crimes.

About Not In Our Town                                                     

Developed in 1995 by Oakland California-based nonprofit strategic media company, The Working Group, Not In Our Town is a movement to stop hate, address bullying, and build safe, inclusive communities for all. NIOT films, new media, and organizing tools help local leaders build vibrant, diverse cities and towns, where everyone can participate.

Learn more at www.NIOT.org.