Not In Our Town: Juneau

In the spring of 2009, the Juneau Human Rights Commission showed the video Not In Our Town to start a discussion about prejudice and discrimination in general and about specific incidents in Juneau. Now they're working on the next step: setting up a local coalition on human rights.
The members of the Juneau Human Rights Commission have been working this past year on developing a Juneau Human Rights coalition of organizations and individuals here in Juneau. Juneau has many people of different ethnic origins and nationalities whom, in the past, have been victims of discrimination. Nationally, there has been an increase in groups promoting hate crimes towards racial minorities, gays and lesbians, and those of different religions and ethnic backgrounds. Bullying in schools has continued to plague communities around the country. To counter these concerns and to develop opportunity for dialogue among our citizens, the Juneau Human Rights Commission proposes to develop a local Human Rights Coalition.

The impetus for this has come from the efforts of the people in Billings, Montana, to confront hate crimes in the late 1980's and early 1990's. When violence against racial, ethnic and religious minorities exploded in Billings, the people of that city, through various groups and as individuals, drew together to demonstrate their belief in the pluralistic values that have been the bedrock of our nation. They dubbed their efforts, "Not In Our Town". Since then, "Not In Our Town" has become a national movement emulated in communities and cities across the country.

The Commission members here in Juneau want to foster that movement here in Juneau for many reasons. We want to foster a high level of understanding, support and acceptance of all members of our community. We want there to be a forum where issues can be discussed. We want to support the school district in its efforts at reducing bullying in the schools.

To better understand the nature of such a coalition and how it functions, we have invited Eran Thompson to speak at the Egan Library on the evening of November 3. Eran is from Billings, and while he wasn't there during the initial period of the early 1990's, Eran is current president of their "Not in Our Town" coalition. He will speak on the formation of the coalition, what it does, who belongs, how it relates to the community, and how it provides a forum for issues that Billings confronts.
This Not In Our Town video is an excerpt from a program they produced about communities uniting against hate.

No comments:

Copyright © 2008 by Bent Alaska.