The Working Group, a U.S.-based media nonprofit, has launched a new social media initiative, Not In Our Town, designed to promote positive community responses to hate violence and prejudice. Born from the PBS documentary series of the same name, the site is based around an interactive map that indicates where recent hate crimes have occurred.
Registered users are encouraged to combat the hate by taking positive action in those same areas and letting the perpetrators know that hate doesn’t have a fighting chance in their zip code. The color-coded map gives you a stark visual of Good vs. Evil; green for good and red for bad.
Positive action can be accomplished by starting your own “Not In Our Town” (NIOT) group, organizing community events, or offering support to a victim of a hate crime.Â These items earn you a green dot on the map. For example, you can send a message to Joselo Lucero, an immigrant from Ecuador whose brother was stabbed to death as a result of an alleged hate crime on Long Island.
If you start a NIOT group, the Website gives you space to share news, events and multimedia with the entire community.
“Not in our Town allows people and communities who have experienced prejudice or violence to transcend the experience by connecting and learning from each other,” says Patrice O’Neill, the filmmaker who produced the 1995 PBS documentary about the residents of Billings, Montana that has spawned the franchise. “But Not in Our Town is also proactive, with an emphasis on prevention. The nationwide roll-out of our newest phase will enable people to recognize circumstances that are breeding grounds for prejudice…and prevent hatred from taking root.”
The site, which is now live, aims to open dialogue, encourage action and prove that everyone can make a difference and change the world.
New episodes of the documentary series hit PBS in spring 2011.