By Libby McInerny. Libby is Director of Strategic Partnerships and Campaign Development for Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness. She served as a key team member on the original 1995 and 1996 Not In Our Town campaigns.
Why You Should Watch This:
The rise of anti-immigrant violence is an urgent global problem threatening the fabric of community life everywhere, creating complex new challenges—and it is most intensely fought at the local level.
In 2008, a series of attacks by a group of seven local teenagers against Latino residents of Patchogue, NY ended with the killing of 37-year-old resident Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant who had lived in the town for 13 years. Tonight, PBS will broadcast Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness which follows Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri, Joselo Lucero (the victim’s brother), community leaders, residents and students as they address the underlying causes of the violence, work to heal divisions, and take steps to ensure everyone in their Long Island community will be safe and respected.
The Not In Our Town (NIOT) movement to fight hate launched in 1995 with a PBS documentary that told the story of Billings, Montana residents who joined together to respond to a series of hate crimes in their town. NIOT set out to find a story of action and leadership to serve as a model for people confronting these new challenges. “Light in the Darkness” is that story.
This trailer introduces a few of the Patchogue residents featured in the documentary and poses the essential question: “If this were your town, what would you do?”
- Title: Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness
- National PBS Broadcast: September 21, 2011- Check local listings.
- Length: 1 hour
- Who made it: Not In Our Town/The Working Group, Patrice O’Neill, Director
- Location: Oakland, CA, USA
- Human Rights Issues: Fighting Hate & Promoting Safe, Inclusive Communities
The Light in the Darkness film and campaign are meant to provide a blueprint for people who want to do somethingbefore intolerance turns to violence. Tonight’s broadcast anchors the National Week of Action, September 18-24, which kicks off a multi-year national engagement campaign to help communities respond to and prevent anti-immigrant violence and hate crimes targeting any population.
Not In Our Town seeks to connect with the broadest audience possible, so the film intentionally highlights a diverse range of Patchogue residents who took action after Lucero’s murder. Civic leaders, the victim’s brother, students, local police officers, faith leaders, librarians, a radio DJ, and a group of quilters provide specific examples of how everyday people can stand up and take a leadership role to effect change in their own communities and schools.
The message of this film and the ongoing Not In Our Town project is: Hate is a community challenge, not simply a criminal issue. Everyday people must have a voice in their communities, and stand together to protect the rights and safety of all residents.
Join the Discussion:
On the NIOT website, viewers can access material for follow-up, including “Six Ways to Take Action” and a discussion guide. You can also organize screenings in your own community with our screening kit or find locations where the film is being screened. Moreover, there are additional links that offer action ideas such as non-violent rallies, government resolutions, and community-building projects, including library reading groups.