NIOT Leaders Work to End Hate, Intolerance - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

NIOT Leaders Work to End Hate, Intolerance

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Not in Our Town's National Leadership Gathering is taking place right here in the Magic City, the birthplace of the movement.

People from 46 cities and 21 states came to Billings for the meeting.

"These communities in this room can unlock some of the deepest challenges of hate in our country,” says Patrice O’Neill, NIOT’s executive producer and CEO. “That’s what's so exciting about being here. The innovation that is coming out of these towns is remarkable. Not every answer has to come from Washington, or Los Angeles, or New York. Small towns and small cities can really make this change."

This isn't the first time Patrice O'Neill has made the trip from Oakland, CA to Billings. She produced a Not In Our Town national series, after hearing a Billings story of a brick thrown through the bedroom window of a 6-year-old boy, who had a menorah sitting in that window.

"People all over the country planned events and town hall meetings with this film,” O’Neill says. “What was amazing is they didn't just want to talk about what happened in Billings. They wanted to talk about their own community. So a movement was born."

O’Neill says the gathering launches the gold star cities campaign, honoring cities and towns making a commitment to create diverse and thriving communities.

"So this is something that cities across the country can sign up for and say, okay give me this challenge,” she says about the campaign. “Here’s the criteria. What do I do to start making my town more welcoming for everyone?"

She hopes that by bringing leaders together they can come up with solutions to end hate and intolerance in schools and communities.

The film is being shown at the Babcock Theater Saturday night at 7:30.