Not In Our Town Princeton

Sister Citizen: Melissa Harris Perry on October 16

The members of Not In Our Town welcome MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY back to Princeton on Sunday, October 16th at 2:00 p.m.  Professor Harris -Perry will be at the Princeton Public Library discussing her latest book, SISTER CITIZEN: Shame Stereotypes, and Black Women in America. Melissa Harris-Perry is a professor of political science at Tulane University. She was formerly an associate professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University (2006–2010).  While Ms. Harris-Perry was at Princeton she led and participated in programs co-sponsored by Not in Our Town Princeton. 
Her newest book, SISTER CITIZEN  (according to a description on the book on “uses multiple methods of inquiry, including literary analysis, political theory, focus groups, surveys, and experimental research, to understand more deeply black women’s political and emotional responses to pervasive negative race and gender images. Not a traditional political science work concerned with office-seeking, voting, or ideology, Sister Citizen instead explores how African American women understand themselves as citizens and what they expect from political organizing. Harris-Perry shows that the shared struggle to preserve an authentic self and secure recognition as a citizen links together black women in America, from the anonymous survivors of Hurricane Katrina to the current First Lady of the United States.”
The book has received very favorable reviews from many scholars including Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Donna Brazile, Political Commentator for CNN and ABC News and former Interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
In the social media arena, Ms. Harris-Perry has a blog on The Nation, and can followed on Twitter at @SisterCitizen. She makes frequent appearances on national television, including at MSNBC 

— Joyce Turner 

Bullying? or ‘Just’ Drama? Teen Speak Does Matter

A reading of this recent New York Times op-ed piece could be useful as we continue our conversation about addressing the concerns about bullying harassment, and intimidation. 

Authors Danah Boyd and Alice Marwick conclude that adults don’t always speak the same language as teenagers when it comes to talking about bullying. They point out that teens often will not identify as  bullies or as victims of bullies as it carries too high a social and psychological cost. Teens refer to their interactions as “drama,” therefore minimizing the impact. 

In order to engage with teens on this issue, we may need to reframe our language!

Please join NIOT Princeton at our series, Continuing Conversations on Race at the Princeton Public Library. These ‘first Monday’ discussions are a safe, confidential place to discuss difficult topics.  On Monday, October 3, at 7:30 p.m. we will discuss the topic of bullying. 

Wilma Solomon 

Heartbreaking and Thoughtful: Responses to Bullying

Nearly 60 people — youth and adults — came on September 12, 2011, at the Princeton Public Library to see and discuss “Light in the Darkness,” a Not in Our Town/PBS documentary about hate crime. Their comments were heartbreaking and thoughtful, as recorded below. Everyone is invited to the follow-up meeting on Monday, October 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the PPL meeting room on the second floor.

On September 12 everyone was given index cards and pencils and invited to record, anonymously, their ‘bullying’ experiences. They were asked to describe the bullying acts, their own responses and the responses of others. The cards were collected at the end of the meeting. About half of those attending (27) responded.

All but three of the comments were about experiences recollected from school days, including some
from young people attending the event. Only three described bullying/harassment/discrimination
experienced as an adult. The middle school years were most frequently cited as the time of the worst

Sadly, a majority of the responders reported that they did not speak out; neither did anyone come to
their aid. Among those responding who had a positive outcome, the successful interventions came
from teachers (3), classmates (2), camp counselors (1), and family members (2).

The attenders were also asked for suggestions of ways to mitigate bullying in our community.
Some of the very good suggestions include:

• Victims should reach out for help,
• Bystanders should run for help,
• Let the bullies know that we saw it and it’s not OK,
• On the first day of school, principals should make it clear in all school meetings what bullying
is and why it will not be tolerated,
• Family and friends can help by speaking directly to the perpetrators and their families,
• Parents can help by talking with their kids about bullying and helping them really
understand “the bully,”
• We should look into the deeper psychological reasons for bullying and being bullied,

• We should certainly not condone at a political level any evidence of unequal treatment of its


What we need to combat bullying:

• Greater ease of access to counseling,
• Provide emotional support to victim,
• Set strict standards and anti-bullying rules and laws,
• Hold “Bullying Awareness” programs,
• Realize the community can set strict bullying consequences and confront the problem,
• Make the laws more widespread known,
• Have empowerment programs for immigrant groups,
• Offer support groups,
• Ensure that people know that there are resources and people to go to,
• Churches should preach about these things and set a proper example.

Said one participant: The community can set strict bullying consequences and can confront the problem! Please join us on Monday, October 3, at 7:30 p.m.

Marietta Taylor

In Plainsboro: Unifying Diverse Communities

Last night’s “Light in the Darkness” showing at the Princeton Public Library was wonderfully meaningful. More than sixty people — a very diverse group by age, race, and nationality — came, saw the NIOT PBS documentary, and contributed their verbal and written testimony.

We’ll post the feedback in this space soon and look forward to the NIOT discussion, “Continuing Conversations,”  on Monday, October 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the PPL’s conference room. We hope we’ll see you there!

Today we received word about another exciting opportunity to explore diversity. An interactive panel discussion will take place in Plainsboro on Wednesday, September 20, 5:45 – 8:30 p.m., as presented by the American Conference on Diversity. 

Not in Our Town Princeton focuses its work in Princeton Township and Princeton Borough, but we know that our programs, co-sponsored with the Princeton Public Library, appeal to those who live in the Greater Princeton area. Similarly, Princeton residents are encouraged to attend this event.

It’s free, but the sponsors — which include the NAMI New Jersey (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) — ask for pre-registration. Details above.

Documentary: Light in the Darkness

“Light in the Darkness” is a new documentary telling  the story of a town standing together to take action after a hate crime killing devastates their community. It addresses the growing problem of anti-immigrant violence in communities nationwide.

The film will be previewed at the Princeton Public Library, on Monday, Sep. 12 at 7 PM, ahead of its debut on PBS.  The showing, sponsored by Not in Our Town, the Library, and Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, will be followed by a discussion to examine the growing atmosphere of anti-immigrant violence and harassment and the greater issue of bullying across our community. 

 Adults and older teens are urged to attend. 

 The documentary  will have its PBS debut on Wednesday, September 21, at 10 p.m.

Estimados amigos y socios comunitarios,
Luz En La Oscuridad, es un documental sobre cómo reaccionó una comunidad después del trágico asesinato de un trabajador hispano. Este horrendo crimen fue cometido por un grupo de jóvenes locales, motivados por prejuicios anti-inmigrantes, pero refleja el creciente problema de violencia y hostigamiento en contra de los inmigrantes en muchas otras comunidades.
Permanecer en silencio ante este tipo de situaciones ayuda a perpetuar el problema. Hay que enfrentarse con los acosadores. Acuda a esta proyección (en inglés con subtítulos en español) en la Biblioteca de Princeton, el lunes 12 de septiembre a las 7 PM, y participe en la charla que se celebrará después. Habrá intérpretes disponibles. Entrada gratis.

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