NIOT Princeton

Congratulations to Unity Award Winners


These Princeton High School and John Witherspoon Middle School students were honored on May 6 for their efforts to promote respect for diversity and to advance the cause of race relations. 

Not in Our Town Unity Awards were presented by Carole Krauthamer, fourth from left, to (left to right) Halima-Rakiya Gikandi, Handy Pierre, Sumaiyya Stephens, Isaiah Sigler, Jemima Nelson, and Milosh Popovic.

Congratulations to the six Princeton students who received Not in Our Town Unity Awards on May 6 at a  reception at Princeton University’s Carl A. Fields Center. Each student received a certificate; they will also receive a gift at honors assemblies in their schools, scheduled for June 5 at Princeton High School and June 11 at John Witherspoon Middle School.   
Not in Our Town aims to speak truth about ‘everyday racism’ and other forms of prejudice and discrimination, says Wilma Solomon, NIOT president. In cooperation with the Princeton Public Library, NIOT presents a monthly discussion series, “Continuing Conversations on Race.” The organization, which consists of representatives from a dozen faith communities, also sponsors book readings, workshops, film series, panels, and anti-racism demonstrations.
“Our hope is that Princeton will continue to grow as a town in which the ideals of friendship, community and pride in diversity  prevail,” says Solomon.   


Inside the Racist Mind

The fact that you may honestly believe you are not biased does not free you from unconscious racism. This comes from an article by Toure in Time magazine. 

The racist mind need not hate every black person it encounters, and indeed not hating all may serve as a valuable safety valve, releasing pressure and proving to the mind itself that it is not racist. Few people want to think of themselves as bad or evil,” writes Toure. 

Toure’s book “Whose Afraid of Post-Blackness? What It Means to be Black Now” was named a New York Times notable book in 2011. 

Continuing Conversation: May 7

At the Stand Against Racism event, at the YWCA Princeton last Friday, those who discussed the documentary “The Princeton Plan” agreed that everyone needs to continue the conversations about how Princeton’s desegregation plan worked. It was 1948 when Princeton desegregated its classrooms by merging two schools — the school in the traditionally black neighborhood and the one on Nassau Street. Children in kindergarten and elementary school went to Nassau Street, and those in junior high went to Quarry Street. Some were jubilant about the plan’s success. Others resented the way it was done.

Continue the conversation at Not in Our Town’s regular “first Monday” session at the Princeton Public Library on Monday, May 7, at 7:30 p.m. With this series, Continuing Conversations on Race, Not in Our Town  offers a safe and confidential place to talk about difficult subjects.

 The topic planned for this month is very appropriate: tell about your first experience with racial differences. To Shirley Satterfield, this experience came in fourth grade when she left the Quarry Street school to go to the formerly all-white school. The students got along fine, said Satterfield. It was when the teacher replied to — when someone said “Shirley’s blushing” — “Negroes don’t blush.”

When was your first experience with racial differences and how did that affect your life?

Photos above by Leticia Fraga Nadler: Top: Henry Pannell, Shirley Satterfield, and Debra Raines. Below: Ann Yasuhara, Wilma Solomon, Marietta Taylor, Pat Ramirez, Barbara Fox, Larry Spruill. 

Photos below left to right: Cynthia Mendez and Kevin Wilkes, Patricia Fernandez-Kelly of Princeton University, and Kathleen Morolda of Cranbury Station Gallery, 

Guest Post: Princeton Can Make the Difference

Libby Zinman Schwartz shares her reaction to the Stand Against Racism event at the YWCA Princeton — the screening of the documentary The Princeton Plan, about school desegregation in 1948, followed by discussion from Shirley Satterfield and Henry Pannell.

I enjoyed the presentation. It just amazes me to learn how sheltered many people have been here for so many years and how unfamiliar they are with people that don’t look like them. They are honest and appreciate this kind of opportunity to learn, which is good, but where have they been? The first thing I noticed shortly after coming here was how few African Americans could be seen on the streets of the Boro. It shocked me.

I spoke with the Henry Pannell, one of the speakers. I liked his honesty. So many at the program praised the progress but he remembered the pain. I told him that he and other African Americans have much company now because we will all soon have to confront the amassed power of wealth in the country that has so much control over policies and is changing the values of the country. It is not just about prejudice against them, it is now segregation of the very rich  and the rest, the 99 percent (all hues) who are being abandoned or fashioned into a low cost, undereducated labor force. It will require immense effort to push back the terrible decisions they are making re health care (together with Big Pharma), school tuitions and so many more bad policies multinationals, banking, etc., are creating, often clandestinely, to maintain and preserve them and their children as a dangerous and uncertain future in a global economy unfolds.

So many new programs have to be initiated in education (training, curricula change, materials). in affordable health care maintenance, in decent housing, in opportunity to develop for everyone, regardless of differences. But before that can be done, somehow, those in power will have to examine their own conscience and get in touch with a lost morality and tolerance of the other that once made this country great. They will also have to give up some of their wealth (via taxes and salary caps) to instill a more even-handed equity for all Americans. This country could certainly learn from Asian philosophies, particularly Buddhism and Confucianism, which respect and regard others as much as the self. We have lost our way in a “philosophy of unrestrained capitalism/free markets” which has no ethical basis whatsoever; in fact, its basis is selfishness.
I truly believe groups that are being poorly treated and served in America today, which is a very large number, need to get in touch and join efforts to create a real voice and eventual change of attitude. Occupy Wall Street, while visual, is not doing it.
I also know people are fearful of the power they sense around them and the build-up of security anxiety; some of this comes from news descriptions of underground centers in the Middle West where domestic phone calls are being monitored, and accounts of drone surveillance that might soon be a reality, if not already. But it is also a general feeling among the populace that can’t be easily defined, probably because people are sensing it from leaders with very hard-nosed ideas about the “just desserts” of the have-nots (a hold-over from Calvinism).
Living with opportunity for a life of developed potential and happiness is indeed what the founding fathers promised every American. It is not a fantasy that the contemporary powers-that-be in this country can cavalierly dismiss. If Princeton, a small town, could begin, many years ago, an enlightened program to fight segregated schools in its borders, then it certainly has the wealth and intellectual heft today to counter the current direction of the country and stop it before it grows much worse. The key is to engage some of those who have the wealth and position–and still possess the compassion–to join with others to turn the country around. It starts with a small movement but can grow with understanding and a commitment to the constitution’s original intentions for all Americans.
— Libby Zinman Schwartz

Stand Against Racism: Join Us on Friday

Gather at Palmer Square on Friday, April 27, at 8:15 a.m. and then
 walk together to the Princeton YWCA for a showing of an important film, “The Princeton Plan: 50 Years Later” featuring guest speakers Shirley Satterfield and Henry Pannell.

This Palmer Square “Stand” is sponsored by the Princeton Human Services Commission and Cranbury Station Galleries

The YWCA Princeton hosts the film screening and discussion from 9 to 10 a.m. at Bramwell House, 59 Paul Robeson Place, Princeton. Light refreshments will be served.

Last year Not in Our Town encouraged merchants to post signs in the windows to support this movement, and many are still on display. For more information on the Stand Against Racism movement — which began here in Princeton, see the Stand Against Racism website

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