NIOT Princeton

Continuing Conversations: Bullying – Changing the Culture

In conjunction with the April 10 program “The Bystander’s Dilemma” (part of the series “Bullying – Changing the Culture) the focus of the Continuing Conversation on April 2 will be on bullying situations in which a bystander might intervene. 

 In particular, what keeps a bystander from taking action? 

 What, if any, role does race play? 

Are there times when bystanders can join together to intervene more effectively? 

What are the experiences of those participating in the conversation?

Ann Yasuhara and Fern Spruill will facilitate the conversation on Monday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m.

These “first Monday” Continuing Conversations offer a chance to discuss difficult topics in a safe and confidential atmosphere; all are welcome. 

(Note that library publicity has it scheduled for 7 p.m. Because that time might be too early for some participants, we’ll have informal chat for the first half hour and start the actual program promptly at 7:30 p.m.) 


The Bystanders Dilemma: April 10

Drama and Dialogue: “The Bystander’s Dilemma,” the second in a series on changing the culture of bullying, will be on Tuesday, April 10, at 7 p.m. at the Princeton Public Library. It will explore the internal conflicts experienced by bystanders who witness bullying or other mistreatment. Through interactive drama and discussion, adults and young people will learn how to handle bullying situations in the community and in schools. The program will address such issues as the role race can play in a bullying incident – and the potential consequences of intervening. This can be particularly useful for parents to help them support their children who may be bystanders.
The program’s scenarios will be enacted by members of NIOT and Princeton High School students of Corner House’s GAIA program. Mary Saudargas, GAIA facilitator; and Elizabeth Casparian, executive director of HiTOPS will serve as program guides.
The library is in the Sands Library Building at 65 Witherspoon PrincetonBorough. Convenient parking is available on neighboring streets and in the borough-operated Spring Street Garage, which is adjacent to the library. For more information about library programs and services, call (609) 924-9529 or
This program is co-sponsored by the library, Not in Our Town Princeton, Corner House’s Project GAIA, HiTOPS, and Kidsbridge Tolerance Museum.

March 21, 1960 in Sharpeville, South Africa

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March. On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid “pass laws”. Proclaiming the Day in 1966, the General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination (resolution 2142 (XXI)).

Since then, the apartheid system in South Africa has been dismantled. Racist laws and practices have been abolished in many countries, and we have built an international framework for fighting racism, guided by the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The Convention is now nearing universal ratification, yet still, in all regions, too many individuals, communities and societies suffer from the injustice and stigma that racism brings.
The first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reminds us of our collective responsibility for promoting and protecting this ideal.
(This was taken from the United Nations webpage. A United States-based effort — which started right here in Princeton — is Stand Against Racism Day on April 27)

NIOT Princeton: What We Did in 2011

Not In Our Town

Annual Report of 2011 Activities

Continuing Conversations on Race continued to meet on the first Monday of each month 7:30 PM at
the Princeton Public Library throughout the year except for the summer months. The group continues to
be a popular community forum. NIOT values this activity especially because it reaches individuals who
would be less likely to attend scheduled events – a younger, working population, usually not affiliated
with a religious institution. There is considerable variety among the attenders from month to month,
balanced by a core group of five to six regulars, as well as members of NIOT.

There has been growing concern over the number of “bullying” incidents that have occurred in the
Princeton area, including several in Princeton itself. At its March meeting, NIOT members decided to
make “bullying” a major focus of NIOT activities in 2011.

NIOT joined the YWCA in their April 29, 2011 Stand Against Racism event by engaging the business
community in a commitment to end racism by displaying signs in their establishments saying “We
Stand Against Racism Today and Every Day.” NIOT purchased an ad in Town Topics which listed all
the participating businesses and submitted a letter to the editor to run concurrently with the ad. NIOT
members canvassed and distributed signs throughout the central business areas.

In May NIOT co-sponsored the film Welcome to Shelbyville at the Princeton Public Library.

NIOT’s annual Unity Award Reception took place on June 5, 2011 at the Carl Field Center on the
Princeton campus. This year’s event was an especially joyous and uplifting occasion. NIOT received
many appreciative comments recognizing its work in raising awareness about racism in the community
and honoring students who are “ role models in their efforts to promote respect for diversity and to
advance the cause of race relations.”

In July (7/5/11) NIOT was a co-sponsor in a Community Roundtable on Immigration initiated by the
Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund at Princeton Public Library. A member of NIOT
participated in the panel. There were presentations and discussion. The event was well attended, with
many members of the Latino community present.

NIOT’s Bullying Series was initiated in September (9/12/11) with the showing of the film, “Light in
the Darkness.” This excellent film, produced and developed by The Working Group, describes a
community’s response to anti-immigrant violence following the murder of an Ecuadorian resident. The
film was followed by discussion. Attenders were given index cards as they arrived and invited to
describe ‘bullying’ episodes from their own lives (anonymously). Twenty-seven cards were submitted at
the end of the meeting with many very moving and informative accounts of various kinds of bullying,
describing who helped and who didn’t, and the effects on their lives at the time and afterwards. Planning
for the “Bullying” series continued through the fall. A series of four events is under development.

In December (12/05/11) NIOT supported PPL in promoting the film, Prince Among Slaves. The film,
produced by Unity Productions Foundation, tells the harrowing true story of an African Muslim prince,
Abdul Rahman, who was captured in a war in Africa and sold into slavery to a small plantation owner
in Mississippi . He spent 40 years in slavery without ever losing his dignity or sense of self-worth. He
eventually was able to buy his release and became an ardent and effective spokesman for emancipation.

Following the film, Princeton University Professor Kwami Appiah reflected on the Abdul Rahman story.
Apiah centered his remarks around the concept of dignity, pointing out that the worst crime of slavery –
even worse than physical abuse – is the erosion of dignity. These thoughts were explored more fully in
the NIOT Continuing Conversation group that followed.

January 2012

Troubling Issue: Holocaust in Our Time

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