I was driving home the other day, listening to NPR. The news – as often – was chilling. Iran is bringing Holocaust deniers together, spreading their message of hate. In Iraq, one Sunni group just blew another up, in Palestine, one Hammas leader’s three young sons were assasinated. The violence and hatred seems to be its own perpetual motion machine, notwithstanding physicists’ claims to the contrary.
Politicians, generals, diplomats: all are pretty damn baffled.
Why am I getting all homiletic on you?
To shed light on some good news we can grow: a film that’s brought visibility and voice to a grassroots loveliness that is spreading across the U.S. and offers a powerful example of the POWER and STRENGTH of small steps, unity and non-violent affirmation.
Rhian Miller, my college roommate and dear friend, makes documentaries about working people with workable answers, the sort of news the networks don’t cover. NOT IN OUR TOWN tells the story of Billings, Montana, a place where Jews, African and Native Americans were being singled out by white supremicists. I don’t want to ruin the movie for you by telling you what happened, but it’s a true parable of United We Stand.
That was 1998 and NOT IN OUR TOWN was shown by PBS. It won awards. More importantly, it won audiences in other parts of the country, and when they had similar problems, they adopted the models they’d seen working on screen. This year, so many towns had used the homegrown solutions from NOT IN OUR TOWN, they had a national conference to try and figure out how to grow the movement. How cool is that?
So why am I telling you this? Because now there’s another story that needs telling. HOLIDAY is going to knock your socks off, but only if we can help Rhian get the money to make it. See the trailer at the site below.
Greenville, South Carolina, not too far from the frat rats of BORAT fame, is a small town. For nearly two decades, the city council has been steadfastly refusing to pass a Martin Luther King holiday. HOLIDAY is about a seventeen-year struggle to recognize King’s accomplishments, which was finally won using the same principles of non-violent community togetherness that Ghandi and MLK had the courage to advocate.
So, here’s how you can help:
- Make your tax deductible contributions to HOLIDAY by writing a check to THE WORKING GROUP and send to 1611 Telegraph Ave., Suite 1400 , Oakland, CA 94612 (or go to their website http://www.theworkinggroup.org and use PAY PAL.)
- Host a screening party to show the 8 minute trailer for HOLIDAY at your house, soliciting contributions to help complete the film.
- Buy NOT IN OUR TOWN videos from The Working Group’s website and show it in your classes, to your families, and in your synagogues, churches, social clubs. You can sample it at http://www.theworkinggroup.org/niotvideos.htm
- Feel free to adapt this letter and spread it to anyone and everyone you can
- Help spread the word to friends and families by participating in an Internet campaign that I’ll pester you about later.