Images Cinema hosted a screening of “Not in Our Town” presented by Greylock Together (a local activism group). I took notes during the post-film discussion, and here’s what I came away with:
~ In order to prevent and address hate crimes in our community, everyone needs to take responsibility for what happens and be present for one another. This makes everyone safer.
~ We need total commitment from police and political leaders to respond to hate crimes when they happen.
~ We need more Black Lives Matter signs. These small symbols of acceptance and unity work best when EVERYONE has them. If there are only a few, and one gets stolen or vandalized, people might be nervous to put them out. If every house has one, it shows that we all support the movement and believe that Black Lives Matter and the vandals would see that they are outnumbered.
This feels like a really important note. Having a sign in our yards, or a decal in our windows, is such a small and simple (and inexpensive) act. But a large number of people displaying these signs makes such a big statement. We can say, “Of course most of Williamstown supports the Black Lives Matter movement,” but if there are only a few signs scattered around town, it doesn’t really look like it. This is a very important time. We are a mostly white town. We need to show our support, to ally ourselves, to use our privilege for good. It’s really easy to get a sign. There’s no good reason not to. Imagine if every lawn had a Black Lives Matter sign. And a rainbow flag. And Welcome signs written in Arabic and Hebrew and Spanish. What a big statement that would make to the rest of the country.
~ When someone has been targeted or made a victim of hate crimes, we need to ask, “How can I support you?” And then show up for them.
~ We all have to work on the subtle, underlying feelings of hate/racism/sexism/bigotry in order to prevent bigger incidents.
~ To be supportive means to take deliberate and concrete action.
~ We need public displays of holidays from different religions/cultures, not just Christmas.
~ We need a blanket visual symbol to use throughout the county, unifying us with the other nearby towns instead of keeping ourselves so separate.