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NIOT reflects on past year’s progress

Students, faculty and community members shared their experiences with hate and discrimination while listening to others yesterday.

Not in Our Town celebrated its first year of fighting hate and discrimination Tuesday evening by hosting an event that focused on the progress the grass roots initiative has made at not only the University, but in the city as well.

Roughly 150 people came out to support the event and mingle with other supporters.

Vicky Kulicke, equity officer in the Office of Equity and Diversity, is the cochair of the University chapter of Not in Our Town.

“We will go over different things that have happened during the past year, including what has happened since the racist tweets incident,” Kulicke said, “It’s a day of not only looking back, but looking forward.”

Lisa Hanasono, a professor in the Department of Communication, had students from one of her class volunteer at the event.

“Even though it’s been a year, this is just the start of the journey,” Hanasono said.

Senior Paige Fenner, one of Hanasono’s students, viewed the initiative as being very positive and also very helpful.

“It was very eye-opening to see my other classmates talk about their experiences,” Fenner said, “It showed me that there are actually multiple sides to it.”

There was also an event called “Breaking Down the Wall” in which attendees wrote down issues or hardships dealing with hate or discrimination onto a paper brick. Each brick was used to build a wall. The wall was then torn down brick by brick by attendees to symbolize tearing down hate and discrimination.

A film produced by BGUTV was also shown at the event. The film covered the events that occurred last spring involving racial tweets that initially jump-started the Not in Our Town initiative.

President Mary Ellen Mazey and Mayor Richard Edwards spoke at the event. Michelle Gahee Kloss, a representative from the national branch of Not in Our Town, also spoke at the event.

It was also mentioned during the event that the Not in Our Town chapter in Bowling Green has been honored by the national chapter as a Gold Star City, meaning that the city is doing all it can to enforce the initiative.

Students such as sophomore, Leslie Potts, left the event happy about the support it has received.

“I’m really happy to see so many different community members here showing that they are committed for the long term,” Potts said, “I think it’s very unifying.”

The celebration brought different people from a variety of backgrounds together for one cause.

“This event is an effort to promote inclusion, acceptance and love, “ Hanasono said, “That’s what Not in Our Town is about.”

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