Event Aims to Promote Tolerance

‘Not in Our School’ Discussion Combates Hate Crime

The “Not in Our School” even was held from 6-9 p.m., Thursday, November 15, in the Eagle Theatre to present themes advocating diversity and tolerance within our community.

The goal of the program is to work against the stereotyping, discrimination, hate crimes and racism that penetrate American Society today.

The nationwide campaign is meant to spread awareness about these unacknowledged topics and to encourage students to provide solutions to end the prejudice that segregates so many.

According to history teacher DeeDee Pearce, who organized the event’s arrival at this school, the “Not in Our School” campaign is a national movement that encourages communities to respond to hate crimes.

This program has been presented at Palo Alto High School for the past two years. This year, though, the campaign will take place in the Los Altos, Mountain View and Saint Francis communities.

The event included a complimentary burrito bar and an art show. The burritos were prepared by the Los Altos Culinary Arts Program and the art showcased was created by student artists from Mountain View High School.

The art featured the themes of the event followed by a showing of “Not in Our Town: Northern California,” a documentary about communities which were faced with hate crimes and attempted to come together to respond to the violence.

A discussion, led by Milton Reynolds from the facing History and Ourselves Organization, took place after the film and provided students with the opportunity to voice their views on the prejudice and inequality often observed at their schools.

According to Pearce, the discussion tried to raise awareness among many students who aren’t aware that discrimination and hate are still present in their communities, including this community.

“We kind of deny or ignore [discrimination] and don’t really look at it, but we do have issues centered around race, gender and things like that,” Pearce said.

Clubs like ASB and Girls for a Change were present to receive and direct attendees. Students who went to Camp Everytown were also there to greet people and make them feel welcome.

“We want more exposure and to raise awareness, Assistant Principal Cristy Dawson said. “We want to keep the lessons learned [at Camp Everytown] alive.”

The lessons of tolerance and acceptance encouraged by the event was well received by the attendees and opened the eyes of many students.

“It’s really stimulated me to think more about equality and the problems present in our community, sophomore Ellie Fung said.

“Not in Our School” worked toward a more tolerant and diverse environment for all students and many feel like just talking about the issues helped.

“Just the opportunity to have a conversation about this topic will allow students to talk and be heard,” Principal Wynne Satterwhite said. “A lot of students don’t recognize these problems, but they’re there.”