AUBURN — Standing up for one’s neighbors requires courage and commitment. In observance of the 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Rabbi Hillel Katzir, joined by Welcoming Maine activists Sarah Davis and Nasser Rohani, will screen two documentary films and lead a discussion at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, at Temple Shalom Synagogue-Center, 74 Bradman St.

Refreshments will be served, and the public is invited to attend at no charge. For more information, call the synagogue at 207-786-4201.

The PBS-aired “Not in Our Town” will be followed by “Commemorating Many and One: What’s Next,” a short documentary created by the Lewiston chapter of Welcoming Maine. The local video reflects on Lewiston-Auburn 10 years after neighbors organized the Many and One Rally in support of the Somali immigrant community.

Twenty years ago in Billings, Mont., a brick was thrown through a 6-year-old Jewish boy’s bedroom window, where he had placed the family’s Hanukkah menorah. The anti-Semitic incident was one of several hateful acts in Billings that year, including skinheads at an African-American church, racist hate messages on a Native-American woman’s home and the desecration of the Jewish cemetery.

Townspeople of all races and religions swiftly moved into action. Religious and community leaders, labor union volunteers, law enforcement, the local newspapers and concerned individuals stood united and spoke loudly for a hate-free community, proclaiming in no uncertain terms “Not In Our Town!”

The Billings story is part of the origin story at the “Not In Our Town” project and reminds us yearly of the incredible courage of those who stand up for their neighbors. In 1995, the PBS film “Not In Our Town” launched a movement nationwide, spurring hundreds of communities into action to discuss safety and acceptance for all.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.