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“Not In Our Town” campaign celebrates 30 years



Billings, Montana – People throughout the world were inspired when the people of Billings united to fight hate in their town on that awful night thirty years ago. They show unflinching sympathy with the victims of hate crimes.

In 1993, the rock that broke through the window of a Jewish child’s bedroom catalyzed action in the municipality of Billings.

However, this was not the community’s first targeted assault.

In addition, the president of Congregation Beth Aaron, a synagogue in Billings, who has lived in the Magic area with her family since the 1970s, claims that in the years preceding this well-known act of deliberate vandalism, numerous minorities in the area experienced targeted attacks.

However, the real history was written in the days that followed the invasion.

People hung full-page color menorahs from the Billings Gazette on their doors and windows to show support for the little Jewish girl whose window was vandalized by acts of hatred.

According to Carol Roberts, the president of the congregation, “everyone really came together to create a community response.” It turned into a national example of how to handle hate.”

Roberts continued by stating that “unfortunately, is seems like we maybe need to remember that model again, learn from it, and utilize it as a resource again to deal with what’s happening, particularly our larger communities, but also in Montana.”

The events in Billings during the winter of 1993 aroused the media and grew into a movement.

Roberts acknowledges that she’s not completely sure what or who started the movement in Billings, but she believes that the universal athletics manager at the time should be given credit for coming up with the catchphrase “Not In Our Town.”

A sign announcing the communities’ united stance against hate was placed on a main thoroughfare in Billings. It was written in big, bold letters.

The reaction of the community to the incidents in Billings in 1993 demonstrates to us that, on occasion, even the most straightforward acts can bring about the most significant change; all we need to do is behave honorably.



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