Not In Our Town Bowling Green

Not In Our Town struggles to keep students involved

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Not In Our Town was born in Bowling Green nearly five years ago in response to a racial hatred crisis. A series of racist tweets were posted by white students, spurring students and community members to demand changes and official responses to the discrimination. A series of public meetings were held, many of them standing room only. Large banners were filled with signatures of people taking a stand against hate speech and actions in Bowling Green. Students and city residents were inspired to strike down discrimination. Not In Our Town was the group uniting students and city folks in their righteous anger toward hatred. That was then. Now when Not In Our Town meetings are held, the seats are filled with the same community members and university staff still committed to the cause. But there are no students. Meeting times and locations have been tweaked in order to meet student schedules. If students do attend, it is fleeting, with few making repeated appearances. The leadership of Not In Our Town knows there is still support among students. When a march was held last fall from downtown to campus, the walkers numbered in the hundreds and stretched for blocks. But the organization is struggling to understand the lack of student participation – since it’s not that discrimination no longer exists. So recently, a NIOT outreach group met to discuss solutions. It’s not that BGSU students no longer believe in the mission of Not In Our Town, said Holly Cipriani, an academic adviser at the university. “A lot of them are a big fan…


‘Isms’ give power to prejudice by labeling people

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Racism. Sexism, Ageism. Classism. Those “isms” tacked onto the ends of words stand for prejudice combined with power. The words define systematic prejudice – made easier by lumping people under a label. Earlier this month, Not In Our Town Bowling Green held another workshop at the library – this one specifically on “isms.” Everyone at the workshop could identify as a victim of at least one “ism.” There were “foreigners” and “feminists.”  There were people who stood out due to their color or their politics. The workshop was led by Dr. Krishna Han, assistant director of the BGSU Office of Multicultural Affairs. Han, originally from Cambodia, speaks five languages. Sometimes he can’t immediately find the English word that he is searching for. So, his strength sometimes appears to be a weakness when people judge Han’s intelligence by his occasional halting English. That and the color of his skin mean that Han may forever be looked upon as a foreigner in the U.S. – no matter how many years he had been here or the fact that he is an American citizen. “Generalization is dangerous – period,” Han said. Han tires of hearing people say, “Worry about your own country … This is my country,” he said. Even stereotypes that paint favorable pictures of people – such as all Asians being smart and hardworking – are harmful. “Any stereotype is negative,” said Ana Brown, a member of NIOT and BGSU administration member. Han asked the group to identify the hurtful comments directed to them in the past. “What do you never again want…


Not In Our Town offers educational series

(Submitted by Not In Our Town Bowling Green) Not in Our Town Bowling Green and the BGSU Office of Multicultural Affairs are hosting a program on Safe Zone Training: A Focus on LGBTQ+ and Ally Building. The program is Thursday, June 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Wood County District Public Library. The session is free and open to the public. The workshop will be conducted by Dr. Krishna Han, assistant director of the BGSU Office of Multicultural Affairs. The workshop provides education concerning LGBTQ+ issues and creating a positive environment for LGBTQ+ people. The purpose of the workshop is to strengthen and expand a support network of allies for the Bowling Green LGBTQ+ community. Safe Zone training is important because increasing numbers of Bowling Green community members openly identify as LGBTQ+. The political landscape has also created new challenges for LGBTQ+ persons. To learn more about the programs and the topics, go to the Not in Our Town Bowling Green Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Not-In- Our-Town- Bowling-Green-411179839042009/). Posts and videos about the program topics will be included on the NIOT BG Facebook page.


Not In Our Town to host program on ‘Isms’

(Submitted by Not in Our Town Bowling Green) Educational Series on Reducing Prejudice: “A Discussion of Isms.” Not in Our Town Bowling Green (NIOT BG) and the BGSU Office of Multicultural Affairs will be hosting a program entitled “A Discussion of Isms” on Wednesday, May 17, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Wood County District Public Library, 251 N. Main St. The session will be held in the first floor meeting room at the library. The program is the second program in the Educational Series on Reducing Prejudice. The workshop is interactive and designed to be a springboard for discussions of the sensitive topics and issues around various –ism issues.  The session will encourage participants to think about assumptions, stereotypes, and choices we make or could make. These topics can and do impact our community. This workshop is based on the principles that every issue counts and hearing stories relating to life experiences, especially those who identified differently from us, can shifts attitudes and build allies. The third and final program in the Reducing Prejudice series will be held on Thursday, June 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Wood County District Public Library. The program is on Safe Zone Training. The workshop provides education concerning LGBTQ+ issues and seeks to improve the environment for LGBTQ+ people. For further information, contact Dr. Krishna Han krishh@bgsu.edu.


NIOT offers series of programs on reducing prejudice

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   An educational series on reducing prejudice is planned in Bowling Green – with one requirement for those attending. “Just come with an open mind,” said Dr. Krishna Han, assistant director of the BGSU Office of Multicultural Affairs. “It takes a village to build a caring community,” said Han, who will be the facilitator in the three-part series looking at the power of words, “isms” and safe zones. The programs are being hosted by Not in Our Town Bowling Green and the BGSU Office of Multicultural Affairs on April 20, May 17, and June 1. All programs will be held at the Wood County District Public Library from 6 to 8 p.m. and are free and open to the public. “Raising awareness, building knowledge, and developing skills on multicultural interaction and communication is an important and on-going aspect of self-work that every individual should take it very seriously,” said Han, who provides leadership for the BGSU Office of Multicultural Affairs Diversity Education Program, and oversees the Ethnic Student Center and LGBTQ+ Resource Center Programs and Services. “We all have something to learn from each other. As we all come from different backgrounds, often times we don’t have the developed skills that allow us to engage each other with grace and productive ways,” Han said. “This workshop will help participants look at the topic of multicultural interaction and communication from a positive perspective, and empower each other on skill sets that enable them to carry-on and spread the caring spirit and knowledge in their community.” The first in the series is “The Power of…


Police officials address issues of force, race & more during “Real Cops” panel

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The police in Bowling Green, either city or campus, don’t have to resort to using physical force very often. Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick said that in 90,000 interactions, officers on the BG force have used force 52 times, and BGSU Police Chief Monica Moll said her department’s experience was similar. Rodney Fleming, the managing attorney at Student Legal Services, said that if citizens looked at the statistics, they’d see how little physical force is used. Capt. Mike Campbell, who will be interim chief when Moll leaves BGSU at the end of the month, said that in looking at police conflicts that have been in the news, he sees faulty tactics in how the incidents were approached. More emphasis should be put on de-escalating a situation, and better communication, he said. They were part of the “It’s Just Us: Real Talk with Real Cops,” held Friday at Bowling Green State University, and sponsored by Not In Our Town. No matter how little force is used, all incidents are reported and looked at. “Even if it was a legal use of force,” Moll said, “maybe we could have used less.” Hetrick said each instance is looked at by more than one supervisor, including himself. “Nothing is going to be swept under the rug.” And, if citizens feel they have been unfairly treated, each department has a formal complaint process. If someone doesn’t trust the police to follow through, they can complain to other entities, Fleming said – city officials, his office, or Not In Our Town. Hetrick said those complaints will be taken seriously. “As police…