Breaking down hate

Participants rip away
paper bricks that was part of a wall of defamatory and offensive terms. (Photos: Enoch

Racially-charged tweets a year ago planted the seeds for an anti-hate initiative that has garnered
national attention.
Bowling Green’s Not In Our Town held a celebration Tuesday in Olscamp Hall on the Bowling Green State
University campus to mark its founding, and to break down a wall of hate made up of pieces of paper
containing derogatory names and statements people have encountered.
Arpan Yagnik, a student of Indian descent, said he has been called a "wife beater" because some
people believe that all Indian men assault their wives.
Luke Grabski, a transgender student, said hate can also come from within minority groups. His word was
"trans-trender," a derogatory term for someone perceived by transgender people as posing as a
transgender person.
These and dozens of other slurs were written on paper bricks and pasted on the wall that at the end of
the event, participants, who represented the community and the university, ripped down.
Only a year old, the Bowling Green initiative has already gained the attention of national leaders.
Michelle Gahee Kloss, the director for community engagement for the national Not In Our Town movement,
was on hand to honor the local initiative as a Gold Star Community.
The initiative took root so quickly, she said, because the community with its Human Relations Commission
and the university’s Office of Equity and Diversity "was already moving in a positive

BGSU students Vivienne
Felix (from left) Megan Guidry and Chad Campbell roll play during Not In Our Town diversity showcase on
the campus of Bowling Green State University.

Vicky Kulicke, the university’s equity and diversity officer, said that Not In Our Town’s mission is to
stand up to expressions of hate and intolerance. "We recognize there’s so much more we can do and
will do."
With BG Mayor Dick Edwards and BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey speaking, the Not In Our Town organizers
went out of their way to present a united front.
Before Edwards read a proclamation solemnizing the anniversary, he called up the city officials,
including Police Chief Brad Conner and council members Bruce Jeffers and Sandy Rowland, to stand with
Mazey said a new film shown at the event is "showcasing the positive aspects of Bowling Green."

But the group cannot rest on its laurels, she said. "We all know the reward for good work is more
The local initiative with WBGU-TV has created a short documentary on its founding, the first of several
planned short, educational films.
Kloss also showed an excerpt of a documentary on Bowling Green’s efforts that the national group is
producing. A crew was on-hand to capture footage for the film.
A documentary, "Waking in Oak Creek" about a mass shooting that killed six members of the Sikh
community in that Wisconsin city, will be screened at 7 p.m. tonight at the Wood County Public Library
in Bowling Green. A discussion will follow.

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