Not In Our Town (NIOT), an interracial, interfaith social action group, presented Interfaith Unity Awards to two seventh graders at John Witherspoon Middle School and a Princeton High School senior.

NIOT held a Unity Awards reception on May 16 at Princeton University’s Carl A. Fields Center. It was attended by many supportive community friends, including Bernie Miller, mayor of Princeton Township, Judith Wilson, superintendent of Princeton Regional Schools, Gary R. Snyder, principal of Princeton High, and Evelyn Counts, a counselor at JW. NIOT board members Carole Krauthamer and Wilma Solomon presented the awards. Each received a U.S. Savings Bond and a citation from Sen. Shirley Turner and Assembly members Reed Gusciora and Bonnie Watson Coleman.

Angie Abbis, a Cranbury resident who calls herself a “free-spirited Arab-American,” is being honored for actively seeking opportunities that would enable her to speak out, confront misunderstanding and injustice, and become the voice of change. She is scheduled to be honored at a PHS assembly on Tuesday, June 8, at 7 p.m.

Sarah Gavis-Hughson and Hannah Semmelback will be honored at the JWS assembly on Monday, June 14, at 8:45 a.m. They are cited for their quick response to the Haiti emergency by holding a bake sale, “putting feet and hands on their thoughts and words, demonstrating caring, and being role models for their peers.”

Not in Our Town aims to speak truth about ‘everyday racism’ and other forms of prejudice and discrimination, says Marietta Taylor, NIOT president. In cooperation with the Princeton Public Library, NIOT presents a discussion series, “Continuing Conversations on Race and White Privilege.” NIOT also sponsors book readings, workshops, film series, panels, and anti-racism demonstrations.

“Our hope is that Princeton will become a town in which the ideals of friendship, community and pride in diversity will prevail,” says Taylor.

Faith communities represented in Not in Our Town include First Baptist Church, the Jewish Center of Princeton, Nassau Christian Center, P’nai Or, Princeton Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Princeton United Methodist Church, Saint Paul’s Catholic Church, Trinity Church, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton, and Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church.

Photos by Roland Glover:

Top left, from left: Gary Snyder, principal of Princeton High School; Carole Krauthamer of NIOT, Judith Wilson, superintendant of Princeton Regional Schools; Sarah Gavis-Hughson and Hannah Semmelhack, honorees; Evelyn Counts, JW guidance counelor; Bernie Miller, Princeton Township mayor. Photo by Roland Glover.

Top right, NIOT board members from left: Fern Spruill, Joyce Turner, Barbara Fox, Ann Yasuhara, Carole Krauthamer, Ted Fetter, Marietta Taylor, Larry Spruill, Kate Caldwell (front), Nancy Strong, Wilma Solomon. Photo by Roland Glover.

Above far left: Carole Krauthamer presents Unity Awards to Sarah Gavis-Hughson and Hannah Semmelhack, 7th graders at John Witherspoon School.

Far right: Wilma Solomon presents citations from the New Jersey State Legislature to the girls.

Center: Wilma Solomon, Sarah Gavis-Hughson, Hannah Semmelhack, Carole Krauthamer. Photos by Roland Glover.