Those who have participated in activities sponsored by Not in Our Town are particularly invited to the Princeton Public Library on Thursday, May 19 at 6 p.m.

The library hosts a potluck supper to introduce Welcome to Shelbyville, a film about a potluck supper held in a small Tennessee town.

The event will start at 6 pm with a potluck sharing of appetizers and desserts, then the film will be screened at 6:30 followed by a discussion led by Kim Snyder and Anastasia (Stacy) Mann Among the co-sponsors are the Rutgers-Eagleton Program on Immigration and Democracy, the Princeton Borough Department of Human Services.. Not in Our Town Princeton, the interracial, interfaith social action group that is committed to speak truth about ‘everyday racism’ and other forms of prejudice and discrimination

Welcome to Shelbyville is billed as “a rare, inside look at America at a crossroads. In a small Tennessee town in the heart of the Bible Belt, a community grapples with rapidly changing demographics. Just a stone’s throw away from Pulaski, Tennessee (the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan), Shelbyville’s longtime African American and white residents are challenged with how best to integrate with a burgeoning Latino population and the more recent arrival of hundreds of Somali refugees of Muslim faith. Set on the eve of the 2008 Presidential election, the film captures the interaction between Shelbyville’s old and new residents as they search for a way to live together during that tumultuous, history-changing year.”

Why a potluck? It is integral to the film’s message, as this clip reveals. If you can come at 6, try to bring a dessert to share.

Set in 2008, when the economy is in crisis, the film aims to explore “the interplay between race, religion, and identity” and to portray “a community’s struggle to understand what it means to be American.” (Shown in photo: ESL students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance).

“In Shelbyville, the Tyson chicken plant is hiring hundreds of new Somali refugees, and when a local reporter initiates a series of articles about the newcomers, a flurry of controversy and debate erupts within the town.”

“Just as the Latino population grapples with their own immigrant identity, African American residents look back at their segregated past and balance perceived threats to their livelihood and security against the values that they learned through their own long struggle for civil rights. As the newcomers — mostly of Muslim faith — attempt to make new lives for themselves and their children, leaders in this deeply religious community attempt to guide their congregations through this period of unprecedented change.”

For additional information see Princeton Comment. The documentary premieres on PBS on May 24.