Not In Our Town Princeton (NIOT), an interracial, interfaith social action group, held its annual Unity Awards reception on Sunday, June 5, at Princeton University’s Carl A. Fields Center. NIOT board members Carole Krauthamer and Wilma Solomon presented the awards to Justice Hall, Chaz Taylor, Joseph Hawes, and Mira Shane. Each received a U.S. Savings Bond from NIOT and state citations from Sen. Shirley Turner and Assembly members Reed Gusciora and Bonnie Watson Coleman.

Not In Our Town members honored the students for their efforts to promote respect for diversity and to advance the cause of race relations. Justice Hall and Chaz Taylor are graduating seniors at Princeton High School (PHS). Hall belongs to three leadership groups: Faithful Princetonians, Y Scholars, and PULSE, while Taylor is a member of Committed Princetonians, and served on the Corner House Teen Advisory Committee and with the Princeton Young Achievers.

Joseph Hawes and Mira Shane, eighth graders at John Witherspoon Middle School (JW) have been involved in diverse activities, including the peer-to-peer leadership program in the eighth grade; an intercultural program (Crossings) in the seventh grade, and the annual Martin Luther King Jr. assembly.

The award ceremony and reception was attended by many supportive community friends, including Princeton Township Council members Bernie Miller, Lance Liverman and Elizabeth Lempert; Princeton Borough Councilman Kevin Wilkes; Princeton Regional School Board Member Afsheen Shamsi; Gary Snyder and Jason Burr, PHS and JW principals; and John Cronin, retiring seventh grade JW counselor; Evelyn Counts, sixth grade JW counselor; former Township mayor James Floyd and retired PHS guidance counselor, Shirley Satterfield.

Founded 12 years ago, Not In Our Town Princeton aims to speak truth about ‘everyday racism’ and other forms of prejudice and discrimination. It distributes a lapel button with the motto “PRINCETON: Let friendship & pride in diversity prevail.” In addition to honoring students with the Unity Awards, NIOT organizes anti-racism demonstrations, as well as book and community discussions on race; and co-sponsors programs at the Princeton Public Library, including a monthly “Continuing Conversations on Race” series.

Faith communities represented in Not in Our Town include the Jewish Center of Princeton, Nassau Christan Center, Nassau Presbyterian Church, Princeton Baha’i Community, Princeton Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Princeton United Methodist Church, St. Paul’s Church, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton, and Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church.

Photo: Carole Krauthamer (far left) and Wilma Solomon (far right) present Not in Our Town’s Unity Awards to (from left) Justice Hall, Joseph Hawes, Mira Shane, and Chaz Taylor. Photo by Roland Glover.