Not in Our Town Princeton is a multi-racial, multi-faith group of individuals who stand together for racial justice and inclusive communities. Our focus is to promote the equitable treatment of all, and to uncover and confront white supremacy—a system which manipulates and pits all races and ethnicities against each other.
Since its inception, NIOT has held educational events for both adults and teenagers including book, video, and play discussions, exhibits, marches, and forums to raise community awareness of continuing racism and to promote activities to combat it. NIOT advocacy actions have included writing letters to the editor and providing assistance to community leaders in dealing with incidents of bias and discrimination. In 2004, the municipal Human Services Commission gave Not in Our Town its “Community Spirit Award.”
Not in Our Town grew out of the meetings held during 1998 and 1999 by concerned members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation (UUC) of Princeton, the Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church (WSPC), and Nassau Presbyterian Church (NPC) to discuss problems of racial injustice in the Princeton community. The group thought it would be helpful to enlist the support of other faith congregations in order to create an interfaith organization to work together on these problems in the Princeton community.
To this end, in the fall of 1999, a letter was sent to several faith congregations inviting them to send representatives to an organizational meeting. A number of congregations responded. Those present strongly believed that, as faith community members, they had the responsibility to take a more active role in matters related to racial justice and reconciliation in Princeton. As this group coalesced, it took the name Not in Our Town after a group in Billings, Montana, that had united its community to deal with several bias crimes that had occurred there. In 2015, it was decided to drop the requirement that board members represent a faith congregation.
On the first non-holiday Monday of the month at the Princeton Public Library, NIOT Princeton holds Continuing Conversations on Race and White Privilege, which provide an opportunity for people from different backgrounds to talk about race-related topics. Annually, NIOT presents a Unity Award to Princeton High School and John Witherspoon Middle School students chosen by their school counselors as exemplifying Not in Our Town’s mission statement. And our Truth and Transformation team is working with community partners to acknowledge our history and commit to transformation, driving change in the Princeton community.