Oakland nonprofit’s doc to air on PBS

Thursday, February 9, 2012 | by

A new film about fighting hate and anti-Semitism will air this week on PBS stations nationwide.

“Not in Our Town: Class Actions,” a half-hour documentary by the Oakland-based nonprofit The Working Group, features three stories of students and their communities standing together to stop hate and bullying and build safe, inclusive societies. The producer is Charene Zalis, a member of Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco.

One of the stories profiles Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., where the campus and town united after a series of anti-Semitic attacks targeted Jewish students and institutions just before Chanukah 2010. Windows were smashed at the campus Chabad House and Hillel building. Hebrew texts were urinated on, and swastikas were scrawled on dorm walls.

In response, the mayor joined 300 residents in lighting a giant public menorah, local Muslims joined a gathering of support at Beth Shalom synagogue, and a Facebook campaign inspired nearly 4,000 people to wear blue on Dec. 6, which was declared Bloomington Jewish Solidarity Day.

Launched by The Working Group in 1995, Not In Our Town began with a PBS documentary about the people of Billings, Mont., coming together after a rock was thrown through a Jewish family’s window.

“Class Actions” is the group’s fourth national PBS special. KQED will air it Monday, Feb. 13 at 11:30 p.m.,  Feb. 19 at 2:30 p.m. and March 19 at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 9, and Wednesday Feb. 15 at 11:30 a.m. on KQED World.