The Client: Not In Our Town (NIOT) represents a national movement of citizens responding to hate and working to build more inclusive communities. Together, Not In Our Town communities share and amplify stories and strategies about how to foster safety, inclusion and acceptance.
The Challenge: Use digital media to scale and support a growing grassroots network of communities and local leaders standing up against hate. Design pathways for distributed groups and grassroots leaders to organize, connect, and share their work both nationally and in their communities.
The Solution: Our extensive discovery process allowed us to pinpoint the grassroots activity already taking place across this growing movement and identify its greatest needs. Before our assessment, one popular option under consideration was to build a niche social network—a place where community leaders and activists could interact and coordinate. However, we discovered that NIOT groups were already organizing and connecting organically through established social platforms like Facebook and Google Groups.
Rather than asking local leaders to migrate from these established platforms into “yet another social network,” we developed strategies for (a) connecting these distributed groups and individuals to one another, (b) engaging new visitors or potential supporters in the mission, and (c) amplifying the collective voice of this distributed movement,
We worked with Not In Our Team staff to build a visual representation – an interactive map – of the communities and individuals leading the movement . The map is marked with the user-contributed locations of recent hate incidents (red dots), anti-hate actions (green dots), active NIOT groups (people icons), and schools (apple icons) using the NIOT anti-hate curriculum (Not in Our Schools). Rich media such as photos and videos are integrated into the map to help tell the story of the movement.
This map also serves as a key point of entry for community leaders and individuals to connect with one another. Each local group is featured on a page where they can share photos, stories, upcoming event details and external contact or networking info with others interested in getting involved locally. The group pages supplement online activities already taking place and help tell the story of the movement while increasing visibility for local groups.
Additional resources designed to support this movement-building effort include a community blog, video library, and a wealth of resources organized for teachers (see Not In Our School -http://www.niot.org/nios).
The website is built on the Drupal platform so that it can be frequently updated by non-technical staff to synchronize and support offline activity, such as broadcast events on PBS, or a recent feature in Oprah magazine. We partnered with Biro Creative to design a visual representation of the movement online that reflected not only the gravity of the issue but also the positive, inspirational nature of people working together for safe, inclusive communities.
Visit www.niot.org to get involved.