Filmmaker Starts Dialogue to Advance Safer Communities in Hungary

In recent years, violence in communities shared by Roma and non-Roma citizens has shocked the world. Home to 600,000 Roma, Hungary has seen its share of violence, including the murder of at least five Roma in 2009. In an effort to build safer communities for all, CEU's Ellen Hume, Annenberg Fellow in Civic Media at the Center for Media and Communications Studies (CMCS), launched a three-part series to advance the conversation. On April 15, guest speaker Patrice O'Neill screened her moving documentary “Not in Our Town,” which chronicles the community's swift, grassroots response to hate crimes perpetrated in the town of Billings, Montana in the mid-1990s. The documentary spawned an eponymous movement (http://www.niot.org/) to create safe and inclusive communities.

“It's not an American model, it's a human model,” O'Neill said. “And now we'd like to see how the Billings story can help us make a new story in Hungary. This is fundamentally human; it has nothing to do with our politics. We believe that every person has the fundamental right to walk down the street and be safe.”O'Neill's Not in Our Town project has been adopted in 70 different U.S. cities and towns, in high schools in Capetown, South Africa, and in parts of Ukraine. Visit the Not in Our Town website for further information and free, downloadable videos.

The event was co-sponsored by CMCS, the Embassy of the United States, and the Embassy of Norway, and the Hungarian Ministry of Human Resources.