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Q2 Rewind: 25 Years Ago, Billings stood against hate and said: “Not in Our Town.”

Posted at 6:00 PM, Dec 03, 2018
and last updated 2019-07-17 14:50:53-04

BILLINGS – Twenty-five years ago Monday, Billings residents woke up to news they couldn’t bear to see. A child’s window, decorated for Hanukkah, smashed through by a brick.

In an instant, the community knew what to do. Solidarity, like wildfire, spread through the city as pictures of menorahs started appearing in windows all over town. It was this act that flung Billings into the national spotlight for its “Not in Our Town” movement, a community anti-hate response network bolstered by faith leaders, civic leaders, the police department, workers and citizens of all stripes.

The anti-hate movement here became the subject of a PBS documentary, and the story would become a model for combating hate in communities elsewhere.

The saga of racism, and the community’s response, was a year in the making, following a year’s worth of racial tension and a growing community response.

Watch the Q2 Rewind above to dive into our archive news footage of the anti-hate movement in Billings starting in the fall of 1992.

Q2 also asked Margie MacDonald, one of the community leaders helping to organize the movement, to share her reflections. She was the executive director of the Montana Association of Churches at the time.