It shall be the mission of
UNITY IN THE COMMUNITY
It shall be the purpose of
- To Cultivate an appreciation of the cultural heritages present in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park, Virginia
- To Promote cross-cultural understanding
- To Instruct all citizens in anti-bias skills, cultural diversity and basic human rights
- To Educate the public about the laws and consequences of hate crimes and other hate activities
- To Involve our communities more actively in preventing, stopping, and responding to these crimes and activities, and
- To Engage all citizens in the active realization of these goals
UNITY IN THE COMMUNITY
- To Combat racism, antisemitism, and other forms of discrimination in our communities.
- To Support unity response teams to assist those who have been targeted by incidents of hate or bias.
- To Develop and sustain a cooperative task force with Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park, Virginia that examines incidents of hate activity and proposes methods for preventing and dealing with these crimes and their prosecution in Virginia.
- To Strive for change and consolidation in the laws affecting hate crimes and their prosecution in Virginia.
A Brief History of Unity in the Community
In the fall of 1995 Illana Naylor and the Manassas Church of the Brethren addressed letters to local congregations inviting them to share the richness of our diversity and to begin planning an event that would draw public attention to the problems of intolerance facing our community. In the following months, Illana Naylor and Debbie Rubenstein co-chaired the effort to bring a major community event to fruition. Many places of worship, community organizations and citizens from Manassas, Manassas Park and Prince William County participated. A key component of this first event was the showing of the documentary film “Not in our Town,” and the development of a plan of action through discussion groups conducted following the film. This plan of action has been a driving force for the work of UNITY IN THE COMMUNITY.We are proud to say that with the help of community agencies, leaders, and elected officials, we have accomplished the following:
Prince William County, Manassas City and Manassas Park have passed resolutions declaring these places Hate-Free and Bigot Free zones.
The Prince William County Police developed a brochure on hate crimes to educate the public and implemented a Worship Watch program for churches at risk of vandalism.
The Prince William County Public Schools sponsor institutes and workshops to acquaint teachers with the cultures in our community.
The Prince William County School Board voted to stop considering students absent for the purposes of perfect attendance when they are attending religious services.
Unity in the Community provided support for the change in Virginia law that increased penalties and improved the ability of public defenders to prosecute perpetrators of hate crimes.
- The following incidents of hate leafleting by the KKK, Unity in the Community organized passive neighborhood action to state boldly that messages of hate and intolerance are not welcome in our communities. Hate leafleting stopped and remains in check.