Welcome to our experiential education program – Not Here! Not Now! There is no time or place for hate.
We began our project with the creation of an award-winning, documentary film, Near Normal Man. Then added the experience of screening and leading conversations with tens of thousands of students in hundreds of audiences, nationally and Internationally.
We have built our experiential education program with the help of students, teachers, skilled educators, curriculum specialists and experiential learning creators.
Our program is yours when you purchase a DVD or streaming version of Near Normal Man.
Please view our introduction and short film clip on why we created our film and program:
Education Focus of Interest
Our Education Program Has Something for Everyone!
Click the links below, that represent your focus of interest:
Once you purchase either a DVD or streaming version of Near Normal Man, you can become a member and the following
support materials and services are yours at no additional cost:
• Educator/Teacher Tool Kit
• Student Materials
• Teacher training via live webinars and/or taped sessions, delivering an easy-to lead program
• Experiential education easy to teach with great impact and sustained commitment
• Parent education
• Help Line for all your questions.
The First Amendment’s protection of freedom of expression has allowed progressive voices to argue for tolerance, equality, and social justice. But, what happens when that freedom is used to express intolerance and hate? Creating both the documentary film, Near Normal Man and our experiential education program, “Not Here! Not Now!” There is no place or time for hate, we want young people everywhere to experience and learn the profound consequences of hate speech unchecked.
Our half-hour film illustrates the powerful story of Holocaust camp survivor and social justice activist, Ben Stern. As a young adult, Ben survived 2 ghettos, 9 concentration camps, and 2 death marches, only to face Nazis again in 1978 in Skokie, Illinois. Faced with the prospect of a Nazi march through the streets of his adopted hometown, Ben sparked and mobilized a massive counter-protest with the rallying cry: “Not Here! Not Now!”. And again, in 2017, defying Nazis for the third time in his life, Ben led a march of hundreds in the streets of Berkeley and spoke to thousands at the Rally Against Hatred in defiance of a Nazi rally, close by. Ben has chosen to tell his story and through his experience, leaving a lasting message of courage, kindness and hope; most especially to the next generation who will surely be our most important participants in the future of democracy.
Near Normal Man, an introduction into today’s burning issues: the dangerous growth of hatred in America from national leaders down to students, is an urgent and important threat to any chance for a peaceful future in our world today. The experience of Near Normal Man, delivered with the experiential education program creates deep impact, conversation and lasting commitment by our target audience of 16-24 years, with every accent, faith, race and country. The conversation that follows Near Normal Man offers rich, meaningful and lasting lessons across many topics from history to today: enacting 1st Amendment rights while ensuring the well-being of all; and the challenge of living a life of making ethical choices as well as taking individual responsibility for oneself and others.
We hope you join in with us to bring Ben’s message to young audiences around the world.
As soon as you have purchased either a DVD or streaming version of Near Normal Man, sign up on our website. Then the following support materials and services are yours, as a member, to designate to the school of your choice, at no additional fee:
• Educator/Teacher Tool Kit
• Promotional Materials
• Student Materials
• Teacher Training via live webinars and taped sessions, to make the experiential education easy to deliver,
with great impact and sustained commitment
• Parent education
• Help Line for all your questions
We are so appreciative of your kind and generous support to bring our program to your students, their schools and/or organizations. We are succeeding with the help of over 200 people like you and the generosity of organizations who want to make a difference in the growth of hatred and hate speech in their schools and communities. There are several ways you can help grow our reach and impact on students everywhere. Step 1 is to go to nearnormalman.org and read more about our project. Then, you can determine your next step.
- Contact us with any questions.
- Recommend the purchase of Near Normal Man to your local high school, community college, university or organization.
- Fund the purchase of Near Normal Man for your local high school, community college, university or organization.
- Donate to help us expand our outreach and program development.
For Rotary Club Members
As a fellow Rotarian, our program values are a match to Rotary Club’s 4-Way Test and its goals of Education and Justice. We recently received an initial Berkeley Rotary Club grant to engage 10 Rotary clubs to sponsor this program in their local high schools and colleges. We are eager to work with Rotary Clubs everywhere.
Our ambitious goal is to partner with every Rotary Club, world-wide, to deliver a Rotary Club-sponsored, screening and education program to one (or more) high school(s) in their community. We will request a presentation or help you present our slide/film introduction to a decision-making committee or your club members. We will train teachers and facilitate implementation in our pilot rollout program. We offer parental education as well.
Delivering our educational program, Not Here! Not Now! includes a film screening and experiential education program anchored by Near Normal Man, an award-winning documentary film.
- We will prepare teachers to lead Not Here! Not Now! at their school using a Rotary Specific Tool Kit, to include a live webinar that will be recorded and available for future trainings.
- We provide a dedicated email address hotline for questions and answers for teacher support.
- Your Club can also sponsor a “Not Here! Not Now!” Contest at your local school, judge entries and award the three winners prizes at your club meeting, and use the contest for your local Rotary Club publicity.
a. Our Team or a Rotary Club volunteer from Berkeley Rotary or from each local Rotary club will present our slide/film introduction to their local club or committee. Participating clubs will then offer the film and program to their selected school.
- Feedback, suggestions and ideas will be gathered from each Rotary Club experience.
For Educators and Administrators
Near Normal Man was a dream, that became a reality after 7 years , over 200 generous donors and literally thousands of hours of hard work. From the very first screening with students, their questions were profound and their needs sparked conversation that lasted long after the event, engaging teachers and administrators. Feedback from every source confirmed the results;
- students are deeply impacted, embraced Ben Stern’s message and make sustained personal commitments.
- I began to write and archive the many questions we heard from students — some still take my breath away.
We reached out to educators, expert curriculum developers and teachers who wrote, evaluated and added recommendations along the way. You are now most important person in delivering both Near Normal Man the film and, its timeless, essential lessons that will sustain students through their adult lives. Addressing hate and hate speech has never been more important.
We hear students’ needs and continue to respond. Once Near Normal Man has been purchased for or by your education institution, we will offer you membership that will bring you live and recorded online learning and training sessions to help you deliver this program with confidence to your students.
Professor Jerry Sanders, an esteemed international educator in Peace and Conflict Studies, endorses Near Normal Man. He has developed a powerful construct below on education students in Ben’s life and message:
Professor Jerry Sanders, Visiting Professor, International Peace Studies, United Nations University for Peace, former Chair, Peace and Conflict Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Near Normal Man is an exceptional film, about the life of an extraordinary man. The genius of Near Normal Man, what sets it apart, is Ben Stern’s narration of his remarkable life journey, the profound questions he provokes and the lessons he imparts—questions and lessons both timely and timeless—about the nature of evil, the power of the human spirit, the struggle against injustice, and how one lives a life of integrity and authenticity in the face of unmitigated evil.
In thinking about how to bring such weighty matters into the classroom, I find that the film offers several pivotal junctures that inspire launch points for reflection and discussion. For purposes of illustration I will focus on three moments of overwhelming challenge and Ben’s life-affirming responses in each of these cases:
The first moment takes place in Ben’s youth. His youth and young adulthood, of course, the so-called formative years we speak of, were spent in concentration camps…an experience as he recounted that drove many insane while others threw themselves onto electrified wire to escape the madness.
In the midst of this nightmare, Ben made a choice of life over death—saying he “decided not to give in” that he “was determined to go on”, whereupon he somehow summoned the inner strength, courage and bravery to see his decision through.
The second moment comes at the end of the war, in his early adult years, where in his words “he was liberated, but not free.” Here, he faced the unbearable sorrow of having lost all of his family.
Once again, he summoned the strength, as he said “to rise from the ashes”—to marry and start a family, and through the joy of children, to begin to feel human again—and even to regain hope in “human kindness”. [It was in this moment, when Ben chose to let go of hatred and to finally free himself to live his life fully]
The third moment I have chosen takes place after he had become, in his words, a “Near Norman Man”. At this mature point in his life, the unimaginable happens, and the face of evil reappears in the form of neo-Nazis in his home community of Skokie, Illinois.
One can only imagine the fear and the rage that Ben experienced, so much so that this compassionate and peaceful man was driven to purchase a gun after receiving death threats for speaking out against the planned march of the neo-Nazis.
But once again—and the larger story here—is that Ben chooses life over violence, rallying with others in his community, leading a petition drive that gathered 750,000 signatures against the march, and turning out 60,000 strong in the name of truth against neo-Nazi lies and incitement to violence—causing the Nazis to change their plans and withdraw from Skokie.
Each of these character-revealing moments contains many profound lessons about the strength and courage of the human spirit in the face of evil in its many incarnations.
Ben exemplifies this triumphant spirit and the telling of his story is truly a gift to today’s youth–as well as generations to come. Buy Now
For Organizations & Parents
You may be a parent, grandparent, member of your PTA, church, civic organization, synagogue, or Jewish institution. You most likely have too frequently seen, read, and/or experienced the consequences of hate speech. And when unchecked – you know about the personal trauma and lasting impact it can have on young people.
Near Normal Man is a memorable film experience shaped for the next generation. It is followed by deeper experiential learning program that takes root in both the hearts and minds of students. We ask you to help us reach the students in your community by purchasing Near Normal Man for your high school, community college or religious school. We are ready to help the teachers at the school of your choice prepare, with live webinars and video training to deliver a memorable and sustainable educational experience.
For Student Ambassadors & Facilitators
We are so excited and pleased you want to deliver Near Normal Man film and “Not Here! Not Now! education event and project. Plan on several months to complete the project with a few team members.
We will connect with you and your team from the start to support your success through delivery and feedback.
Some Key Steps:
- Recruit 2-4 other students who want to do this project
- Find an educator, administrator and/or the school librarian to be your sponsor(s). Ask if they will give you additional recognition or credit for this project, as other schools are doing.
- Near Normal Man needs to be purchased by your school or organization (with the help of school library, PTA, or district funds, rotary club, organizations and/or an individual gift) through our website www.nearnormalman.org
Once you purchase, you’ll sign up for membership, we’ll guide your plan of implementation, by providing you with the following:
• Training videos
• A sample flyer Announcement
• Photos from the Film
• Press Kit
• Optional contest (with sponsor support)
• Pre and Post Screening Surveys
• Event feedback form
- We’ll hold 2-3 calls to answer questions about the film or screening event and make suggestions to build awareness and audience size in your school.
- We ask you to gather student feedback in a short survey afterwards to help us learn from your event – from audience members, sponsors, attending educators and yourselves.
BECOME A MEMBER NOW Access our Education Program Tools