Last week marked the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which granted women the right to vote. While a groundbreaking accomplishment, Jim Crow laws prevented many women of color from exercising this right for decades after it was ratified.
Securing the freedom to vote and encouraging participation in the democratic process is perhaps the most important thing we can all do to make our region, our state and our country more inclusive and equitable.
Recently, we have enjoyed KUAF’s partnership with the League of Women Voters of Washington County as it shares personal stories about what the right to vote means to some of the organization’s members.
Due to COVID-19, it is important that we all have a plan on how we will cast our ballots this fall. Check out these guidelines about early voting and absentee ballots and share with friends, colleagues and employees to make sure all voices are heard this election season.
Arkansas General Assembly proposes hate crime bill
Arkansas is currently one of three states that does not have legal protections for victims of hate crimes. And, with one of the highest numbers of hate crime groups per capita in the nation, it is vital to offer protections for victims and penalties for those who commit these offenses.
Recently, a bipartisan group of Arkansas General Assembly members, along with Governor Asa Hutchinson, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas business leaders, and members of various faith communities, proposed hate crime legislation to be filed during the 2021 legislative session.
This bill would define a hate crime as any offense against a victim that is based on race, ancestry, color, current or former service in the U.S. Armed Forces, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, homelessness, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation. If signed into law, it will increase prison sentences for offenders who commit hate crimes and require an annual report on hate crimes in Arkansas.
EngageNWA and the Northwest Arkansas Council proudly support its passage.
“I cannot help wondering sometimes what I might have become and might have done if I had lived in a country which had not circumscribed and handicapped me on account of my race, that had allowed me to reach any height I was able to attain.”- Mary Church Terrell, suffragist and first president of the National Association of Colored Women and a charter member of the NAACP.
Fayetteville City Council declares racism a public health crisis
Across the country, cities, counties and states are moving to declare racism a public health crisis in the wake of nationwide protests against police brutality, as well as a pandemic that has disproportionately impacted Black and Latinx communities. The city of Fayetteville recently joined that movement.
The resolution, unanimously adopted by the city council, recommends the development of a racial equity strategic plan to address racial disparities in the city. It also commits the city to allocate money, staff and resources to actively engage in racial equity initiatives. According to the African American Advisory Council, the resolution represents an acknowledgment of racism’s impact on well-being, including disparities in housing, education and health.
Last day to apply for HWOA COVID-19 Scholarship
HOSTED BY: Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas (HWOA)
DATE: August 31, 2020
This emergency scholarship is for Hispanic students, traditional and non-traditional, from Benton and Washington counties, who will be attending or are currently attending a technical school, college or university during the fall 2020 semester. Applicants must attend a school in Arkansas. Students must apply online.
NWA Business Women’s Conference
HOSTED BY: Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce
DATE: September 15, 2020 (Virtual)
The NWA Business Women’s Conference is the premier women’s conference in the region. Known for its outstanding keynote speakers and networking opportunities, more than 1,500 of Northwest Arkansas’ most accomplished business women attend the conference each year.
WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO
We loved the first episode of Affirmative Action, a new podcast series hosted by Arkansas-based Antoinette Grajeda. The podcast is a project of Arkansas Soul, a digital media project geared toward BIPOC in the state.
In the first episode, “Affirmative Action: Black Lives Matter,” Grajeda interviews activists around Arkansas to figure out what makes this summer’s protests different and where we go from here.