Walton Family Foundation Prioritizes DEI in New Five-Year Plan

The Walton Family Foundation recently unveiled its plans to spend $2 billion over the next five years on the foundation’s three, longstanding programmatic areas — protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, improving K-12 education and investing in the foundation’s home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta.

The plan prioritizes three goals: championing community-driven change to ensure the foundation’s work reflects the voices and needs of communities in which it works; prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion in the grants the foundation makes and the voices it engages; collaborating with partners to develop innovative approaches that bring people, resources and ideas together from across government, local communities, and the private and philanthropic sectors.

The strategy envisions Northwest Arkansas as one of the most vibrant and inclusive regions in the nation. Specific initiatives include advancing economic and cultural vibrancy, fostering inclusive growth and a sense of belonging, and supporting community leadership and capacity-building.

big NEWS.

Angela Davis Delivers First Distinguished Lecture of 2021 at the U of A

Long-time political and civil rights activist Angela Davis delivered a virtual lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 16, as part of a series put together by the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville’s Distinguished Lecture Committee.

Dr. Yvette Murphy-Erby, vice chancellor of diversity and inclusion, moderated the lecture that included topics such as Black struggle as a symbol of all liberation movements, the role of higher education in addressing inequities, and the emergence of self-care as tool for survival and resilience.

Davis is the author of 10 books, including “Are Prisons Obsolete?” She has held various academic positions while advocating such causes as abolishing the prison system and recognizing the rights of those incarcerated. The lecture was presented as part of “Envisioning Justice: The Current Faces of Social Justice in America,” a virtual conference featuring a series of lectures from experts in racial, religious and institutional discrimination.

Watch the full recording of Angela Davis’ lecture and interview here.

Black Action Collective Announces Leading With Excellence Awards

Have you heard? The Black History Team of Compassion Fayetteville founded by D’Andre Jones and Pattie Williams is now The Black Action Collective (BAC). Although the mission has updated, the focus is the same. BAC affirms and celebrates the rich history and contributions and resilience of the black community in Fayetteville, Northwest Arkansas, the state and the nation.

In celebration of Black History Month, The Black Action Collective will hold a special ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. to celebrate the victories and accomplishments of those who embody Black excellence in NWA. The Facebook Live event, hosted by Chris Martin with Danyelle Musselman as a featured speaker, will recognize the leaders in our community affecting positive change for Black lives.

Learn more here.

Mossi’s Auto Sales and Repair at 563 M.L.K. Blvd in Fayetteville

Canopy NWA Partners with Forge Fund to Support Refugee-Owned Businesses

Eca Mukandama recently opened Mossi’s Auto and Repair in south Fayetteville with the support of an emerging partnership between regional refugee resettlement agency Canopy NWA and Forge Community Loan Fund. Before coming to the U.S., Eca studied the mechanics of large cars and trucks during his time as a refugee living in Burundi. For the last several years, he has worked as a mechanic for public transit in Northwest Arkansas and soon began dreaming of owning his own business.

After completing Canopy’s 12-week, Plan It! entrepreneurship program, Eca became the first Canopy client to apply for start-up capital with Forge Community Loan Fund. Despite a higher-than-average loan repayment rate of 98%, refugees and other immigrants often face significant barriers accessing traditional lines of credit due to strict underwriting and collateral requirements of traditional banks.

Forge, a community development financial institution based in Huntsville, is the oldest revolving loan fund in Arkansas. It was established to help those with lower incomes access the capital they need to become successful entrepreneurs.

Listen to the full Ozarks at Large story here.

take NOTE.

EJI Memorial in Alabama

Local Effort to Remember Victims of Racial Terror Hosts Racial Justice Essay Contest

The Washington County Community Remembrance Project (WCCRP) led by a group of Fayetteville historians and community members, is working to educate and establish a memorial marker in the historic Oaks cemetery to venerate three enslaved men who were executed in Washington County in 1856.

Working in alignment and with the support of the Birmingham-based Equal Justice Initiative, the project is about involving the African American community and others in establishing a memorial marker for the three victims, Aaron, Anthony and Randall. 

The WCCRP is currently hosting the Equal Justice Initiative’s 2021 Racial Justice Essay, funded in part by the Black History Commission of Arkansas. The Equal Justice Initiative is providing scholarship prizes totaling at least $5,000 for winning participants, who must be in 9th-12th grade and enrolled in a public school in Washington County.

The deadline for submission is April 23, 2021.

make MOVES.

NWA Black-Owned Business Expo

HOSTED By: NWA Black Business Directory

DATE: Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Shiloh Square, 106 W. Emma, Springdale

Connect, shop, learn and network with Arkansas’ Black-owned businesses in the second annual expo. Advance registration is required.

Register here.

Lunch and Launch for Entrepreneurial Women of Color
HOSTED By: Women’s Foundation of Arkansas

DATE: Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021 (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), Zoom

Spend your lunch hour listening to the latest research on entrepreneurship among women of color in Arkansas and participate in breakout sessions with fellow entrepreneurs to discuss opportunities and challenges.

Register here.


Thank you for your continued commitment to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in Northwest Arkansas!