Regional MLK events honor local leaders

The life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was celebrated and honored throughout the NWA region with virtual commemorations, vigils and community service projects.

The NWA Dr. MLK, Jr. Council held its 25th annual recommitment ceremony on Monday evening with awards and scholarships. Congratulations to the Council’s 2021 Salute to Greatness Award recipients: Dr. Yvette Murphy-Erby and Ella Donnell Lambey (Lifetime Achievement), Candice Jones (Ernestine White-Gibson Individual Achievement Award), Taliyah Brooks and Marcus Ballengee (Rodney Momon Youth Award), Deidre Davis Butler, Esq. and Dr. Gordon Morgan (Rev. J.A. Hawkins Posthumous Award), and NWA Food Bank (Nonprofit/Organization of the Year Award). The awards are given to individuals and organizations that exemplify excellence in leadership and a demonstrated commitment to social responsibility in the spirit and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The 4th Annual MLK Celebration in Springdale, organized by Alice Gachuzo, presented a bench and plaque honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to the city of Springdale in Luther George Park. Vision awards were also presented to the following: D’Andre Jones, MY-T-Design, Aaron Clarke, Irvin Camacho, Shame of Bentonville, Michael Bennett-Spears, Mayra Carrillo and Raven Cook.

big NEWS.

National Day of Racial Healing proclamations issued across the region

On Jan. 19, the day after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the state of Arkansas observed the fifth annual National Day of Racial Healing (NDORH). This is the second consecutive year this day has been observed by the communities throughout the state of Arkansas. As part of last year’s inaugural observance, Gov. Asa Hutchinson became this nation’s first governor to issue a gubernatorial NDORH proclamation.

One of this year’s goals is to have Arkansas become the first state where ALL of its municipal and educational executives (mayors, city managers, city administrators, county judges, school superintendents, college presidents and university chancellors) issue proclamations along with the Governor.

Mayors Doug Sprouse (Springdale), Lioneld Jordan (Fayetteville), Stephanie Orman (Bentonville) and University of Arkansas Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz joined the effort by issuing proclamations this week.

take NOTE.

ICYMI: Businesses share plans as part of their commitment to the NWA Leadership Pledge

We recently interviewed three NWA businesses about their motivations to sign the NWA Leadership Pledge and how they plan to honor pledge commitments in the year ahead. Speaking with Startup Junkie, Movista and Wesche Company, we explore the complexity of these issues in the workplace, the importance of listening, accountability and transparency, and the need to go beyond words and engage in direct and meaningful action.

With more than 160 organizations currently supporting the pledge, we are excited about developing and coordinating new learning opportunities and resources to help pledge supporters fulfill their commitments. Stay tuned for more information soon!

what we’re reading and listening to.

Arkansas Soul, the BIPOC news platform, recently featured a piece, “Black and Queer in the Great Outdoors” written by M Shelly Conner, an assistant professor of creative writing at UCA. The piece led to a new weekly series, “Take A Hike,” that examines diversity in the Arkansas outdoors. Each installment highlights one of the Natural State’s 52 state parks and features BIPOC Arkansans sharing what they enjoy about spending time in nature.

A new Arkansas Atoll podcast seeks to address the COVID-19 crisis and healthcare disparities in the Marshallese community. Through community voices, the series explores the history of the United States and the Marshall Islands’ political relationship and the status of the Marshallese as both nuclear and political refugees. The podcast is a production of the Arkansas Story Vault at the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History and is co-produced by the School of Journalism and Strategic Media at the University of Arkansas.


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