We celebrate Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a holiday that commemorates the day a last group of slaves, outside Galveston, Texas, heard they had been freed months earlier.

Holidays are symbols that give us a chance to connect with others across different communities and provide an opportunity to recommit to an idea that matters to us.

This is a holiday about freedom delayed and the long wait for progress. We invite you to read “The Long Wait” by Dr. Rickey Booker to further explore this wait for progress.

big NEWS.

Supreme Court upholds DACA, in favor of DREAMers

On June 18, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. Under the program, qualified individuals brought to the U.S. as children were given temporary legal status if they graduated from high school or were honorably discharged from the military, and if they passed a background check. The program has protected nearly 600,000 so-called DREAMers from deportation, including 5,000 DACA program recipients in Arkansas.

While the decision was a narrow one that still leaves some uncertainty for the long-term future of the program, we stand in celebration with Arkansans who were brought into this country as children – through no fault of their own – and who have grown up in our region, attended our schools and contributed to our campuses, economies and communities.

LGBTQ job rights secured in landmark Supreme Court case

Earlier in the week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed a major victory to LGBTQ equality. In a six to three decision, the Justices determined that “an employer who fires an individual for merely being gay or transgender defies the law.” Justice Gorsuch, writing the majority opinion, said “we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear.” He found such discrimination is barred by the language in the 1964 law that bans discrimination in employment based on race, religion, national origin or sex.

Across the United States, Americans have increasingly embraced equal treatment and access for LGBTQ Americans over the last decade. According to a Gallup poll in 2019, 63% of Americans supported same-sex marriage, compared with about 44% in 2010. We are delighted with this decision and congratulate the steadfast advocacy efforts of many of our friends and partners in this network.


“No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.”

- Marsha P. Johnson, LGBTQ activist

take NOTE.

IDEALS Institute offers framework for how businesses can advance racial justice

Social media has been flooded with corporate statements expressing solidarity for the Black community. While this is an important first step, organizations now have to move from statements of support to tangible action.

This is uncharted territory for many people and organizations, but diversity and inclusion leaders in NWA are ready to help make our workplaces and communities more equitable and just. The IDEALS Institute at the University of Arkansas recently published a blog that offers tips and resources for those looking to take the next steps in advancing equity in the workplace.


Virtual sessions designed to combat racism on U of A campus to be held throughout June

Repeated calls for racial justice in the wake of the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others have exposed the daily aggressions and barriers that Black people continue to face in our own communities, including the University of Arkansas campus. Their painful evidence was laid bare in this week’s flurry of Twitter posts organized around the hashtag #blackatuark.

On June 12, the University of Arkansas hosted its first of 10 online sessions titled “Transforming U of A: Combatting Racism to Build a More Inclusive Campus” with the goal of informing a campus action plan that will help create a more inclusive campus culture and climate. Nearly 400 students, faculty and staff attended the first session.

big IDEAS.

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation commit $100 million to new center for racial equity

As a part of Walmart’s response to the nationwide protests that have taken place in response to police brutality and systemic racism, the company is dedicating $100 million to a new center for racial equity. The center’s initiatives will fund research, advocacy, innovation of practices and tools, stakeholder convening and support the work of Black philanthropic leaders and organizations that serve Black communities.

To influence and lead change, we are going to use the power of Walmart to invest resources and develop strategies to increase fairness, equity, and justice in aspects of everyday life,” said Walmart CEO Doug McMillon.

The company announced that the center for racial equity will focus on five workstreams, four of which are related to national systems of finance, healthcare, education, and criminal justice, and a fifth focused on inclusion within the company.


make MOVES.

DEI Workshops Offered Online for Individuals and Groups

DATE: Various dates in July and August

The IDEALS Institute is offering a variety of virtual, facilitated workshops for individuals and groups this summer. Training ranging from Facing Bias to Micro-Aggressions to Equity 101 will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Class size is limited. Organizations and businesses interested in customized training should contact IDEALS.



Walmart Foundation has approved its grant to EngageNWA for 2020-2021, and we received a new grant from the Walton Family Foundation. Specifically, the grants will allow Engage to do the following:

– Implement a regional business engagement learning cohort to build DEI competencies of five chambers of commerce and 15 small to mid-size businesses.

– Expand our communication reach by targeting small and mid-size businesses with content and programming that addresses their needs and constraints.

– Assess local government efforts around diversity, equity and inclusion and develop a plan to maximize regional impact.

– In partnership with the University of Arkansas, improve business and nonprofit listings on DiversityNWA.com to help diverse populations in NWA acclimate to the region via the Diversity Resource Guide.

We are excited to get to work on all these efforts and look forward to sharing more details soon.