NWA pledge hand symbol

NWA Leadership Pledge decals are here!

We’re excited to share graphics and decals to promote participation in the NWA Leadership Pledge. By taking the Pledge and using the “We Signed the Pledge” image, supporters can make a public demonstration of their organization’s commitment to addressing systemic racism and promoting a more equitable and inclusive Northwest Arkansas region.

If you would like to add your organization to our list of pledge supporters and receive a pledge decal at your place of work, please let us know here.

take NOTE.

Representation matters: diverse candidates win local elections

This month we saw the historic wins of Kevin Flores, the first Latino elected to Springdale’s city council, and Evelyn Rios Stafford, the first transgender candidate to ever hold elected office in the state of Arkansas.

Rios Stafford joins Kenny Arredondo Loyola as one of two Hispanic members on the 15-member Washington County Quorum Court. Another LGBTQ candidate elected in Arkansas this month is Chance Smith, an incoming member of the West Fork city council. In Rogers, April Legere became the first Black member elected to the Rogers city council. Runoff elections in the region could also result in additional seats for diverse candidates.

Eddie Ramos ran unopposed last March for an open seat on the Springdale school board. He is the first Latino on the school board.

Oscar Alvarenga won the city council race in Avoca. He is also the chair of the planning commission.

D’Andre Jones is in a runoff election to become the only Black member of the Fayetteville city council, and Gayatri Agnew, of South Asian descent, is in a runoff for Bentonville city council. EngageNWA congratulates all newly elected officials.

We look forward to further engaging and coordinating with local government in our shared efforts to create an inclusive region for all.

Applications open for BIPOC filmmakers in Arkansas

The Fayetteville Film Festival recently launched two educational and funding initiatives to support the development of Arkansas-based projects from Black, Indigenous and filmmakers of color.

The FFF-BIPOC Film Lab will facilitate educational workshops and networking events to encourage diverse content creation, equip filmmakers of color to tell their own stories and cultivate audiences that are truly reflective of the whole community. Beginning winter/spring 2021, the film lab will be open to all Arkansas BIPOC filmmakers.

The Micheaux Award—named in honor of Oscar Micheaux, a founding father of American Black cinema—will distribute up to $4,000 in two cycles per year for film projects in all stages of development, scope and genre. The winter 2020 cycle opened on Nov. 15 and closes Dec. 31.


KUAF Podcast Series Explores History of Anti-Racism Movement

With support from The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, KUAF has recently launched “The Movement That Never Was: A People’s Guide to Anti-Racism in the South and Arkansas.” This five-part podcast series begins with the protests over the killing of George Floyd this summer and the explosion of interest in anti-racist movements, particularly in white communities, and explores what it could mean for the future.

The podcast is written and executive produced by Paul Kiefer, a journalist based in Seattle and finalist for the Kroc Fellowship offered by National Public Radio. The first episode is now available.


'Let's Talk About Race' series wraps up with live conversation with best-selling author Ijeoma Oluo

Ijeoma Oluo, the New York Times best-selling author of So You Want to Talk About Race, spoke to more than 600 people virtually on Tuesday, Nov. 10. Her presentation marked the finale of the semester-long program for business, education and community leaders in Northwest Arkansas.

Organized and led by the Walton College’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Business Integrity and Leadership Initiative, the program was carried out in partnership with EngageNWA and the Northwest Arkansas Council and offered to NWA Leadership Pledge supporters. Throughout the fall, nearly 120 business and community leaders participated in facilitated conversations around Oluo’s book and discussed strategies to address system racism in the workplace and in the community.

Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive and included requests to continue the conversation and study through a variety of channels, such as book clubs, LinkedIn groups, shared resource guides and additional trainings and learnings. Together with other partners, we are excited to put these ideas into action and offer opportunities for further engagement.

A video of Oluo’s presentation and discussion is available to view until Nov. 25.


November 20 was the Transgender Day of Remembrance/Resilence that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.

Brush up on your allyship with this great resource from the Human Rights Campaign.

From tips for discussing gender diversity with family members, to ways for better affirming and supporting the trans and gender non-conforming people in your life, to ideas about making systemic changes, there are many opportunities for allyship here.


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