While the event was only a week-long, the goals are long-term. We hope Welcoming Week NWA serves as an impetus to drive action all year long.
We recently celebrated a successful Welcoming Week NWA where organizations and individuals built connections and strengthened relationships across our diverse communities, supported refugees from around the world, and took other welcoming actions with the goal of fostering and expanding a more just, equitable, and inclusive Northwest Arkansas. While the event was a week-long, the goals are long-term. We hope Welcoming Week NWA serves as an impetus to drive action all year long.
Ballet Folklorico performs at the International Festival at Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks
Welcoming Week NWA was an important event to the region in multiple ways. Monica Kumar, a belonging and inclusion strategist working with EngageNWA spoke on the importance of the week: “Our region has grown increasingly more diverse over the last decade, and projections strongly indicate this trend is only going to increase. It is an opportunity for individuals and organizations to participate in building a welcoming and inclusive region and send a clear message to employees and visitors about our priorities and values.” The special week wasn’t just for employers; it was also a great way for families to engage in activities together and gave parents a chance to demonstrate the values of inclusion to their children.
The turnout during Welcoming Week NWA gives us much hope for the future. It demonstrates that an overwhelming number of individuals and organizations in our region truly value inclusion.
Leaders across the region proclaim messages of welcome
Our hope at Engage NWA is that everyone had their own personal experiences and take-aways from the week, and continue to practice inclusion as an intrinsic cultural value within their professional and personal lives. “I think that for some, learning about ‘welcoming’ was surprising, but incredibly exciting for what that can look like in our community now and in the future,” Kumar said.
We understand this work does not always come easy. Kumar expanded on how Welcoming Week NWA could make this process more achievable. “The projects and events were deliberately designed to be accessible and engaging to show that while work can be challenging and complicated, there are many opportunities to begin having conversations and join in community efforts that help make starting the journey a little easier,” Kumar said.
Papa Rap served as emcee at the International Festival at Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks
Everyone knows what it feels like to not belong. We join Monica Kumar and other inclusion leaders by fostering and expanding a more just, equitable, and inclusive region for all by purposefully addressing systemic racism in the communities in which we operate. We invite businesses and organizations to join over 200 signers of the NWA Leadership Pledge who are working to fulfill their commitment to the pledge through a cohort experience. These regular cohort convenings provide a dedicated space to ask questions, share learnings, and gain inspiration from colleagues and peers who are on the DEI journey together. Kumar summed it up best: “By supporting and sharing resources with one another, pledge signers can better accomplish their commitment to creating a more just, equitable, and inclusive region.”
When we find strength in our diversity — and actively resist fear and division — we can build a resilient community that fully harnesses the talents, skills, and contributions of every resident so that all can thrive. - WelcomingAmerica.org