“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”— James Baldwin
If we are to fulfill our mission of creating a more inclusive Northwest Arkansas region, we cannot look away. We cannot look away from the horrifying images of the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and far too many other black lives that have been senselessly taken at the hands of white supremacy, bigotry and racism.
If we are to fulfill our mission, where everyone – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or other identities – has access to and is engaged in ways that are fulfilling, we cannot look away from the disparities this pandemic has laid bare in our immigrant and minority communities because of systemic inequities perpetuated by unequal relations in roles, functions, decisions, rights, and opportunities.
We know that a diverse and inclusive region is the KEY to our future, but we cannot get there with our eyes closed.
Therefore, EngageNWA stands in solidarity with movement leaders and community members who are calling for justice and accountability for George Floyd’s senseless death.
We stand in solidarity with members of our community who are using this time to further their knowledge and understanding of our state’s history of lynching, Jim Crow laws and racist policies embedded in our systems of housing, education, transportation, health care and access to capital.
We stand in solidarity with business leaders viewing this unprecedented moment as an opportunity to ramp up, not halt, their diversity and inclusion initiatives through online classes, trainings and workshops.
And we stand in solidarity with many of our friends, coworkers and neighbors who are exhausted and traumatized by the legacy of white supremacy and racism and are looking to the white community for more than just supportive words during this time but, rather, meaningful action.
We will be announcing plans soon on some upcoming opportunities to engage in constructive dialogue and move forward as a region with positive action. If you are looking for ways to get involved, here’s a list of regional efforts: