Remembering George Floyd and Taking Action Against Racism

Image Source: Fayetteville Flyer

The Northwest Arkansas Council and EngageNWA commemorate Tuesday, May 25, as a Day of Enlightenment in honor of the first anniversary of George Floyd’s killing by police in Minneapolis.

The Day of Enlightenment is an initiative by the George Floyd Memorial Center, launched by members of the Floyd family, to turn the worldwide grief and anger sparked by Floyd’s death into hope and action against the racism that affects the justice system and other parts of society.

“This tragedy became a catalyst for increased commitment and urgency to address discrimination and bias across the world and in our communities,” said Margot Lemaster, executive director of EngageNWA, which works to foster equity and inclusion for all in Northwest Arkansas. “The Council and EngageNWA are proud to continue working with area leaders and companies to take tangible steps toward that commitment.”

After Floyd’s death in 2020, the Northwest Arkansas Council and EngageNWA launched the NWA Leadership Pledge for business, education, nonprofit and community leaders to commit to several principles, including to create workplaces free of discrimination and to support efforts to understand systemic racism’s historical underpinnings and address bias today.

To date, more than 170 other local corporations, chambers of commerce, higher education institutions and community organizations have signed the pledge. Earlier this month Walmart began sharing its Pledge for Anti-Racism public service announcement online and in local media.

Pledge members also convened in April for the first of a series of discussions on taking action in the workplace. Representatives from Movista and Wesche Company presented their work on using data and transparency to create a more inclusive workplace and maintain accountability toward positive change.

EngageNWA will hold its next Cohort Conversation on Thursday, when LaTricia Hill-Chandler of Arvest Bank will speak about the steps to create a community engagement program and important considerations when working collaboratively with diverse communities.

“We want this to be a space for learning and informal conversation,” Lemaster said. “These events give pledge supporters the chance to learn how to apply diversity, equity and inclusion principles to their own contexts and needs.”

Two events in June will focus on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, the often-overlooked destruction of a prosperous Black area of town and murder of hundreds of Black residents by white attackers, and its lingering effects today. On Thursday, June 3 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. local leaders Monica Kumar and Dustin McGowan will lead a training examining the devastating acts and consequences of that period in a place close to Northwest Arkansas. To register and for more information, go here. On Thursday, June 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Phil Armstrong, project director for the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, will provide a historical overview and update on the commission’s work to commemorate the centennial. To register and for more information, go here.


To join the NWA Leadership Pledge, click here.