Diversity Discussions

Organizers wrapped up a week of events in Arkansas with a virtual press conference Friday where they announced plans to create legislation that works toward racial healing in the state. Sen. Joyce Elliott is working on the bill which would recognize the National Day of Racial Healing as an official statewide observance, establish community remembrance projects in all 75 counties, and exonerate Elaine Massacre defendants.

More than a dozen area nonprofits are continuing the process of bolstering their diversity and inclusion. The effort, with support from the Walmart Foundation and Walton Family Foundation, creates partnerships between the organizations and a central program. We talked with a representative from one of the funders (above) and a representative from one of the participating nonprofits (below) about the TRUE initiative.


Courtesy / White House


The University of Arkansas is reviewing all departmental diversity trainings, workshops and materials in order to comply with the Trump administration's "Executive Order on Race and Sex Stereotyping." The order, which goes into effect Nov. 21, prohibits discussion of "divisive concepts" including systemic racism, white privilege and unconscious bias during workplace trainings.

Courtesy / Olivia Trimble

This week, the Fayetteville City Council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance that allows the city prosecutor to add a hate crime component to certain misdemeanor offenses. City Council Member Teresa Turk sponsored the measure after spray painted hate speech was used to deface a City Council candidate's campaign sign and a mural on Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard. Arkansas is currently one of three state's without a state hate crime law.

A. Remer / KUAF

Two Black Lives Matters protests, staged in Harrison last Thursday and Friday, were peaceful, despite rumors of white nationalist counterprotests. State, county and local law enforcement were on hand to quell any clashes. A century ago, Harrison's black district was destroyed by white mob violence and city civil rights activists have been working in recent years to repair that legacy. 

Z. Sitek / KUAF

Local Black Lives Matter activists organized a second protest on the Bentonville downtown square this weekend after an initial protest a week ago ended in law enforcement deploying tear gas on protesters. During this lastest protest, Bentonville Police Chief Jon Simpson joined protesters in a moment of silence for George Floyd, whose death has sparked BLM rallies across the region and the country.

D. Caruth / KUAF

Nearly 4,000 people gathered in Fayetteville Tuesday night to protest the killing of George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer last month. The event started with speakers and a moment of silence and was followed by a march around the downtown square. The protest lasted until after midnight and despite some tense moments, it remained peaceful.

Z. Sitek / KUAF

More than a thousand people gathered on the Bentonville square Monday evening to protest the murder of George Floyd by a former Minneapolis police officer and the killings of other black men by white law enforcement officers. The protest began peacefully, but tensions escalated after sunset and police repeatedly used tear gas to disperse protesters, who are accused of throwing water bottles and rocks at officers, as well as vandalizing two police vehicles.

All Saints Episcopal Church in Bentonville is hosting a workshop Sept. 14 called “Facing Race: Becoming Conscious Allies.” Church officials are bringing in a facilitator to lead the seminar, whose goal is to create an understanding of how to become conscious allies to members of the Black community. 

There’s been conversation that race, diversity and inclusion need to happen, but where should they happen? Who should participate? What should be the goal? To help us think through other ways of addressing this topic, we invited two consultants to our studio to share their thoughts.