BCN Staff – Jan. 14, 2022 — Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston announced today (Jan. 13) that the State of Arkansas will observe Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday as an official state holiday on Monday, Jan. 17. Martin Luther King Day in Arkansas was made a legal holiday in Arkansas by authority of Act 304 of 2001, when it was infamously linked with Robert E. Lee Day.
On March 21, 2017, Gov. Asa Hutchinson is signed Act 561 into law separating the days honoring MLK Day with the commander of the Confederate States Army who is still celebrated in Arkansas and other southern states as a national hero. The historic legislation approved by the Arkansas General Assembly nearly five years ago ended Arkansas’ sordid legacy as one of the few states, including Alabama and Mississippi, that celebrate the two holidays together.
In observance of the state and national holiday, State Capitol offices and state buildings will be closed. The State Capitol will be open to the public from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
The Secretary of State’s announcement is among a long list of events and observances taking place in Central Arkansas and across the state, including a controversial MLK Interfaith Prayer Breakfast where the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission invited former Gov. Mike Huckabee to be the keynote speaker at a “invitation only” ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion.
Some of those activities include:
- MLK Marade, 10 a.m. Monday, live on Facebook and YouTube.
Hear from civil rights leaders during the virtual MLK Marade. The Marade is an annual event organized by the Little Rock branch of the NAACP. https://itlrnaacp.wixsite.com/naacp/marade
- King Holiday Day of Impact, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday at Catholic High School, 6300 Father Tribou St., Little Rock. This event, put on by the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, will have free food, a job fair, health screenings, a car and bike show, a vaccination clinic and more.
- MLK Challenge 2022: Building the Beloved Community, 10 a.m. Monday on Zoom. This virtual event by Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is designed for children ages 12-18, who will have the chance to hear from local community activists. Participants will receive a Zoom link upon registration. https://www.facebook.com/events/1027290824499977
- On Tuesday, January 18, 2022, the State of Arkansas will observe the seventh annual National Day of Racial Healing (NDORH). NDORH was begun by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in 2013 as part of its new Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) initiative aimed at revolutionizing the way that foundations fund non-profits working on social issues.
This will be the third consecutive year that NDORH has been officially observed in communities throughout Arkansas due to the organizing events of the Arkansas Peace & Justice Memorial Movement (APJMM), which is a partnership between the Washitaw Foothills Youth Media Arts & Literacy Collective (WFYMALC) and Just Communities of Arkansas (JCA).
This year, APJMM is again joined by the Arkansas Municipal League, the Association of Arkansas Counties, the University of Central Arkansas, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, as co-hosts of a unique weeklong schedule of virtual TRHT events planned throughout the state.
The TRHT events scheduled for next week include:
- the annual national virtual event hosted by Soledad O’Brien,
- annual state press conference at the Arkansas Municipal League headquarters,
- the Collegiate Art of Racial Healing: Public Policy & Its Role in Racial Justice,
- screening of the documentary film “Monumental Crossroad” by the Dutch filmmaker Tim van den Hoff,
- panel discussions on the books “Remembering Emmett Till” by David Tell, “How to Fight Racism” by Jemar Tisby, and “Cousin” by Betty Kilby Baldwin & Phoebe Kilby, and
- Conway Conversations presents a “Revisiting Broken Systems” panel discussion.
For a full list of the two dozen events scheduled for the 2022 NDORH in the State of Arkansas, see attached, or text the word HEAL, and your email address, to 501-725-1337.
- Beyond Washington, 6 p.m. Jan. 20 live on Facebook. Mosaic Templars is hosting this virtual event, which seeks to explore King’s speeches after the March on Washington with a focus on his 1967 speech, “The Other America.” https://www.facebook.com/events/252561453484530
- The State of Diversity and Equity in Arkansas , 6 p.m. Jan. 20 on Zoom. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock will host a virtual panel to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion in various sectors of the state. Speakers will include UALR professors and community professionals. https://ualr-edu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEqdu-rpzojHdEkv-tINSyqd7CWQPdTZF9v
- CALS’ Racial Healing program series – The Central Arkansas Library system has organized three different programs and events to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day: a poetry workshop, a painting workshop and a gardening project. https://cals.org/martin-luther-king-jr
- A schedule of activities associated with the 20th anniversary of the Northeast Arkansas Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration has been announced by Dr. Lonnie Williams, vice chancellor for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement, at Arkansas State University. The theme for the Monday, Jan. 17, program is, “It Starts With Me.” Activities get underway at noon.
The event will be virtual for the second consecutive year due to COVID-19 concerns. Out of concern for participants’ safety, there will be no parade. A-State Chancellor Kelly Damphousse and Jonesboro Mayor Harold Copenhaver will provide opening remarks to get the occasion underway. The program will be broadcast live on the Craighead MLK Jr. Parade Facebook page at noon. For more information, contact Kenisha Ross, chairperson of the planning committee at MLKjrday_pr2001@yahoo.com or call 870-623-1951. KLEK also plans to air the program live and there will be performances by the MLK dancers. In addition, KAIT-TV in Jonesboro will air a retrospective with the time to be announced.
- The Craighead County NAACP, Mu Sigma Sigma chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority, and the Jonesboro Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority will host “Stop the Violence: A Conversation” Monday evening from 7-8:30 p.m. via Zoom. Join Zoom with the meeting ID 842 6981 6233, passcode 626721.
- Volunteer A-State plans to honor the MLK legacy by serving the A-State community. Join students in completing a service project at the A-State Food Pantry from 3-4 p.m., by volunteering online at AState.qualtrics.com. The Black Students Association is also hosting a food drive from 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the NEA Food Bank at 3414 One Place in Jonesboro.
To include your event on the BCN Martin Luther King Jr. Day calendar, sent us a note at info@BlackConsumerNews.com
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