Racial dialogue | Arkansas Blog

Racial dialogue



Everybody's talking about racial divisions, but is anybody doing anything about it? The Little Rock Racial and Cultural Diversity Commission proposes to do so, in sponsorship with the Nehemiah Group of evangelical churches. The current controversy in the Little Rock School District prompts the sessions.

A news release on the jump about coming meetings on the subject.


Believing that this is a critical time for our city to come together in support of the students, teachers, current administration and board members of the Little Rock School District, Little Rock’s Racial and Cultural Diversity Commission and the Nehemiah Group will sponsor three public forums on the role of race, culture and faith in critical thinking, decision-making and conflict resolution. These forums are proposed in good faith by organizers who are concerned about tensions that exist over issues currently facing the Little Rock School Board.  Furthermore, these forums are offered in honor and respect of the Little Rock Nine who organizers believe should be wonderfully remembered for their courage without distraction in the year recognizing the 50th anniversary of the integration of Central High School.


The press conference and forums will take place as follows:

Press Conference: 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Little Rock City Hall Rotunda


Forum on Race:  6:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Philander Smith College Auditorium

One Trudie Kibbe Reed Dr., Little Rock, AR


Forum on Culture:  6:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 12, 2007

University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, Sturgis Hall

1200 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, AR


Forum on Faith:  6:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mosaic Church of Central AR

6420 Colonel Glenn Rd., Little Rock, AR


The sole purpose of these forums is to provide a framework for better understanding ourselves in relation to racial, cultural and faith-based grids through which we all tend to view reality.  Moreover, these forums are not intended to specifically address the current issues facing the LRSD or to provide a setting for the promotion of related agendas.  Rather, these forums will consider how such decisions can and should be made apart from contentious emotion.  Therefore, organizers will provide a context for such understanding and tools for working alongside others in a variety of situations with whom we disagree.  Ultimately, however, organizers do hope their efforts will encourage the greater community of Little Rock to help resolve current points of contention in the best interest of young people and the city of Little Rock. 


In order to do so, the following three questions will be addressed in each forum and followed by a time of audience participation via Q & A:


1.      What is race (culture, faith)?

2.      What should we understand about race (culture, faith) that can help us in critical thinking, decision-making and conflict resolution?

3.      How can we avoid cynicism, division and destructiveness built purely on racial (cultural, faith-based) grids in order to promote civil discourse and social harmony?


The forums will be moderated by Mayo Johnson of the RCDC and Mark DeYmaz of the Nehemiah Group. Annie Abrams will be an honorary moderator. These forums are open to the public free of charge.


For more information, contact:  Mayo Johnson of the RCDC (501-244-5483) or Mark DeYmaz of the Nehemiah Group (501-562-3336)


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