UALR to host “Black and Brown Lives: Justice Over Social Divides” youth leadership workshop

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock Institute on Race and Ethnicity will host a youth workshop designed to teach high school and college student leaders to become community organizers prepared to handle important social movements.

UALR students Yolanda Anzora, Mackenzie Bolt, Jaztone Brewer, Lizzie Ferguson, Akshaya Garimalla, Kalan Horton, Ashli Hunter, Linda Sanchez, Bruno Showers, and Christine Stuckey were selected to participate in the youth workshop from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26.

Student leaders will learn to provide contemporary examples of where creative, youth-led community building and cross-cultural collaboration is impacting society, and about the methodologies of the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee, a research and education center focusing on grassroots organizing in Appalachia and the South.

Workshop leaders Esmeralda Baltazar, a visual artist and educator at the Highlander Research and Education Center, and Aquil Charlton, a hip-hop musician and artist in residence at the Arts Incubator in Chicago, will draw on their professional experiences as teaching artists and community organizers to discuss movements and initiatives that are local to both Chicago and the South.

The students, selected based on their passion and potential for community organizing, are eager to gain insight that will make them more effective leaders and change agents.

“I am very excited to learn from both Aquil and Esmeralda, and I hope for a better understanding of how to apply concepts from larger coalition work to AWARE,” said Akshaya Garimalla, an international studies major and co-founding president of AWARE (Advocating for the Wellbeing and Respect of Everyone), a UALR student advocacy organization.

In addition to the youth workshop, Black and Brown Lives: Justice Over Social Divides, a panel presentation on how the Black Lives Matter movement has come to function as a unifying element for other social movements, will be held 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 25, at the Clinton School of Public Service’s Sturgis Hall.

The “Black & Brown Lives: Justice Over Social Divides” youth workshop is part of the “Latino Americans: 500 Years of History” public programming initiative, sponsored by the UALR Department of International and Second Language Studies, the UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture, the Arkansas Arts Center, and the Clinton School of Public Service, and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.

Spots are still available for college and high school students to attend the workshop. For more information on how to participate, contact Dr. Erin Finzer at 501.569.3272 or

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