UALR students, Yolanda Anzora, Danielle Arnold, Tyler Dixon, Akshaya Garimalla, Kalan Horton, Maija Jones, DeAunna Lewis, Linda Sanchez, Bruno Showers, and Kiahjea Ward, were selected to participate in an invitation only community organizing workshop entitled “Black & Brown Lives: Justice Over Social Divides,” led by Aquil Charlton and Esmeralda Baltazar.
The workshop will take place at the UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity on Feb. 26. Workshop objectives include providing contemporary examples of where creative, youth-led community building and cross-cultural collaboration is impacting society, especially in Little Rock and across the South, and examining how cross-cultural collaboration and coalition work can be applied in local and regional contexts.
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,” says Akshaya Garimalla, an international studies major, intern at Just Communities of Arkansas, and co-founding president of AWARE, a UALR student advocacy organization. Yolanda Anzora, an interdisciplinary studies graduate student, and member of the Little Rock Chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, says she’s attending the workshop “to learn how to organize outreach programs, how to engage people through activism, and how to raise awareness about social causes such as race relations, multiculturalism, and immigration.”
Linda Sanchez, a Spanish major and criminal justice minor, is an interpreter for ArkMOM dental clinic, and, when needed, parent-teacher conferences in Malvern, Arkansas public schools. She hopes what she learns from the workshop will help her serve her community better. Biology major DeAunna Lewis is looking forward to learning the points of view of others, while public administration graduate student, Bruno Showers hopes to learn how to build coalitions across racial lines “I’m interested to see their take on how to make that work and be effective,” says Showers. Likewise, construction management major, and president of the UALR chapter of the NAACP, Kalan Horton, says he hopes to learn “more effective ways to implement tangible change in Black & Brown communities.”
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.