Arkansas Civil Rights

same-sex marriage 6-26-15
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR News

Same-sex couples are getting married in Arkansas after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling Friday that state same-sex  marriage bans are unconstitutional. 

The 5-to-4 decision has LGBT people in Arkansas rejoicing and state conservative groups lambasting the decision.

Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) on the state Capitol steps.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Governor Asa Hutchinson briefly chimed in on the subject of Confederate iconography in the hours preceding the governor of South Carolina’s call on Monday for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from its statehouse grounds.

Hutchinson said the flag does not have a place in contemporary politics but did not say it should be removed from South Carolina’s statehouse either.

Sue Cowan Williams
UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture

 70 years ago, a federal appeals court in St. Louis ruled that African American teachers in the Little Rock School District should receive pay equal to that of their white counterparts. The case left a lasting impact on black activism in the city.

The Fayetteville City Council will consider whether to send a new anti-discrimination ordinance to voters in a proposed Sept. 8 special election. Alderwoman Adella Gray, who is sponsoring the ordinance, said Thursday the new version is "very different" from a previous ordinance the city council passed last year.

Charles Zook, son of Arkansas Chamber of Commerce CEO, opposing chamber's role in LRSD state takeover.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A smattering of protestors lined the plaza of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce Wednesday at noon to denounce its support of the state takeover of Little Rock schools. Charles Zook said his family embodies what he characterizes as a suspect network of influence in the state’s 5-4 decision in late January to dissolve the locally elected school board.

Former school board member Charlie McAdoo speaking to about 75 people assembled in church in southwest Little Rock opposed to the state's role in the district.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The first 90-plus days of the Arkansas Department of Education’s role as the operator and arbiter of the state’s largest school district – the Little Rock School District – has not engendered a sense of confidence among all. 

Little Rock Nine 9
Michael Hibblen / KUAR

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation is planning to honor the surviving members of the Little Rock Nine with its Lincoln Leadership Prize later this month.

The foundation said Thursday that it would honor the civil rights figures on May 18 during a dinner in Chicago. Actress and playwright Regina Taylor will present the awards.

A hostile crowd confronted the nine students as they helped integrate Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas in 1957. They became known as the Little Rock Nine.

Jonesboro LGBT Protection Attempt Fails To Gain Support

May 6, 2015

Hot Springs just became the latest in a string of Arkansas cities to add sexual orientation and gender identity to a list of protected classes in city employment and contracts. However, a similar in ordinance in Jonesboro is unable to gain traction or even enough support for a vote to be held. KASU’s Jonathan Reaves reports.

Looking Down on Central Avenue in Hot Springs
wikipedia.org

Hot Springs is the latest Arkansas city at the forefront of a battle to provide legal protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The proposed ordinance, mirroring Little Rock’s recently passed measure applying to city employees and vendors, is being taken up Tuesday night.

City Director Becca Clark is leading the effort in the wake of a not-yet-in-effect state law banning local civil rights protections.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

The healthcare experience of transgender people in Arkansas is the subject of what some laud as an unprecedented study being launched by the Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition (ArTEC) in partnership with the UAMS College of Public Health. The community engagement based research project, funded by a $15,000 federal grant, was announced by ArTEC Tuesday.

The organization’s executive director Andrea Zekis said the award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute is a new direction at both the federal and state level.

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