Arkansas Civil Rights

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (center) signs a black history month declaration while sitting beside State Sen. Linda Chesterfield (right).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson used the stature of his office to commemorate Black History month with African-American leaders and dozens of school children at the Capitol, Monday. The governor signed a declaration and lent his voice.

“It is not a time for African-Americans to celebrate your own history by yourself. It is a time that you share African-American history with everyone else,” said Hutchinson.

The Republican governor said everyone must be vigilant in protecting the gains of the past.

Northwest Arkansas Workers' Justice Center

A report issued Friday by the Northwest Arkansas Workers' Justice Center shows large percentages of the state's poultry workers face wage violations and workplace abuse.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Many gathered for events throughout Little Rock celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Day, from the annual "marade" organized by the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP, to a day of service at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

While Arkansas also marked Robert E. Lee Day Monday, few events around the state honored the Confederate Civil War general. Supporters, including the state chapter of the Sons of the Confederacy, say they will celebrate Lee's actual Jan. 19 birthday Tuesday.

On Monday, several events around central Arkansas are commemorating and celebrating the work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

--At the UALR Jack Stephens Center, the state Martin Luther King Jr Commission is holding a "Mega King Fest" from 7am to 3pm. Doors Open at 6:30am. The day will start out with an interfaith prayer breakfast lasting until 8:30am. It's expected to be attended by Governor Asa Hutchinson, Senator Tom Cotton, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and others. 

Arkansas-born civil rights leader Ozell Sutton passed away in Atlanta on Saturday at the age of 90.

His accomplishments in Arkansas include helping to desegregate downtown Little Rock and serving as an advisor to former Governor Winthrop Rockefeller.

Marissa Pavan Birth Certificate certificates same-sex marrriage
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Health Department has decided to issue amended birth certificates for children of same-sex couples who can prove they were married before the child was born.

Health Department spokeswoman Meg Mirivel said Monday that the department reviewed an order from Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Tim Fox and decided to amend those specific birth certificates starting last Friday. Fox issued a ruling striking down a portion of the state's birth certificate law and said Arkansas must amend the birth certificates, listing both spouses as parents.

An attorney for three-same sex couples who sued Arkansas to require both spouses be listed on children's birth certificates is asking the state's highest court to not block a judge's ruling striking down part of the state's birth certificate law.

Attorney Cheryl Maples on Thursday asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to deny the state's motion to stay Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox's ruling ordering the state to issue amended certificates to the couples.

Arkansas Municipal League

Community-based policing is a focus at this fall’s Arkansas Municipal League conference. About 750 municipal and county officials discussed “respect and understanding” in law enforcement on Wednesday in Springdale.

Whitnee Bullerwell  is the League’s spokesperson. She said a panel of police officers and mayors shared their experiences with improving community relationships.

"Offering advice on what they've done in the past in  making certain community-based policing is a priority and all demographics are taken into account and considered," she said. 

An Arkansas judge has struck down part of the state's law on birth certificates, a move that an attorney says clears the way for married same-sex couples to both be listed as parents.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox late Tuesday afternoon declared parts of the state's birth certificate law unconstitutional since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide.

A Dover police supervisor says a black man whose jaw was broken after he was kicked in the head by a white officer was alert and belligerent shortly afterward.

Lt. Todd Case was the first witness called in the trial of Cpl. Thomas Webster IV, who is charged with felony assault. A police dash cam video shows Webster kicking Lateef Dickerson in August 2013 while Dickerson was on his hands and knees.

Dickerson was knocked unconscious and suffered a broken jaw. Webster's attorney says the officer's actions were justified in responding to reports of a man with a gun.

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