Social Issues

Hundreds of students at Little Rock’s Central High School walked out of class Wednesday in a show of solidarity with young people conducting similar demonstrations at schools across the nation and outside the White House.

At Central, students chanted slogans like “books not bullets” and “this is what democracy looks like,” while holding handmade signs that read things like “Never again,” “Central stands with Parkland,” and “Why are we still talking about this?”

Arkansas school students are expected to join thousands around the country March 14 in a national school walkout at 10 a.m. (local time). Billed as “Enough,” the demonstration is a coordinated public response to the shooting last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

It’s expected to last 17 minutes — one for each victim.

In Fayetteville, school officials are helping students coordinate a walkout at 10 a.m., though a district document also recognizes that some students have obtained a permit from the city to march on the Washington Count Courthouse — a demonstration the district has gently warned against.

Former SEMO coach sues LA College for not hiring him, citing 'Jewish blood'

Feb 22, 2018
Entrance to Louisiana College, Pineville, LA
Billy Hathorn / Wikipedia

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The president of a private Baptist college in Louisiana refused to approve a football coach's hiring because of what he called the applicant's "Jewish blood," a federal lawsuit claims.

UPDATE 3:30 p.m. Gov. Hutchinson has issued a statement expounding on a brief remark made this morning about a radio station's "Babe Bracket" that ranks women television journalists based on appearance.

On the steps of the Arkansas state Capitol today supporters of ending legal abortion gathered for a rally. Yesterday, another march with very different ralliers called for keeping abortion legal — as well as grooming female political candidates for office, gun control and other liberal aims.

Both marches enjoyed passionate speakers and considerable turnout, but only one enjoyed the presence of the state's most powerful constitutional officeholders, from Gov. Asa Hutchinson down.

This weekend the Arkansas Capitol building will be the site of two rallies with two very different messages. Those in support of reproductive rights and a larger progressive presence in the 2018 elections plan to be at the Capitol Saturday. While those seeking to end abortion are set to rally Sunday – minus Roman Catholic Bishop Anthony Taylor.

updated 11:44 am - LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A Roman Catholic bishop who has led prayers at Arkansas anti-abortion rallies says he will not take part this year because its featured speaker is a public official who actively pushed for the state's aggressive execution schedule last year.

Bishop Anthony Taylor wrote an open letter to the state's 125,000 Catholics inviting them to special Masses instead of attending the event featuring Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

Participants of the 2017 Craighead County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade walking across the Jonesboro Main St. bridge.
Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

2018 will be an important year for the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  April 2018 will mark the 50th Anniversary of King’s assassination in Memphis, TN.

Communities across the nation have been remembering King’s legacy in January since 1986, and Craighead County has been no exception.  I sat down with one of the organizers of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade for Craighead County, Dr. Lonnie Williams.  He is also the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at Arkansas State University.  We talked about the parade, Dr. King’s legacy, and where he was when he heard the tragic news of King's assassination.  You can listen to the conversation below.

Race violence expert Guy Lancaster, who serves as editor of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture, has edited a new a collection of essays titled, “Bullets and Fire: Lynching and Authority in Arkansas 1840 to 1950." The book is published by the University of Arkansas Press.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - More than a dozen Arkansas residents are headed to Washington, D.C., to join thousands from across the country at a rally in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the group of residents left Little Rock on Tuesday. Officials with the organizing groups United We Dream and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement say they expect up to 17,000 people to attend Wednesday's rally.


A lot of responses came down after President Trump's decision to end the DACA program that has been protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children.  80,000 of those people are in Arkansas.  

Here is Governor Asa Hutchinson's response:


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has ruled for same-sex couples who complained an Arkansas birth certificate law discriminated against them.

The justices on Monday issued an unsigned opinion reversing an Arkansas high court ruling that upheld the law.

Under the law, married lesbian couples had to get a court order to have both spouses listed as parents on their children's birth certificates.

As Republicans in the U.S. Senate near completion of an initial bill that could vastly alter or replace Obamacare, a  group of demonstrators gathered outside the Victory Building in Little Rock. They delivered the offices of Republican Senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman each about a thousand post cards from residents in the state. The cards, collected by activists with Arkansas Community Organizations and the group Health Care for America Now, ask the Senators to preserve Medicaid expansion and other benefits made available through federal health law. 

At a brainstorming session after school recently at district headquarters, a group of black school employees sit around a U-shaped table discussing how to become principals. Coach Shawn Burgess, head of human resources at the Pulaski County Special School District, speaks to two women in the room who recently interviewed for leadership positions and didn’t get the job.

“And it’s not what you did wrong, per se. It’s about, ‘When is it my time?’” she said.

“That’s right. Um-hmm. That’s it,” echo the staff.