Civics 101: Getting Involved Right Where You ArePosted: May 19, 2017
People in the community have been talking about how they want to know more about the basics of getting involved at the local level in both local politics and organizing.
This interactive panel and workshop is hosted in partnership with VOTV ~ Voices of the Valley ~ and Dog Ear Books is a bit like 5th grade civics for grown folks with some action elements thrown in.
Panelists will cover some of the basics of local duties and structures, but also touch on how to get involved in the work that matters most to you. They’ll tackle questions like: How do you get started? How do you make decisions about using your energy? Where do you turn for analysis to stregthen your efforts? Most importantly, and perhaps most challenging, how do we learn work with others to create real and lasting change for those that will come long after we’re gone?
We antcipate this to be the first in a series of similar workshops/discussions. This is part of our yearlong series focusing on the concept of HOME and sponsored by Alternate ROOTS.
Irvin Camacho is a native of California who moved to Arkansas at the age of 10. His parents were both farm workers and members of the United Farm Workers Union created by Legendary Activist, Cesar Chavez. Irvin is currently pursuing a degree in Broadcast Journalism and is currently a mortgage specialist at Arvest Bank. He is also a community activist. Irvin has served as NWA Coordinator for Arkansas Coalition for Dream. He was also the State Wide Coordinator for the Arkansas Natural Dreamers now known as LUCHA, a youth led organization to empower and educate Immigrant Communities. He has been involved in the Immigrant Rights Movement for 7 years in Arkansas and is also a former candidate for State Representative for District 89 in Springdale.
Mayra Esquivel is native of Mexico. She was brought to the USA at the age of 3 years old and has been a resident of Fort Smith since then. She is currently 26 years and is a Cum Laude Graduate from the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology. She works as a navigator for Arkansas United Community Coalition, a non-profit organization that aims to empower immigrants across the state. Mayra has spent the last 5 years advocating for immigrant rights, undocumented youth, and social justice and has found an interest for mental health along the way. She discovered her passion for advocacy work in 2012 after learning about her own undocumented status and how it had the potential to limit her in various aspects of her life. She believes her personal struggles have taught her to be aware and more understanding of the various injustices found in society.”
Stephanie Harris is the founder of Women Lead Arkansas, a non-partisan nonprofit, whose mission is to empower women and girls to engage in politics, policy, and leadership. She also started her law firm, Law to Go, in January. They offer low-cost, flat-fee services to people who represent themselves or who need stand-alone legal services.
Chris Housenick: Christopher Housenick is a tenured assistant professor of political science at Arkansas Tech University, where he has taught since 2009. He teaches World Politics, International Relations, and American Politics, which gives him a unique perspective on the political events of the last few years both within the United States and abroad. He hopes to provide greater perspective on how the current president, the forces that led to his election, and the crises that surround his administration, fit into longer historical trends and into larger global movements.
Anika Whitfield: Anika Whitfield is a Little Rock native. She is a proud graduate of the Little Rock School District where her parents and all of maternal and paternal aunts and uncles graduated as well. She is an active human rights and social justice advocate. As an ordained Baptist minister and a licensed, private practice Podiatrist, she enjoys the opportunity to minister to and with her patients and community in navigating through choices that help lead to healthier living. She has been enjoying serving as a volunteer in the Little Rock School District for over two decades. And, for the last four years, she and a few of her friends and neighbors, known as the Team of Neighbors that Love, have helped develop the Promise Garden Park where neighbors and community members enjoy learning about more about each other while learning to garden and share the healthy fruits of their labors with others. Recently, as an organizer with the Save Our Schools Campaign and the Citizens Against Taxation without Representation Campaign, she and several other community organizers and supporters of the LRSD enjoyed a few victories in their efforts to restore and revitalize democracy in their school district, city and in our state. One of those victories was gained through the power of the vote when 65% of the LRSD that voted in the May 9th LRSD millage tax extension stood up as a very diverse group of united citizens (age, race, ethnicity, culture, gender, faith/religion, politics, and class) to protect our students, parents, teachers and schools from being further oppressed by big business politics.
Marie Williams is currently working on her PhD at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Marie is a native of Russellville, where she lives with her two children. She is an adjunct professor at Arkansas Tech University and the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville. Marie’s fields of study include, American and Arkansas history. Her dissertation focuses on Arkansas politician Jim Johnson and his segregationist, anti-Communist influence on Arkansas politics during the 1950s, as well as how Johnson and Arkansas fit into the larger Cold War political narrative. Marie has studied both American and Southern political history extensively.