The Weekly Seedling

April is finally here, the sun is brighter the days are longer, and all things are growing. Get ready friends, it’s almost time to begin work in the community garden!!

As always, Little Free Library is stocked and open and Craft Gatherings are every other Wednesday, the next one is this week from 6-8pm, 

Don’t forget, every Thursday the Domestic Violence Survivors Support Groups are held as follows,  Women @10, Men @ 12 and LBGTQ @ 2. For questions contact River Valley Shelter for Battered Women and Children @ 479-219-5148. 

Our main event this month… is in honor of Earth Day!
Come join our Earth Day Celebration on April 20th from 2pm – 4pm.  We’ve partnered up with Citizens’ Climate Lobby to share stories about what we love about our Earth.  Enjoy the weather, while talking about real ways we can help to take care of her.We’ll do a little work in the Bee & Butterfly gardens, CCL will be providing light refreshments for all of us, and we’ll be sharing stories about the plants we grow at McElroy House.  We can’t wait to celebrate with y’all!

McElroy House Film

Last May Cornell grad student and film maker Bruno Seraphin came to help us make a short film about our work! It’s in process! Here’s a behind the scene shot from Bruno!  We are so looking forward to the finished film!  Thanks, Bruno!

Vision Board Gathering

Here’s a shot from our vision board gathering a few weeks ago!  These are the words we brainstormed that embody our core values here at the McElroy House.  Soon we’ll be scheduing another event to finish the artwork to go along with all the brainstorming!  All are invited, stay tuned!

ATU Electrical Engineering

… Study Group/Workshop
worked on and finished their group project right before spring break. The group built an Inductance Meter. Pictured are Chris Hunter & Francisco Cruz.

Memory Garden

Sharon, has created a beautiful space in the garden for all of us.  Of this space she says “I had been thinking for sometimes now I could show my love and respect to all of our family who have passed on.  I dearly loved them all and they were all a large happy part of my childhood. I miss them all but still carry each one in my heart.  This little memory garden is just my way of remembering and loving them all. Anyone please feel free to sit and reflect and enjoy the love that was put into putting it all together.  Much love and Joy.”  Sharon we are so grateful for all that you bring to the McElroy House!

Column by Cary Bach Donahou

How White Supremacy Relies on Covert Racism

One of the many ways we can stop White Supremacy is by understanding how they operate and recruit members.  Then educating ourselves with facts, and talking to our youth, so they also have the education and knowledge not to be manipulated.  Racism is a hard topic, with so much more to it than I had ever thought.  We need non-judgmental spaces to learn in and to assist each other in that process. The McElroy House is such a space, and we invite everyone to join the conversation.

Saying we are “colorblind” or don’t see race, is not addressing race and racism. Not talking about racism leaves our youth to make their own decisions. By watching their peers, government leaders, and prominent people in their lives. They can come to conclusions that uphold racism, unbeknownst to us, leaving them open to being preyed upon by white supremacists. 

The biggest tools by far in recruiting new members into white supremacy are fear based.  The fear that white people are under attack and will be erased.  For example, how many times have you heard, “White men are now a minority”? 

Personally, I can remember being told that as fact and passing it along as fact as early as 1990, when I was just starting High School.  I can admit this.  I bought into this mentality for a short time in my adolescence.  The fact that it was so easy to believe is terrifying. To be clear I was not part of a white supremacist group, but I perpetuated convert racism.  

At that time in my life, all I had to do was question these ideas.  Instead this phrase played into my confirmation bias, a type of cognitive bias that involves favoring information that confirms your previously existing beliefs or biases.  Having been raised in a rural, heavily white town, with underlying racism… why would I question it? My grandparents were openly racist. My Parents were racist, but covertly of course.  So were all my friends’ parents.  No one spoke to me about race or racism, so I formed my own erroneous opinion that white people were better.

The thought of my kids becoming white supremacists, is utterly horrifying.  Yet, how can I be sure they are safe from the recruitment efforts of white supremacists if we never discuss race or racism in a world where covert racism is commonplace? By discussing race and racism openly and honestly, we can address all the ways in which we pass along racism to the next generation without even understanding what we do.  Covert racism is a form of racial discrimination that is disguised and subtle, rather than public and obvious.  If we don’t notice it’s been passed down to us, then how do we stop passing it on to our kids? 

We educate ourselves.  We talk about race and racism.  We do the work that needs to be done, and then we educate our kids.  You are all invited to take part in a living room conversation in regard to race, racism, convert racism, and white supremacy.


Garden Work Night

Our garden has been greatly in need of some work! We gathered Thursday for some fun and digging!

Our garden is a community project and open to all. We’d love to have you!

If you have any plants you’d like to see in the garden, please let us know! And please consider becoming a member by donating hours or money! Members drive our programming and decision making.

Work Day this Thursday!

Come join us this Thursday for a garden work evening! Free food, garden education and lots of fun and community!

Kids are always welcome!

We’re Open Every Friday!

Thanks to your support, we are open every Friday 9-3!!!

Here are a few photo updates. Come see us!

Yarrow, Daisies and Tomatoes!

Daisies harvested for seed

Thanks to all your support we’re getting organized here at the McElroy House! And we’re going to start using this blog again! It will connect to our Weekly Seedling newsletter. Haven’t signed up for our weekly (super short) newsletter? Go here! 

This week we are dividing yarrow, harvesting daisy seeds, and we’re getting our first tomatoes from the veggie garden!

We’re open every Friday from I:00-3:00. Or by appointment. Come see us! 420 s. 2nd in Dardanelle. We work by membership model. Please join us!!! Click here to sign up/learn more! 

A few more photos from the garden!

Civics 101: Getting Involved Right Where You Are


Image by Emily Young of Dog Ear Books

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 C.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 E.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.”


18424891_10158710712675077_1444006282_nStephanie 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.






20170513_092803 (1)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.


20170502_135915Anika 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, History, GA, StaffMarie 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.

Creating Child Friendly Learning Spaces: Montessori and Reggio Methods

May workshop 2017

Our workshop leader Razan Abdin

What: Creating Child Friendly Learning Spaces and Flower Pressing with Montessori educator Razan Abdin

Where: McElroy House: Organization for Cultural Resources 420 S. 2nd Street Dardanelle, AR 72834

When: Saturday May 20th 11:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m.

Contact: 479-957-0551

It’s almost summer break! Come join us for an interactive workshop on Montessori and Reggio education methods and ways to incorporate them into your home or classroom.

Razan Abdin, a Montessori educator from North Little Rock, will be leading the workshop on the basics of these child-friendly learning methods, and will be helping us design our children’s playroom to be interactive, nature-focused, and full of learning opportunities for kids in the community.

You may be familiar with these methods or you may have never even heard of them. Either way, you’re welcome!!!! Let’s learn together!

During this time period we will also have an activity for kids! Lauren Palmer will be helping children make pressed flowers from our garden.

From Lauren:
I learned how to press flowers at a young age using flowers from my grandma’s garden. This Saturday I’ll be showing you how to press flowers and we will be making bookmarks, cards, and wall decorations! I will provide the supplies, but you can also bring your own if you’d like.

This is open to everyone, and is part of our yearly series focusing on the concept of HOME and funded by Alternate ROOTS.

More on our workshop leader: Razan Abdin is an Educator, Doula, Writer, and Consultant from Little Rock, Arkansas. She holds a Master of Education degree from Loyola University Maryland, an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) Primary diploma from Washington Montessori Institute, and is a DONA-trained Postpartum Doula. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking and eating delicious food, live music, learning more about equity literacy and designing social justice curriculums and, most importantly, doing absolutely nothing at all.