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The Arkansas Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission traveled to the Non-Violence Economic Conference in Miami, Florida in August 2021. KASU reports details from the conference and how the Commission is working to implement the work of Dr. King in the state.

Arkansas Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior Commission, Florida MLK Institute forming partnership

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During a sermon in 1967, the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior stated that one of the three evils to society is the evil of poverty. The Arkansas Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior Commission and the Florida Martin Luther King Institute are partnering with each other to address the problem of poverty.

An Arkansas delegation of volunteers, organizers, trainers, and staff of the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Junior Commission are in Miami, Florida for a non-violence economic conference that runs through Wednesday of this week.

“We are partnering with an organization that is very important to our organization,” says Executive Director of the Arkansas Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior Commission DuShun Scarbrough. “Our goal is to bring both entities to promote the legacy and the noble tenants of Dr. King.”

When asked what he hopes to gain from the conference, Scarbrough stated, “As this partnership grows, we are looking forward to gaining the knowledge of non-violence economics and teaching local and state leaders and communities about how to make positive changes to address poverty. We also plan to work with the Arkansas Department of Human Services and the Arkansas Education Association during the Arkansas non-violence youth summits.”

Scarbrough tells why these trainings are needed in Arkansas. “When we talk about the Poor People’s campaign that Dr. King was working on and we talk about impoverished areas in Arkansas, we look at how we can assemble and how we can help address those obstacles, using techniques that have been proven to work in Florida.”

Historian with the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Junior Commission Tiffany Pettus.

“We are approaching the 58th anniversary of the March on Washington for jobs, and as a commission historian, I am noticing that we are re-visiting times in history over and over again through news headlines,” says Pettus. “So, this is an opportunity to commemorate the anniversary march on Washington for jobs by learning about Dr. King’s words on economic development, community building, and helping people to become economically independent. We also strive to bridge those gaps where there is economic inequity.”

Pettus says Arkansas is higher than the national average in poverty. She says she is looking for strategies on how to bring positive changes to Arkansas to address economic inequity and poverty. The Arkansas Delegation that is in Miami for the conference consists of people from each of the state’s congressional delegation. I will have more updates from this conference this week. For KASU News, I’m Johnathan Reaves reporting from Miami.