Listen to their words and step into their shoes. Appreciate what may be familiar and sit for a minute in the unknown. Trust that the values shared may be similar or complementary to your own – access, collaboration, compassion, curiosity, equality, equity, faith, honesty, inclusion, innovation, integrity, listening, proximity, relationships, truth.

Instructions: Below is an audio summary of several conversations. Move your cursor or finger over the underlined, highlighted words and click to hear that particular piece of audio and to read the broader context of the speaker’s quote.

Between surging COVID rates, the bubonic plague resurfacing in Mongolia, and the possibility of a fall season without college and high school football, many Arkansans are wondering if this is what the apocalypse indeed looks like. Yet, for a large group of frontline advocates working on behalf of diverse communities, these times are more revealing about our past than they are about prophesying the end of the world. In fact, the future is full of “space for us to be proactive and fix these issues.”

In this week’s kit, we are bringing you highlights from conversations with leaders across the state working on behalf of essential workers on issues such as bail and prison reform, immigration, healthcare access and economic mobility. While the pandemic may be new, advocates suggest that the key to understanding its disproportionate impact on Black and immigrant communities requires a reconciliation with our past.

COVID, according to participants, is the “Great Reveal” that magnifies historic barriers and invites us to see the core rather than the crust of the issues. This includes the historic practice of blaming the victim and treating a community’s health and economy as if they were two different buckets rather than one well of livelihood. From the United State’s nuclear legacy with the Marshall Islands, the poultry industry’s point system, overcrowded prisons, and the lack of healthcare coverage that makes the uninsured see “hospitals as deathbeds,” policy decisions made in the past have become matters of life and death today.

While Arkansans are “not raised to engage in conflict,” there is a focused anger that is positive and constructive rather than distrustful and disengaged. Front-facing statements are giving way to back-end actions because people are following the money and asking where it is going, speaking truth to power in business, government and philanthropy and advocating for changes beyond a mere tinkering around the edges and settling for familiar places. Honest conversations that include different faces around the table, solidarity among strangers, and old-fashioned board games are antidotes to long, hard days and fuel for the work ahead.

Constellation Kit

Explore this collection of graphics that were inspired by the conversations and created by local artists. Search by theme, download freely, amplify and share generously. Give back if you can.

A Just and Joyous Future

A Just and Joyous Future

Apocalypse as a Revealing

Exposed Inequities

Looking for Hope and Dialogues

Public Health is a Team Sport

Question the Systems

Inequitable Healthcare

COVID-19 Impact on Marshallese

Poultry Industry

Poultry Point System

Poultry Quote

Poultry Solutions

Dialogues over Monologues

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