Saturday, December 1, 2018

A PUBLIC FORUM ON RE-SEGREGATION, PRIVATIZATION, AND DE-FUNDING OF PUBLIC EDUCATION


On January 28, 2015, the democratically-elected and majority black board of directors for the Little Rock School District (LRSD) was dissolved by the Arkansas Board of Education (ArBOE).  At the time, the LRSD was the largest public school district in Arkansas.  Since then, the LRSD has experienced declining enrollment, closure of schools in neighborhoods south of Interstate 630, and other problems. 

In connection with the fourth anniversary of the dissolution of the LRSD school board on January 28, 2019, in recognition that 2019 will be the 100th anniversary of the September 1919 Elaine Race Massacre and Land Theft, and because 2019 will be the 400th anniversary of the delivery of African slaves at Jamestown, Virginia, New Millennium Church, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, the Vanderbilt Divinity School Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative, and the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site will co-sponsor a Public Forum on Re-Segregation, Privatization, and De-Funding of Public Education at New Millennium Church on January 24, 25, and 26, 2019.    During the Forum, local and community public education advocates, activists, policy makers, and influence leaders will join respected scholars of history, sociology, ethics (moral theology), and psychology to address current and past realities surrounding segregation, privatization, and efforts to de-fund public education to the detriment of children and families in the LRSD.  Because New Millennium Church is a social justice ministry in keeping with the liberating gospel of Jesus, NMC is pleased to host and co-sponsor the Forum.  

I’m posting this message to inform you about the Forum, ask that you support the Forum with your prayers, presence, and contributions, and invite others to attend Forum sessions. 

The Forum will feature keynote presentations by the following distinguished persons:

  • Iva Carruthers, Ph.D., General Secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
  • Teresa Smallwood, Ph.D., Associate Director of the Vanderbilt Divinity School Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative
  • Terrence Roberts, Ph.D., Principal, Terrence Roberts Consulting
  • Nancy MacLean, Ph.D., William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy, Duke University

The objectives of the Public Forum on Re-Segregation, Privatization, and De-Funding of Public Education are:

  1. Provide informed non-partisan analysis about the political, commercial, social, and moral issues surrounding the history and current realities of segregation in public education and their impact on children and families in the Little Rock School District.
  2. Present perspectives of parents, guardians, patrons, educators, civic and faith leaders, and public education advocates and activists concerning the history,  status, and future of public education in the Little Rock School District.
  3. Inform the public how capitalism influences public education policy and administration, and the effect of that influence on children and families in the Little Rock School District.

Here is the Schedule of Events (all at New Millennium Church):

  • January 24 (Thursday), 2019, 6-8 p.m. – Re-Segregation and Transgenerational Trauma  - Dr. Iva Carruthers (keynote presenter) and Dr. Teresa Smallwood (facilitator)
  • January 25 (Friday), 2019, 6-8 p.m. – Re-Segregation, Privatization, De-Funding and the Color of Law – Dr. Terrence Roberts (keynote presenter) and Rev. Wendell Griffen (facilitator)
  • January 26 (Saturday), 2019, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Re-Segregation, Privatization, and De-Funding of Public Education:  The Threat to Democracy – Dr. Nancy MacLean (keynote presenter) and local public education advocates Dr. James Ross, Dr. Anika Whitfield, Pastor Toney Orr, and Senator Joyce Elliott (panelists)

On Sunday, January 27, 2019, Dean Emilie Townes of Vanderbilt Divinity School will deliver a sermon at New Millennium Church during worship at 9 a.m., and will engage in an informal “town hall” conversation after the service.  The service and “town hall” conversation, while not part of the Forum, will be open to Forum attendees and the general public.   Dean Townes will also be the featured guest of the Barbershop Radio Program at 9 a.m. on Saturday, January 26, 2019, on community radio station KABF, 88.3 FM which airs each Saturday from 9-10 a.m. over the Internet at www.kabf.org, sponsored by New Millennium Church.  

A registration fee of $50 per person will cover all Forum sessions.  Online registration at www.newmillenniumchurch.us will commence December 12, 2018, and continue thru January 16, 2019. 

The Forum is made possible through generous support from the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, the Vanderbilt Divinity School Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative, and New Millennium Church.  Persons interested in also supporting the Forum may send contributions to New Millennium Church online at www.newmillenniumchurch.us, or by mail to New Millennium Church, 21 Lakeshore Drive, Little Rock, AR 72204 (designate “Forum on Re-Segregation” on the memo of the check). 

I invite you to be part of what will be a historic, enlightening, and prophetic conversation.  Monitor the websites of New Millennium Church (www.newmillenniumchurch.us), the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference (www.sdpconference.info), the Vanderbilt Divinity School Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative (https://www.publictheologyracialjustice.org/), the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site (https://www.nps.gov/chsc/index.htm), and community radio station KABF FM 88.3 – “The Voice of the People” – (www.kabf.org) for coming information.  Questions concerning the Forum may be submitted to info@newmillenniumchurch.us.

Grace and Peace,

Wendell Griffen
Author, The Fierce Urgency of Prophetic Hope (Judson Press, 2017)
Pastor, New Millennium Church
21 Lakeshore Drive
Little Rock, AR 72204
(501) 416-1917 mobile

Hope fiercely! Love boldly!

We will either find a way or make one.  Hannibal of Carthage

Love one another.  Jesus of Galilee

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