MLK Commission and Harrison community celebrate progress in equality

State News

HARRISON, Ark. – It’s been labeled one of the most racist cities in the country. For almost a decade, The Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission has been working with the community of Harrison to change that. 

Thursday, they held a “Rebirth of the City” Ceremony celebrating the progress that’s been made and what’s to come.

“What we’re doing is coming in and pressing a reset button,” MLK Commission Executive Director Dushun Scarbrough said.

Scarbrough has been working with city leaders in Harrison for almost a decade to educate the community and promote equality.

“I’ve seen the city grow,” Scarbrough said. “I’ve seen a lot of great things happen right here in Harrison Arkansas.”

Part of that work was done by creating a task force to have tough conversations about race relations inside the city.

“That ability to have people that we can go to and ask questions and bring resources to us has been invaluable,” task force member Layne Ragsdale said.

Ragsdale has lived in the area her entire life and has been part of the task force for years.

“Two of us got to go to the King Center and do training there to learn more about the King philosophy and be able to bring that home,” Ragsdale said.

The city has also been announced as one of the sites for King Week in 2022. 

“That’s monumental,” Scarbrough said.

Scarbrough and Ragsdale say they will continue pushing to create a welcoming community for everyone in Harrison.

“We’re on the right track and we are going to make huge progress going forward,” Ragsdale said.

At the Harrison city council meeting, Mayor Jerry Jackson was presented with the 2021 L.E.A.D. award which stands for Leadership, Education and Acceptance of Diversity. It’s given to people or organizations who work to promote Dr. King’s dream of non-violence in their communities.

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