FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Churches, local clergy, community and business leaders are coming together to launch a declaration in unity to combat racism in Northwest Arkansas.
The group, NWA United will introduce that declaration Wednesday morning during a press conference at the Christ Community Church.
Curtiss Smith is the Senior Pastor for the Historic St. James Missionary Baptist Church. He tells us they have been working together for months following protests and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, to find ways to eradicate racism here in NWA.
The goal is to invite members of the community to commit and engage in daily practices that promote peace and justice for all people regardless of their background and color.
“The Bible declares that faith without work is dead so what this does is creates an opportunity for us to work in an environment that continues to drive the anti-racist message to our communities,” said Pastor Smith.
Senior Pastor, Hunter Bailey for Christ Community Church said it’s everyone’s responsibility to pursue ways to better the community, promote equality and justice. It has created a model with several commitments to help people with the process.
Bailey said they are dedicated to having deep conversations about systematic racism, race and injustice, noting that education and awareness are key factors.
NWA United is committed to the bible, being anti-racist, taking action, being an advocate and respecting all persons regardless of background, experience, power and privilege in the community.
“We understand that generational racism and injustice are passed down. We want to very intentionally in the way we talk to our children about race and culture… ethnic identity and celebrate the diversity,” said Pastor Bailey.
NWA United is also committed to investing time and money, building partnerships with various businesses under the same principals and creating opportunities for the advancement of young men and women of color.
Pastor Smith said the churches involved will be playing a critical role using scriptures, lectures, education and other resources to push this message forward.
The group will release its full list of commitments and ways to put them into practice within the next few days. You can also expect various lectures, book studies and other resources to come.
Both pastors said this movement is about creating change that has a lasting impact throughout Northwest Arkansas and beyond.