New Legislation to Help Local Marshallese

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Arkansas lawmakers introduced a resolution to recognize the Marshallese community that could impact their quality of life.

Since the 1980s, thousands of Marshallese have migrated to the United States.

That’s why U.S. Senator John Boozman and Senator Tom Cotton, along with Congressman Steve Womack are working to accurately represent the Marshallese who live right here in our area.

“Marshallese like to go where there’s Marshallese,” said Faith Laukon, executive director, Marshallese Education Initiative.

Springdale, has the largest population of Marshallese, outside of the Marshall Islands, which is why Arkansas lawmakers are wanting to make sure they have proper representation. 

“We decided to move here because we wanted our kids to be more influenced with the Marshallese culture,” Laukon said. 

For Laukon, this type of acknowledgment in the community is a no-brainer.

“If we have that accurate number that would mean a lot to both to our organization and non-profits that are here but also to the city,” Laukon said. 

Bill Rogers with the Springdale Chamber of Commerce said in just the last eight years the population of Marshallese in the area has grown by close to 10,000.

“It been a significant increase of a population that’s a very valuable part of the Springdale community,” Rogers said.

This new resolution would accurately represent the population of Marshallese, which would increase access to federal funds to assist this group of people. 

“Cities receive federal dollars for that. it’s very important that we get an accurate count because it means more money comes back to the people in the community,” Rogers said. 

With updating the census in 2020 to include all the Marshall Islanders, many in Springdale are hopeful that their representation will help their local community.

“If the numbers are accurate then the city and the state of Arkansas could get funding,” Laukon said. 

“It will allow our Marshallese residents to be better for it,” Rogers said. 

The Chamber of Commerce, which has been working with those lawmakers, say they expect a discussion to be made on that resolution in the next week.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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