Panelists join KNWA & FOX24’s virtual town hall to discuss race


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — KNWA and FOX24 hosted a virtual town hall, “Voices of Courage: A conversation on race in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley,” on Thursday night to discuss race in the area.

KNWA’s Chad Mira and Good Day NWA’s Jaclyn House hosted the one hour digital-only special.

Eight panelists are scheduled to join the discussion.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman – Hot Springs native currently serving his third term as a representative from the Fourth District of Arkansas, having first been elected in 2014.

Westerman serves on the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where he is Ranking Member of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee. Westerman also serves on the Minority Whip Team under the leadership of House Minority Whip Steve Scalise.

Prior to serving in Congress, Westerman was elected to two terms in the Arkansas General Assembly, where he was the state’s first Republican House Majority Leader since Reconstruction following the 2013 GOP takeover of the Arkansas House of Representatives.

Monique Jones – Serves as the President of the Northwest Arkansas National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Branch #60AC and on the Arkansas Support Network Board. Monique is currently serving as the Executive Director for Sarah’s Song, a newly established foundation to serve and advocate for individuals with a disability. She is excited to work with great individuals who share the same passion.

Monique’s purpose and passion lies in serving her church and community as the Director of Outreach and Evangelism with the Historic St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She seizes every opportunity to pour into others. Monique received the Squire Jahagen Award for exemplary services while serving humanity with honor, grace, compassion and excellence.

Fayetteville Police Chief Mike Reynolds. Reynolds began his law enforcement career with the Fayetteville Police Department in July 1993.  He has served the police department in many capacities, including as a patrol officer, a field training officer, and a detective.  

Promoted to his first supervisory rank of sergeant in March 2000, he has risen up the ranks by also serving as a lieutenant (Feb 2003.-Jan. 2007), a captain (Jan. 2007-Aug. 2011), and the Deputy Chief of Police (Sept. 2011-Sept. 2019) before being appointed by Mayor Lioneld Jordan as the Chief of Police on September 23, 2019.  

Pastor Shun Strickland. Shun has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Arkansas, a juris doctorate (law degree) from the University of Arkansas School of Law and a Masters Degree from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Shun pastors Fellowship of Champions Church with her husband, Edwin. She also owns Shun Strickland Enterprises a coaching and speaking business. Shun is the author of three faith-based personal development workbooks.

Dr. Harvey Potts, Jr., MD, MPH of Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Smith.

Potts is a native Oklahoman. He attended and graduated from Windsor University School of Medicine MD, University of Oklahoma, MPH, and Langston University Magna Cum Laude, BS. 

Potts is Executive Director of Simulation and Clinical Skills Assistant Professor at Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder. Sheriff Tim Helder graduated from West Fork High School in 1976. He resides in West Fork with his wife Holly, and they have 3 adult children and 5 grandchildren. Sheriff Helder began his law enforcement career in 1979 with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. 

In 1982 Sheriff Helder was hired by the Fayetteville Police Department as a patrolman and worked his way through the ranks, eventually promoting to Deputy Chief in 2002.

After 21 years of service, Sheriff Helder left the Fayetteville Police Department and returned to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to serve as Chief Deputy. Two years later he was elected Sheriff and began serving his first term on January 1, 2005. On January 1, 2017 he began serving his seventh term.

Kinna Thomas is a business professional, wife, and mom of two boys. Kinna has appeared in hundreds of online articles, BET, CNN live, Essence, Fortune and Forbes magazine.

Kinna recently wrote an article for Peekaboo Magazine encouraging parents to have conversations regarding race.

She is currently on the executive board of the Benton County Sheriffs Office Police Athletic League as well as an active member of the Phi Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Anthony Ball, Smoothman Music Production & Community Activist – Anthony moved to Fayetteville May of 2007 on a full scholarship to study music and business at the University of Arkansas. Shortly after, he began his career in music touring the country. He has worked and shared the stage with Grammy winning talents.

In 2010, Anthony started his Booking Agency, Smoothman Music Production, to provide high end live band and DJ entertainment experiences throughout the Midwest region. He brings over 10years of expertise in music, entertainment, and production experience to Northwest Arkansas. He employs over 25 musicians and DJs, and has worked with The UofA, Wal-Mart, Crystal Bridges, LPGA, Bentonville Film Festival, The AMP, countless weddings, and special events. Smoothman Music Production believes music is the soul of every celebration! 

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