Grantee Partner Spotlight: Grassroots Arkansas

Anika Whitfield, GA From demanding local control of Little Rock School District to hosting an equity bus tour to Little Rock Middle Schools to shine a light on the educational and economic disparities that exist in the district, Grassroots Arkansas (GA) has been a champion of public education. Like so many Schott grantee partners, the Grassroots Arkansas community has seen long-existing inequities in education, food security, and housing reinforced and magnified through school closures and the Covid19 pandemic.

In response, GA has provided critically-needed aid in their community, just as they’ve done before. The GA team coordinated with students and teachers from Little Rock School District to identify the students whose families were in need. GA provided direct rapid-response support to meet a range of needs to help stabilize these families and ensure a long-term connection with their community. GA Advocates are also pushing the Little Rock School District (LRSD) to ensure that all students have computers and internet access from home, and are pressing the state to mandate habitable living standards for renters.

Grassroots Arkansas is working hard to ensure that those most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in historically marginalized Black and Brown communities, are included in shaping policies and allocating resources.

Grassroots Arkansas is a coalition of activists dedicated to fighting for an equitable Central Arkansas. They want to bring an end to social, economic, and political injustice and inequality by transforming the power relations and structures that create and hold them in place.

In 2019, Grassroots Arkansas fought against LRSD state takeover, which removed fair representation and accountability for the state of Arkansas. Under the Save Our Schools campaign, GA opposed and fought against the closure of several elementary school buildings and continues to oppose any further school closures. GA has also continued to organize against the expansion of charter schools in Arkansas and to hold school officials and state government accountable for their use of public-school funding.

Going forward, Grassroots Arkansas will look to continue to provide support to the Little Rock community as they rebuild and recover post-Covid-19. They also plan to coordinate with parents in forming a parent union and provide equity assessments for schools in LRSD, as well as sustain an ongoing education and information campaign with public school parents, guardians and students.

Grassroots Arkansas is one of the organizations that we are excited to support through our Loving Communities Response Fund – join us in supporting grassroots groups like GA across the country.