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Lights out

I was taught to turn lights out when I was not using them. We pay extra for electricity to finance energy-saving programs that involve devices that turn lights out when not in use. Yet, the city of Little Rock recently sent an email advising citizens to combat crime by leaving outside lighting on all night. That is backward, ineffectual, potentially counterproductive and environmentally irresponsible advice.

The cult of Trump

Nearly 40 years ago our country was introduced to two major phenomena centering around cults: namely, the Moonies and the Shiite Muslims. There were others, as well, and I soon became fascinated with the dynamics of cults and cult leaders (both religious and secular) in general — leading me to read a number of books and articles, some even written by those who had been deprogrammed after spending time in a cult.

20 years of progress

An unlikely experiment in grassroots democracy begun 20 years ago in Arkansas today boasts a rich track record of profound improvements to the state's agriculture, civil rights, education, economic, education, election, environmental and health laws.

Gun safety

The Arkansas School Safety Commission has been discussing important steps that can be taken to keep students safe. It is considering factors like mental health, prevention programs and school infrastructure as part of a comprehensive plan. And while school security can help mitigate the crises we currently face, volunteers at Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America believe the key to preventing gun violence in our schools is to keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories.
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Support the Times, get free stuff

If you are a regular reader of the Arkansas Times online, you will have noticed a change. The Times, like most other publications, has adopted a strategy to help us stay in business: We've extended our paywall. We now limit free views of articles and blog posts in the Times to three a month.

Unfruitful labor

When 6-year-olds in Arkansas blow out their birthday candles, they might wish for a new toy or a family pet. Thanks to proposed changes to SNAP benefits, their parents might soon wish for a miracle just to keep food on the table.

Living in poverty

To successfully raise children as a single mother living in poverty in Central Arkansas requires a staggering amount of resilience, a significant amount of support from loved ones and the community, and at least a little bit of luck.

No different

We were leaving Southwest Little Rock heading north on Interstate 30. There were four of us — four black male teenagers. I was in the backseat. There was a BB gun that resembled a handgun inside the car.
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Keeping a millionaire

How do you get more millionaires to live in your state? You tax them fairly and equitably. And you use that money to pay for investments that improve quality of life, like education and infrastructure that produce successful businesses. The wealthiest people might not be excited about their tax rates, but research shows that nearly none of them will be bothered enough to leave.

Safe schools

A truth all teachers know: If you want to see the secrets and shortcomings of any community, just take a peek inside its classrooms. You'll find poverty, lack of education, substance abuse, unstable families and socioeconomic segregation. Children have no choice but to bear the brunt of social ills, making schools the easiest places to spot and measure our failings.

More guns than sense

Let's be honest: It's a tough time to be a gun safety advocate in Arkansas.

Rights at risk

Forty-five years ago this year, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a fundamental truth: A woman's right to personal autonomy must include the ability to make the most deeply personal decision of all — the decision of when and whether to have a child.
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Finding solutions

One advantage of the current political climate is an opportunity for a new and more honest conversation about race, gender and many other inequities we too often sweep under the carpet.

Banned in 2018

Here's some arcana reeking of 2017 that I'm banning from consideration, attention, even out-loud mention in 2018. I'm unfriending all this 2017-reminding shit. It's dead to me in 2018.

Paternalism

I cannot count the number of times that more established people have told me how I should think, how I should dress, how I should get my hair cut and when it is my time to place my name in the proverbial election hat.

Gratitude

Now, more than ever, I find myself thankful for those who resist. Those who remind us of our higher common values. The fact-checkers and truth-tellers. Those who build bridges in communities instead of walls to segregate. The ones who stand up and speak out against injustice.

Good anger

Recently, I attended a training session with the Little Rock Organizing Committee, an alliance of churches, schools, unions and other organizations concerned with social justice. The three-day workshop was essentially a crash course in community organizing. There were multiple lessons, but the biggest benefit to me was learning that anger is not always bad.

Tax truths

The idea that a tax cut for the wealthy will help everyone, though false, is a stubbornly marketable notion.

Can't afford to gut ACA

The Affordable Care Act was passed into law with the promise that it would make insurance affordable. Because of bipartisan leadership in Arkansas, we continue to strive to achieve that goal. While rhetoric abounds, it is important to understand the Arkansas experience.

Tipping point

I was extremely cautious before engaging in the educational debate about the State Board of Education's decision to take over the Little Rock School District.
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