The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission is launching a new statewide voter initiative. The nonpartisan voting initiative officially kicks off on Saturday, June 27 with a pair of events in Little Rock and Hot Springs.
According to MLK Commission Executive Director Deshun Scarbrough, the effort is intended to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in the run up to the 2020 election season.
“Grandma once said, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. Therefore, it’s time for a change,” Scarbrough said in a statement. “The “Get Out to Vote” campaign is a nonpartisan collaborative effort in partnership with The State and Little Rock Branches of the NACP, the Urban League, Arkansas Talks Broadcasting, Arkansas Better Dads, and The STAND Foundation to encourage citizens to vote or get registered to vote to commemorate this great and important event in history. We will host outreach programs and initiatives in all four corners of the state. Dr. King, once said, “the most important step we can make is that short walk to the ballot box.” Well-spoken by Dr. King who walked fifty miles from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights.”
On Saturday, the commission will hold an event at its offices at 906 Broadway in Little Rock from 11 am to 2 pm. In addition, there will be an even in Hot Springs later in the day. This will be held at the Hot Springs Farmers Market from 5 to 6:30 pm.
During the events, local officials will be speaking on the importance of voter turnout. Confirmed speakers include Rep. Will Bond, Rep. Joy Springer, Rep. Denise Ennett, and Rep. Tippi McCullough.
The major draw for the events will be the special guest speaker, Angela Harrelson, the maternal aunt of George Floyd, whose murder by a Minneapolis police officer sparked nationwide protests. Harrelson will discuss her life, touching on her relationship with her nephew, as well as the importance of informed voting.
Both Get Out the Vote events will be free to attend and will have social distancing measures in place. According to Scarbrough, attendees will be separated by six feet and high touch surfaces are expected to be regularly sanitized.