Straight Allies in Arkansas

Post submitted by Kendra R. Johnson, HRC Arkansas Director

This has been the week of allies – enthusiastic, unapologetic, unabashed. In the casual talks I had with three local activists, business people and academics, their reasons for supporting LGBT civil rights were manifold. 

For one ally, it was practically in her DNA. She came a from a family that migrated here in the 1960s, just three years after the Central High Crisis, and, for her, race was never a factor. Her parents were never afraid to stand up for what was right, bridging the racial divide back then and speaking out as senior citizens for same-sex parenting when a local ban was looming. She definitely got the equality gene. Her mind raced at all the possibilities that have emerged as HRC Arkansas opens its doors.

“For the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone would be against marriage equality,” she told me. “What the world needs is more love.” 

Another ally I met with spoke of the importance of fostering diversity on a college campus to build a healthy, happy student body. As an immigrant and a person who changed directions from exact sciences (engineering) to social sciences (counseling), she found that students were dying from lack of social acceptance. She described two needs at her college: greater LGBT visibility and broader dialogue on religion and sexuality. Visibility was key so that students would know that they are not alone, that they are normal and that they can lead long healthy and productive lives.

And still yet another ally, the executive director of Just Communities of Arkansas, connected her work for equality to the organization’s broader mission to build communities where every person is valued and everyone has a fair chance to succeed.  Including the LGBT community was a natural evolution of their work to build community dialogue and foster understanding. And it is woven into everything they do.

Because they understand that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, with allies like these HRC Arkansas is already winning

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