Monday, January 18, 2016

Umoja Soul Kids Fashion Show

Its time again for the Because of Them, WE Can Fashion Show

Youth ages 3 and up and some Adults too, will get a chance to model historical people from the past and present

Children will also be a part of the “Because of Them, We Can Fashion Show in which children will dress up similar to characters such as George Washington Carver, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, President Barack Obama, Michael Jackson, and more. 

It will allow diversity in which all races of children will march as Selma Marchers, Freedom Riders, Selena, Eva Longoria, Oscar De La Hoya, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Teresa and more.

Please have the picture of the person that your child is modeling to be emailed to Leora Jackson, Missy Womack, Latoya Haliburton, or LaTrisha Harris (Fashion Show Coordinators) at This will allow us to project the picture on screen as the child walks the runaway.  You would wish to have your child dressed and matched closely to the picture that you send. Also, please send a short 3-5 sentence bio of that person to the email as well. If you can't send a bio, the coordinators will find a bio of that person.

During the fashion show, the MC will say, next we have Alisha Smith as Rosa Parks. The child will walk runaway and come to the mic and say, “My name is Rosa Parks. I am the mother of the Civil Rights Movement. (Each child is to give a one sentence statement or quote of their character) The MC will read a brief bio and then turn to Alisha and say, Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, Alisha Smith as Rosa Parks! Alisha will then say, “Because of Rosa Parks, I Can! Then she walks off stage. If the child does not wish to say anything, they don’t have to The MC will introduce the child as they walk back and forth and read the bio and child will bow and exit the stage.
We are very excited and can’t wait to have your child perform in honor of Historical Characters of the Past.

Volunteers are needed to help with recruitment at the 3 Boys & Girls Clubs in NWA: Fayetteville, Bentonville and Rogers. Please contact if you wish to help.

Fashion Show 1 will be held from 6-8pm at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on Saturday Feb 20, 2016

Fashion Show 2 will be held from 11sm-1pm at the Fayetteville Boys & Girls Club on Saturday March 12, 2016. 

Rehearsals are on Saturdays from 3-5 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Let your children, BECOME something greater.

Check out the website by Eunique Jones who created photography to capture children dressed up as people of past and present. Ms. Jones will be visiting the UA on Feb 25. It is open to the public.

 If you wish your child to participate, please email

MLK Events 1-18-16


Here are some more events for MLK Day! Get out and service. If you have kids, bring them to the Fayetteville Boys and Girls club to get some food serviced by Dwelling Place Church and they can sign up for the BHM Showcase. Volunteers will be available to help sign your child up for a role in the Fashion Show.

Dwelling Place Feed HOPE Event


Join us as we FEED HOPE & FIGHT HUNGER (A Day of Service)

Monday, January 18th
Feed Hope & Fight Hunger with Us.
3:00 p.m.
Location: Boys and Girls Club - Fayetteville. AR

Feeding At-Risk Children and Teens while Affirming Every Child at the Boys and Girls Club
(Come Serve with Us)

This is a day of Service. Come out and March, go to the Boys and Girls club and have some fun servicing others today and continue your service throughout the year.

Umoja Soul BHM Showcase with the
Because of Them, WE can Fashion Show

Your child can sign up for performances in 2 Fashion Shows by signing up at the desk at the Boys & Girls Club. Or you can email and sign your child up for a character Past or Present. Deadline to sign up February 6.


THE NWA Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. COUNCIL
Theme: “Celebrating our Past, Recommitting to His Dream"
Friday, January 15th
“I Have A Dream Speeches”
Center1101 SW Citizens Circle ~ Bentonville, AR,
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Co-sponsored by Bentonville Community
Saturday, January 16th
Community Service Project
Seven (7) Hills Day Center for the Homeless
1555 W. MLK Blvd ~ Fayetteville, AR
9:00 a.m.
Co-sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Sunday, January 17th
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Service
St. James Missionary Baptist Church ~ 764 W. North Street ~ Fayetteville, AR
3:00 p.m.
Featured Speaker: Rev. Dr. Jeff Flannigan
Co-sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Monday, January 18th
MLK Dream Keepers’ Community Service Programs
Youth Prayer Breakfast
Janelle Y. Hembree Alumni House ~ 491 N. Razorback Rd ~ Fayetteville, AR
8:00 a.m.
Youth Activity
University of Arkansas HPER Building ~ Fayetteville, AR
9:30 a.m.
Co-sponsored by UA Intramural Sports and Intercollegiate Athletes
Monday, January 18th
MLK Freedom March
Corner of MLK Blvd & Razorback Road ~ Fayetteville, AR
11:15 a.m.
Inclement Weather Location: University of Arkansas Union - Verizon Ballroom
Noon-Day Vigil
University of Arkansas Union - Verizon Ballroom ~ Fayetteville, AR
12:00 noon
Sponsored by UA Associated Student Government & Black Students Association
ARVEST Service of Reflection
ARVEST Plaza, Downtown Location~ 75 North East Street~ Fayetteville, AR
2:00 p.m.
Featured Speaker: Mrs. Betty Davis, Retired Practical Nurse and Navy Veteran
20th Annual Recommitment Banquet
Fayetteville Town Center
15 West Mountain ~ Fayetteville, AR, 7:00 p.m.
The Northwest Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Council presents "Celebrating Our Past, Recommitting to his Dream". Our keynote speaker will be Sam's Club CEO Rosalind Brewer. In addition, the MLK Scholarships will be awarded and the 2016 Salute to Greatness honorees will be recognized for outstanding community service.
2016 Recommitment Banquet Tickets SOLD OUT!
Get Social.
Connect with us on Facebook & Twitter to learn about upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

Follow us on: Follow nwamlk on Twitter
Contact Us
Please email us at
Northwest Arkansas MLK Council
PO Box 3453
Fayetteville, AR 72702

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Kwanzaa Celebration in NWA

Kwanzaa NWA Celebration

Habari Gani?


Fayetteville, AR. Participants of the Kwanzaa Celebration repeated the Swahili Word Nia (Purpose) thought out the evening as the hostess led the program with Habari Gani” which means, Whats the News”  and the news was Purpose! This event was held December 30 in Fayetteville at Dwelling Place Church under the leadership of Pastor Marcus Carruthers.
Kwanzaa Committee: Dr. Charlene Johnson-Carter, Jimmye Whitfield, & Leora Jackson

“This is my 3rd time participating in Kwanzaa since Dr. Charlene started hosting Kwanzaa in NWA,” said Marilyn Smith. “ I enjoy renewing my knowledge and experiencing the culture, but the crafts though, it’s not my specialty area.”
Marilyn Smith
Mariyah Smith
Trey Smith

Dr. Charlene Johnson, Associate Professor at the University of Arkansas was one of the hostesses of the event and started planning for Kwanzaa in September 2015 with Jimmye Whitfield, Yoga Instructor and Leora Jackson, Umoja Soul NWA Blogger.

“We had the largest turn-out in all the years I have celebrated Kwanzaa in Northwest Arkansas.  I think folks not only enjoyed the celebration but also learned about our heritage and its importance for our movement further as a people, said Johnson.

The participants of the Kwanzaa celebration had a chance to eat dinner which symbolizes karamu or the great feast. After feasting, Dr. Johnson gave the history of Kwanzaa and discussed the seven principles or Nguzo Saba.

Ms. Jimmye Whitfield, one of the elder members of program, was giving the Unity cup as a way to pay tribute and honor to the elders.
Kwanzaa Table

Jimmye Whitfield

Whitfield also brought in a Guest Speaker Mrs. Veryln Gulley to talk to kids about savings on the principle of Ujamaa or Cooperative Economics.

Gulley talked about credit and savings and a 9-year old girl raised her hand when she asked the kids, "Who has a Savings Account?"

Out of 7 kids in the room, ranging from age 5 to 13, she was the only one with a Savings account.

“It was such fun!  It seemed the grown-ups were just as involved or more as the kids,” Whitfield said. 

“Mrs. Gulley said she would love to continue with educating our people on the most important subject of money and banking.”
Verlyn Gulley talk on Savings
Veryln Gulley, Arvest Speaker

 After the presentation from Gulley, all participants were given arts and crafts to create a shield to define their purpose.

Alise Whitfield, age 9 said, “I like the event because it is a way to acknowledge our ancestors.”

Sy’ree, age 8 said “I like learning more about Kwanzaa and spend time with other people and the craft is great because you have a chance to do what you want to do. Sometimes I want to be creative to see what I can make.”
Mr. John L. Colbert & Sy'ree Colbert-Diaz
Sy'ree lights the candle of Nia

Missy Womack and her son 11 year old son were at the event for the first time.

“It is lovely. It is nice that kids are enjoying themselves. I enjoyed how you allowed the kids to be part of the event to light the candles," said Womack.

Victor Quintana and his wife Jane Stitt were excited to be there as newcomers as well.
Victor and Jane Quintana

Victor Quintana

Jane Stitt
“This was something fun. It is a new holiday and it is great to learn something about a new culture,” Quintana said.

Gwen Kelley who was present at the event acknowledged that it was a great evening of community celebration.

And indeed it was!!!

All participants, including adults created crafts and had a chance to describe their crafts. Crafts of a person in the center of a snake described a teacher protecting her students from the woes, discrimination, racial injustices of society. Another craft was pictures of fashion and a child’s purpose was to become a fashion designer, another was pictures of food and different culinary dishes and this described a girls dream and purpose to become a chef. Some crafts looked at combinations of the Kwanzaa principals and elaborated with details on each one and combined elements of family togetherness on others.

Kathy Hall summed it up best, “It was such a privilege and a blessing to be part of the celebration. The more I contemplate Kwanzaa, the more genius it seems. What a beautiful and gentle way to affirm choice and purpose and how the whole community is blessed by the individuals who are its fabric.”

Dr. Johnson gathered the group together at the end of the craft presentation and had them to repeat a new word, “Harambee”, or Let’s pull together.

For the group, the community and the nation, we must pull together!

Happy Kwanzaa!
by Leora Jackson

Photos by Timberly Whitfield and Leora Jackson

Photos of Crafts that define a person's Nia or Purpose: