Friday, February 26, 2016

Eunique Jones Gibson, Because of Them, WE Can Speaks to UA Community

Because of Them, WE Can Founder Speaks to the UA Community

Ironically, on this day 4 years ago, Trayvon Martin was shot in Florida February 26, 2012. It was a year later in 2013 that Eunique Jones Gibson was wondering and thinking about the safety of her two young boys in a country plagued with racial tensions, police brutality and racial injustice, that she felt a "fear of  uncertainty raising her young black boys," as she spoke to a roomful of UA Community, students and staff about her experience last night at Mullins Library.

"I felt Fear and Hope" as I watched my sons and thought of their safety in a country that racially condemns our kids. And it was a month before Black History month in 2013 and I noticed my son shadow boxing with his gloves and I instantly thought of Muhammad Ali. It was like a vision and I felt God speak to me. I instantly grabbed my camera and took pictures. My son Chase does look like a miniature Muhammad Ali. So I then begin to take pictures of children and model them after Black History Trailblazers past and present. It was just supposed to be a project!"

That project somehow gained the attention of Tom Joyner, black radio show personality and instead of the 28 days for February 2013 she was planning for, he called her and said, "You can't drop the mic, keep it going. You just can't do 28 days of Amazing photos!" And so she did. She quit her great paying advertising job and in the year 2013 she took pictures of 650 children in 365 days. She also diversified her children for women's history month and Hispanic heritage month.

When asked if she received any negativity or backlash, she said, "Yes and it is mainly people who are complaining that the children are not brown enough because they are lighter in the photo. It is only due to the camera flash that offsets the complexion of the child, but I shrug that off. Another complaint is why focus on Hispanics, Asians, Indians and other cultures? I say there is diversity and if we wish to bring in children of diverse backgrounds, we can. I don't know why they would think I am a Sell-Out," she says.

Because of Them, WE Can has been spotlighted on American Family Insurance, TV One, OWN and many other publicity shows. They have created outdoor media marketing in many cities such as New Jersey, Mississippi and Ferguson MO.

What's Next....A campaign that would allow kids to Imagine themselves in the times of Rosa Parks, MLK and more. 

This is not a 28 day project anymore.

This is a life time changing moment where kids can be excited about Imagining the Possibilities! 

Thanks Eunique for Inspiring Umoja Soul Kids to Imagine through the BHM Showcase 
and the Boys and Girls Club Fashion show in Fayetteville and Fort Smith.

Justice Day 226 and Justice Week Events

Trayvon Martin 2/5/1995-2/26/2012

A Boy with a Hoodie Walks Home

On February, 26, 2012, a young boy took a walk to the store to buy Skittles and Arizona ice tea for his little brother. On his way out of the store,he put on his hoodie and proceeded to walk home. Nevertheless, he was unaware of the danger that was about to unfold. He was being followed by a Neighborhood Watchman name George Zimmerman only because he had on a hoodie and looked suspicious. This little boy was only minding his own business and trying to get home.
But, he never made it. Instead, his body fell down in the alley, with a gunshot wound to the chest, blood spilling into the alley along with his Skittles that his brother never received.
This young boy was considered a threat because he was black, wore a hoodie and was labeled a thief, a thug, a gangster and perhaps other demeaning terms.
Let's remember the story of a boy who took his Last Walk! But also let's share the movement and recognize that Justice has Failed and continue to FAIL our people.
Although he is dead at 17, JUSTICE still has not  been served. Many others are waiting for JUSTICE to be served for them as well.
Let us remember those who are still fighting for JUSTICE:

Do your part....Share the Skittles Movement and perform a Random Act of Kindness and give skittles and just tell people to help fight for justice for all Americans. Justice for All!
On February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin, took his last walk home!!

 Let us continue to walk for him and for many others who can't walk for themselves. 
Lets Walk for our YOUTH!
Let's Walk to STOP Gang Violence!
Let'ts Walk to put an end to Bullying Gay, Bi, Lesbian, Transgender Youth!
Let's Walk to put an end to Bullying Youth with Disabilities!
Lets Walk to END Bullying to all Youth!
Let's Walk to STOP Racial Profiling!
Let's Walk for Women's Rights!
Let's Walk for Equality!
Let's Walk to END Prison REFORM!!
Let's Walk to STOP Preschool To Prison PIPELINE!!
Let's Walk to Change HATE with LOVE!
Join us in Justice Week!!
Justice Day Candle Light Vigil Tonight at 6pm

Justice Day Panel Discussion:
Protecting Our Next Generation of Youth
Through Resources For Living
Saturday February 27 at 10 AM-11AM

Justice Day Peace March 2pm

Lets share Skittles and Conversation with youth and others in our neighborhoods and help them to understand Gang Violence, Bullying and let's Change HATE to LOVE!

Peace, Justice & Love!
Justice Week 2016 Committee:
Michel Rangel, Irvin Camacho, Anna Stitt, Fernando Garcia, Tina Gaston, Gladys Tiffany, Justine Morgan Turnage, Leora Jackson.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Comedy Variety Showcase Returns after 2 year break!

Comedy Variety Showcase is BACK!

After a 2 year Hiatus and with so many new talented artists in NWA, we need to start our engines and promote them again.

2 years ago at Theatre Scarpino, Umoja Soul hosted 2 Comedy Variety Showcases. We had awesome Comedians that came and did their thang. 

Now, we are at it again. And we welcome the Funny Gal Comedian CC back to the stage! 

Also, this time we wish to showcase more local talent in NWA. We promote poetry, rap, singing, dancing, comedy and more. Whats your talent? 

Lets see you perform!

Come out to Havana Tropical Grill in Rogers Arkansas on March 11 at 9pm at 1207 W. Walnut St. Rogers AR 72712

Come out and listen to the ARTS!!

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Purchase Tickets here:


Comedy Variety Showcase of the Past:

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

BHM SHOWCASE 2016 Salutes Founders Detra & Cephoni Jackson

NWA BHM SHOWCASE 2016 Salutes Founders Detra & Cephoni Jackson

Detra & Cephoni Jackson, BHM Showcase Founders 2009-2012

The Black History Month Showcase is returning to NWA since the last Showcase in 2012.

The Black History Month Showcase was created by Detra Jackson in 2009. The inspiration for the annual event was born out of his desire to create an outlet for creative expression while educating the community on the rich history, culture and contributions of black people.

At that time, Northwest Arkansas was slowly becoming more culturally diverse but there was still opportunity to create awareness, especially as it related to African Americans. In the public schools Black History Month was introduced to students’ right at the time of the triangular (trans-Altlantic) trade, what we know today as slavery.

There were very few black owned businesses and many of the movies other urban areas enjoyed never made it to NWA. The city was also deprived of an urban radio station, which typically serves as a voice, vehicle and network of communication for the community in which it served.

So Mr. Detra Jackson decided to stop waiting and start creating. With the support of his wife, Cephoni Jackson, he decided to offer a cultural education and an artistic outlet to the Springdale community. 

The Jones Center, Dweling Place Church and Razorback Braces were instrumental in supporting the vision to come to pass. This event enabled people of all cultures and ethnicities to join in on the celebration. Through the Black History Month Showcase, Detra was able began to educate the community on the fact that black history predated slavery and showcased the many, great accomplishments that are still being achieved today, through one showcase at a time.

Detra, his wife and children lived in Northwest Arkansas for just over ten years. They have since relocated to the greater Los Angeles area where he continues to pursue the arts through acting and filmmaking.

Detra and Cephoni are honored and excited that Leora Jackson has taken up the mantel and continues to provide an outlet for creative expression and education to a very special community.

Umoja Soul NWA and its volunteers thank Detra and Cephoni Jackson for starting a wonderful tradition and we wish to continue the tradition through arts, expression, literacy, dance, music and educating our youth!
The Jackson Family in Los Angeles

Thanks Detra and Cephoni Jackson!! We miss you in NWA!!!

To contact Umoja Soul NWA, please email See you at the BHM Showcase on February 20 at 6pm at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

If you would like to donate to help support the BHM Showcase 2016, please become a sponsor and donate at this link. Sponsors will receive VIP Pass in Reserved Sitting Area next to our Star Celebrities :)
Sponsor Link to Donate:

Friday, February 5, 2016

Justice Week is Coming 2/21-2/27

J-Week 2016

What are you doing for Justice Week

Friday, February 26, 2016 – Saturday, February 27, 2016
Sponsored by Umoja Soul Writers, the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology, and #HandsUpNWA.

Leora Jackson, Umoja Soul Writers Group  901-340-1966
Tina Gaston, #HandsUpNWA

Facebook Event Page  Justice Day Peace Walk and Panel Discussion

Justice Week 2016, in conjunction with Black History month, is a community-led initiative aimed at commemorating the fourth year anniversary of the death of Trayvon Martin.  Justice Week focuses on raising awareness to combat the numerous social justice issues impacting minorities in the Northwest Arkansas community. Justice Week is an opportunity to bridge gaps between various organizations and bring together diverse individuals and leaders, as well as the greater Northwest Arkansas community, to shed light on their passions and educate others on today’s pressing issues.

Friday, February 26:
Justice Day Candlelight Vigil.  Event will be held to commemorate the lives of those lost at the hands of law enforcement.  Event will be held at the Washington County Courthouse on the corner of College Avenue and Dickson Street in downtown Fayetteville at 6:00 PM. 

Saturday, February 27:
Justice Day Peace Walk and Panel Discussion.  Peace Walk will begin at 10:00 AM at the Immigrant Resource Center located at 1301 E Robinson Street in Springdale and end at IRC.  A formal program will be held back at the Immigrant Resource Center starting at 11:00 AM.  Speakers will include:

1.       Irvin Camacho, Candidate for Springdale City Council
2.       Justine Turnage, Transgender Equality Network
3.       LaTonya Laird Austin, Deputy City Attorney of Little Rock
4.       Courtaney "Carmelo" Muldrew, Black business owner racially profiled in 2013
5.    Rita Howard Watkins, Deputy Public Defender, Sebastian County 12 Judicial District

       Event will be moderated by Michel Rangel of the Arkansas United Community Coalition

       Panel discussion will be followed by a reception and letter writing workshop for incarcerated individuals, organized by the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

BHM Showcase Sponsors and Vendors Wanted

BHM Showcase Sponsors

Donations are accepted to help with the BHM Showcase Production. Please support with a $25 generous donation. Thank You!

Thanks to these Business Sponsors who have made a $25 or more contribution. They will receive VIP seating in our Reserved area next to the BHM Showcase Stars such as Etta James, Misty Copeland, Gabby Douglas and more. 
Thank you sponsors for helping these youth to DREAM BIG and to BECOME a Famous Person in History!

Our Sponsors ARE STARS TOO!!!!

William “Bill” Bush
 Kathy Hall
OMNI Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology
St. James Baptist Church
Kathie McCall
Poetic Justice Open Mic #7 Fans
UA Libraries
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Tiffany Flowers, Golden Publishing
Sharon Killian Art

We invite you to participate in the inaugural BHM (Black History Month) Showcase under Umoja Soul NWA slated for Saturday, February 20, 2016 from 6-8pm at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

Umoja Soul NWA is hosting the Cultural Showcase with youth from low income minority families and adults performing skits, kids dressed as historical figures in a Fashion Show and a performance by the Arkansas Gospel Mass Choir.  The purpose of the BHM Showcase is to bring the freedom of creative expression and meaningful connection to our minority youths in the community in a safe and understanding environment while opening minds to cultural issues and creating safe platforms for harmony.

The BHM Showcase Fashion Show will list various men, & women as well as groups who were significant in Black History including Freedom Riders, Selma Marchers, and more. 

Some children will be able to dress up as celebrities that they admire such as Muhammad Ali, Diana Ross, Rosa Parks, Etta James and more.

We anticipate 20 youth and 20 adults participating in this BHM Showcase. We would like to have your support with donations which will provide gift bag items of cultural gifts, books, snacks and more for our youth. Your donation will also be used to assist with production costs such as technician assistance.

Therefore, we would like to have YOU as a sponsor to help our young kids in the NWA community. With your sponsorship, you help to allow a child to DREAM BIG! Thank you in advance for your support.

BHM Showcase Committee Chairperson
Leora Jackson
(901) 340-19966

To provide a generous sponsorship, please click the link below!