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A Humble Servant

Photography by Lori Sparkman Photography | Shot on location at Hillary Clinton Children’s Library

   Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. invited all people to join in the pursuit of a more equitable world. He inspired courage and fearless determination that celebrates racial + cultural diversity. The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission – a division of the Arkansas Department of Education – works to promote and preserve this legacy throughout the state. As the organization recognizes three decades of service, this new year marks the 40th anniversary of the federal King Holiday.  Walter Washington, a former commissioner and former program coordinator, now agency fiscal officer reflects on the inclusive nature of the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission. 

   An Arkansas native, Walter’s childhood in Southeast Arkansas was filled with family and faith. “Attending Catholic school while practicing my faith in a rural Baptist church offered me a diverse perspective on life.” His aspiration to be an architect evolved as he realized his calling. “I have always had the heart to serve. Whether that be in church, home or work – no matter where I went I sought to serve.” 

   Walter was introduced to the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission during high school. “Attending commission meetings at the State Capitol at such a young age afforded me exposure to a world outside of my neighborhood in Pine Bluff. It was a moment that told me this was just the beginning of my professional journey.” He served as the youngest commissioner, then as a volunteer, and later as a program coordinator.  Walter is currently  the agency’s fiscal officer.  Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission Executive Director DuShun Scarbrough elaborates on Walter’s 12 years on staff at the Commission, “Walter does an excellent job of helping to promote this mission throughout the state and he brings a wealth of knowledge and a heart of service.”

   Since its inception in 1993, strategic, statewide programming of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission continues to cultivate leadership and an understanding of the transformative power of community service. Walter organizes public activities – recruiting volunteers, participants and attendees. He also mentors interns and the youth of Arkansas through Life Skills for Youth, Volunteers in Public Schools, and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity.  He adds, “I am blessed to be able to leverage some of these positions through partnerships that share resources.” 

   Walter’s responsibilities as a husband and father to three sons are equally impressive. “I encourage my sons to develop strong ideas and values; to be industrious adults who stand up for what they believe.” His work with the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission coupled with his personal perspective blend seamlessly into a life of service and certainly indicate that he is indeed a humble servant… Walter humbly admits it is simply the model of the late Dr. King and remains relevant, “We champion peace, service, nonviolence, education and brotherhood.” 

Inviting Arkansas

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