Building Better Communities

Photography by Lori Sparkman Photography

   The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission provides strategic programming that cultivates an intrinsic understanding of social justice. It promotes the steadfast progression of equality and the transformative power of non-violent action to create positive change. With a statewide presence through the Arkansas Department of Education, the organization serves all congressional districts. A shared vision with constituents, like Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Jonelle Fulmer who believe in a bright + equitable future for all Arkansans, makes this continued mission fulfillment work possible. 

   Jonelle’s tenure as a public servant spans more than two decades. This Arkansas native recalls her childhood in Little Rock filled with God, family and individual responsibility. “I remember a Halloween with my sister, we were kids – there was a UNICEF commercial asking children to trick or treat for UNICEF. We went door-to-door asking for UNICEF donations.” Jonelle still abides by God’s words: “to act justly, to love mercifully and to walk humbly.” She believes it was fate as a volunteer that brought her into politics. “I realized the importance of being part of the process of electing people to office,” Jonelle elaborates. “I love grassroots and never thought of doing anything else.” She was elected a Republican National Chairwoman in 2012 and remained in that position until 2020. 

   Jonelle was introduced to the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission through a non-violence youth summit hosted in Fort Smith. She will join the organization as a commissioner this year. Jonelle recognizes the opportunity to impress the next generation of civic and business leaders with tenets of Dr. King. “Youth are the future of our communities, our state and our nation. The engagement that the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission provides helps students develop leadership skills and a deeper understanding of social issues.” 

   Each year, the commission celebrates the nation’s largest day of service during the King Holiday Day of Impact. King Week 2022 includes statewide events in anticipation of the holiday on January 17 and the interfaith prayer breakfast + unity march. All related activities encourage inclusion and compassion as the foundation of our common humanity. 

   Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission Executive Director DuShun Scarbrough elaborates, “To accomplish great things, you have to have a great team. I need strong leadership to help share the work of Dr. King,  someone with a heart for service and a business mind.” Jonelle reflects the organization’s

non-partisan mission as she travels throughout the state’s congressional districts. “She makes me feel like the Tampa Bay Bucs felt when they acquired Tom Brady. With Jonelle as a commissioner, we can overcome insurmountable obstacles. We have a lot in common; we believe in Arkansas and Dr. King’s dream of building the ‘Beloved Community’ where all are valued, welcomed, and nonviolence is a way of life.”

Inviting Arkansas

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