Photography by Jamison Mosley
Leta and Pat Mulligan met as undergraduates at the University of Central Arkansas. Their life together of nearly four decades includes faith, family and friends as well as a deep devotion to the Beloved Community that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. professed throughout his life and now legacy. The family’s unwavering commitment to the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission brings this vision into finite focus as they work throughout the state to promote nonviolence as the tool for reconciliation.
The Beloved Community – where all people are loved and respected with no space for hate – is fueled by faith and the power of the people to transform the world. Leta and Pat recognize this kind of human equity + dignity as a key component to cultivating a more just future for all Arkansans. As members of That Church in Sherwood, they welcome guests to join a ministry that celebrates diversity and encourages a life connected with other Christians. They serve as leaders of a community group that reflects this philosophy. Leta adds, “Like our friendships – the community group is diverse in culture, age and race.”
An unexpected meeting at a leadership conference brought Pat and Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission Executive Director DuShun Scarbrough together in a friendship that is 15+ years strong. “We were the only two participants that had not been notified that the conference had been cancelled,” Pat recalls. “We went to Denny’s to have breakfast, it turned into a five hour conversation and the start of a firm friendship that would include volunteering for the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission and become a family affair for us.”
During their tenure of service to the organization, the couple has experienced the powerful mission fulfillment work of the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission and realize DuShun as a visionary. “We have seen him broaden the scope of the agency throughout the state, promoting education of what Dr. King stood for and how to apply that to future generations,” Pat elaborates. “We don’t forget the past, but focus on changing the future.”
Leta and Pat, along with their children, have worked at nonviolence youth summits and coordinated training sessions in all four congressional districts. “We love to volunteer at events and participate in programs that communicate to the community: love our neighbor and become part of the Beloved Community,” Pat explains. DuShun recognizes the couple as humble and kind with an undeniable love for humanity that is inspiring. “Their faith and commitment to service radiates in the work they do for the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission; they are always willing to pitch in for the good of the community.”
The Mulligan family remains devoted to the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission with the steadfast belief that we can all make a difference and welcome others into the Beloved Community. “Sometimes the biggest roadblock is apathy; let’s all become part of the solution,” Leta notes. “It’s about celebrating our differences and including everyone in a better community that reacts from a place of love.”