We've come a long way, says Arkansas civil rights activist Annie Abrams. An integral part of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School in 1957, where four generations of her family attended school, Mrs. Abrams was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2010. But she recognizes that there’s more to do, and that’s why she is supporting Bill Halter’s campaign for governor.
Mrs. Abrams has been active in state Democratic politics and community organizing since the days of Governor Sid McMath. She first met Bill when he was working to create the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship as lieutenant governor. She admired both his ability to navigate the legislative process and his previous work for the Clinton administration (she describes both Bills as “Arkansas diamonds”).
Mrs. Abrams continues to support Bill’s ideas for education—like The Arkansas Promise Plan, a plan to send hard-working high school students to college, tuition paid, without raising taxes. With a long legacy of educational advocacy, Mrs. Abrams knows firsthand the effect an education can have on a person’s life.
“My formal education has empowered me to be a leader that leaders respect,” Mrs. Abrams says. “I know that my life would be different without it. [Bill] believes that the best investment in human capital is education. He has a process and a strategy on how to provide education to both gifted and under-served students. When he provides that, then it will move Arkansas forward.”
As we work to move our state forward, we also take time to look back at where we've been. Yesterday was Juneteenth, a day that commemorates of the end of slavery in the United States. Communities across the country mark this day every year with celebration and reflection, because as Mrs. Abrams says, June 19 “isn’t just a festival—it’s an opportunity to understand how far we’ve come.”
Arkansans like Mrs. Abrams have made sacrifices for the progress and opportunities that make our state what it is today. It’s up to us to continue the progress begun by Arkansans like Annie Abrams, a courageous community leader who’s fought for educational opportunity and equality over her entire career.
If you’re standing with us, let us know.