Dr. Anika Whitfield is a leader of Grassroots Arkansas.

She recently posted an open letter to key state officials, including Governor Asa Hutchinson and State Commissioner Johnny Key.

She wrote:

Open Letter: State Oppression Denying Independence

The State of Arkansas continues to strong arm the LRSD with unwelcomed and unsolicited changes that continue to be forced upon us.

As three persons who have some authority and have taken an oath of responsibility to represent the entire state, yet you seem to not feel the need to respectfully and justly represent your Little Rock School District constituency.
Four years and 11 months into state control of the LRSD, you still have not established clear exit criteria and a plan for the LRSD to exit state control.
Four years and 11 months into state control of the LRSD, you continue to deny the LRSD community of our inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as you are murdering our schools and destroying the lives of students, teachers and educators with closures, punitive measures, bullying, and other forms of deadly violence; you have taken away our rights to vote, but continue to collect our tax dollars and use them in ways we have demonstrated are against our will and best interest- taxation without elected representation; and, you are abusing your power by forcibly imposing decisions on us that are denying our pursuits of happiness and have continued to deceptively label your forced violation of our human rights as “helping us.”
You continue to demonstrate that expecting m.o.r.e  (moral justice, objective fairness, respectful responsiveness, and ethical equity) of you is apparently a futile expectation.
How many LRSD family’s lives have you been mandated to ruin in Little Rock?
How many LRSD community neighborhoods have you been mandated to destroy in Little Rock?
How many LRSD students have you been mandated to shift from public schools to private-public charter schools, detention centers, and/or prisons?
How many LRSD certified teachers and educators have you been mandated to force into retirement, terminate, reduce their benefits package, and reduce their salaries and/or retirement benefits?
It may require having a heart for Democracy, a heart for justice, and a heart for human love and respect to appreciate the words I have penned.  If you are unable to understand what I am saying and asking, perhaps someone in your family or in your workplace can assist you in understanding.
It is my hope that we will not have to settle these matters with a legal battle that wastes precious time, money, and energy that could all be better spent investing in the lives of students, families, neighborhoods, and communities, not only in the LRSD community, but equitably, throughout our state.

In the Spirit of LOVE, Equity, Liberation and Democracy!


Rev./Dr. Anika T. Whitfield