Three Arkansas congressmen who were invited to the town hall on Sunday, Feb. 26, did not make an appearance. Sen. Tom Cotton, Sen. John Boozman, and U.S. Rep. French Hill were invited to attend and answer questions but instead, three podiums featuring their photographs stood center stage at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Little Rock in front of several hundred Arkansans in attendance.
“What does democracy look like,” Terrie Root with Indivisible Central Arkansas and organizer of the town hall, questioned the three-piece stand-ins as the audience responded: “This is what democracy looks like.”
Regardless of what race, age, or background, Root stressed that we all share a common pride and willingness to make America the greatest for all.
“We’re all here for one purpose: We want to resist 45’s [President Trump] dangerous agenda and we want to preserve our democracy,” said Root. “Our country was formed by resistance, by ordinary people like you and me.”
One such person is Teri Patrick, a volunteer with Planned Parenthood, who fears the inaction from congressmen will cause harm to the U.S.
The town hall was packed with white people, which Arkansas Regional Organizer for Planned Parenthood Christina Mullinax saw as a problem.
“There’s a problem with this room,” said Mullinax. “It’s not representative of Arkansas. There are few people of color here. I ask you to consider your white privilege and what you can do to bring people of color into this movement because we have to stand together right now.”
The meeting wrapped up with questions and comments from the audience with passionate pleas to protect women, the environment, members of the LGBTQ community, and the Affordable Care Act.
Those in attendance were sent away with the mission to reach out to Cotton, Boozman, and Hill through phone calls and emails to urge them to hear their voices.
Other speakers at the town hall were: journalist John Brummett, Glen Hooks of the Sierra Club, Gwendolynn Millen Combs of Be The Change Alliance (the organizers of the Jan. 21 Arkansas Women’s March), and Dr. Bushra Shah, a local Muslim physician.