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This morning at 10:00 a.m. the city of Little Rock will commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the integration of Little Rock Central High School. Numerous events have taken place throughout the city surrounding the commemoration including an education symposium, the dedication of United, a sculpture at Central High School, an interfaith service, a panel featuring the children of the Little Rock Nine, a screening of the film Marshall, and a press conference featuring the Little Rock Nine, among many others.
From the Mayor's Desk
Good Morning,

Today, as a city and as Americans, we will pause to reflect on an extraordinary struggle for equality and opportunity, an ultimate triumph in the history of our Nation and indeed in the history of our city. Sixty years ago, nine young high school students endured incredible adversity to integrate Little Rock Central High School. For my message this morning I would like to share a portion of my thoughts I will be sharing this morning at the 60th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony.

"In the film Hidden Figures based on Margot Lee Shetterly’s book about African-American female mathematicians at NASA, it struck me that it was set in 1961 – just four years after the events at Little Rock Central High School and seven years after Brown v. Board of Education decision. And yet in 1961 Virginia, resistance to integration was rampant. However, three brilliant African American women at NASA, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson were given an opportunity to excel and in doing so served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the successful launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored our nation’s confidence and galvanized the world.
That story, like the individual success stories of the Little Rock Nine, exemplifies what people are capable of when given an opportunity. I cannot help but think of the possibilities that could have transpired had the Little Rock Nine had the opportunity to accomplish the magnificent work that they have achieved in the last sixty years right here in Little Rock.
How much are we missing out on by not presenting opportunities for the greatness of our people to thrive right here at home?
The stakes are incredibly high every time a child is brought into our world. How do we harness the potential of every child and person in our city?
Accomplishing that goal is incredibly complicated and requires the involvement every part of our community – it requires a stable family structure (no matter how big or what that family looks like). Early childhood education is key and graduation is paramount. Health and proper nutrition is essential for learning. So is the physical environment - our neighborhoods, our streets and our parks. Work skills and a job making more than a minimum wage plays a huge role in a person’s ability to maximize opportunity.
As I reflect on the progress we have made as a city, I recognize that while we have made great strides, we still have much work to do.

At City Hall these goals are what keep us going in the areas where we can help. It is why through the Recovery Act $8.6 million has been injected into the neighborhoods south of I-630. Over 100 housing units were created in these very neighborhoods. It’s why each year young people become World Changers and in the course of two weeks transform the homes of elderly citizens on fixed incomes in some of our most challenged neighborhoods. It is why this Friday thanks to President Clinton’s AmeriCorps program, we’ll launch the Neighborhood Safety Corps where we will have 30 young people working year around to clean up the hot spots in our city that are prone to crime. It is why through our multiple felony re-entry employment programs we are giving people a second chance. But I will be the first to say there is so much more to do.
But as much as anything else, accomplishing that goal requires opportunity – because we have seen that given an opportunity our people can overcome almost any challenge.
So, my challenge to our city today is to use the examples set by the Little Rock Nine and share the opportunities you have been given. There is much work to do. Do not pull up the ladder behind you. Mentor a child. Mentor a young adult trying to get into the workforce. Give a young person that first job. Use that degree you’ve earned to give back and help the next generation of leaders in our community.
The Central High Crisis of 1957 is part of our history, but is does not have to be our legacy. Our legacy is the story of how far we have come and a resolve to continue our unfinished business of opening the doors to opportunity. Indeed, the legacy of the Little Rock Nine requires it. Let us take this reflective day as a springboard to dedicating ourselves to this mission. Seize the day - seize the opportunity. Our future depends on it!"

Mark Stodola
In the News
Bank of the Ozarks Announces Plans for New Headquarters

On Tuesday, Mayor Stodola joined Bank of the Ozarks CEO George Gleason, Governor Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas Economic Development Commission officials, and the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce for the formal announcement of a new 247,000 square foot headquarters in Little Rock to be completed by 2019. The new facility will accomodate up to 900 workers with an investment upwards of $100 million and the bank chose to locate the new headquarters in Little Rock despite offers from other cities in other states. Bank of the Ozarks has about 2,477 employees working in 252 offices across the country, and more than 1,000 of those are working at its 84 Arkansas locations. Photo credit: Sarah Campbell-Miller Arkansas Business Online
Mayor Stodola Addresses LifeQuest Class

On Thursday, Mayor Stodola took time to address the "Inside City Hall" class with LifeQuest of Arkansas at Second Presbyeterian Church. LifeQuest of Arkansas provides an infrastructure through which adults can create a more purposeful and rewarding post-retirement life, or Third Age. The "Inside City Hall" class, created by Mayor Stodola, provides an in-depth look at the workings of city government with a different departmental director addressing the class each week during the Fall session. Mayor Stodola took the opportunity to provide a candid discussion about the structure of city government and the big issues facing the City of Little Rock.
Mayor, Clinton School Dean Rutherford, and Arts Center to Host Reception Honoring Women's Emergency Committee

On Sunday, October 8, from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Mayor Stodola, along with the Arkansas Arts Center and Clinton School Dean Skip Rutherford, will host a drop-in reception at the Terry Mansion honoring the Women's Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools. Following the 1957 desegregation crisis at Little Rock Central High and the closing of city's high schools, on September 16, 1958, the WEC met at the home of Adolphine Fletcher Terry. Fifty-eight women attended with Mrs. Terry saying, "The men have failed. It's time to call out the women."
Sister Cities Commission Hosts Delegation from Newcastle Upon Tyne

Mayor Stodola hosted a visiting delegation from Little Rock sister city Newcastle upon Tyne, England, at City Hall on Friday for a discussion of the similarities and differences in the two cities as the delegation spends several days exploring the city of Little Rock and participating in events commemorating the 60th anniversary of the integration of Little Rock Central High. The delegation includes current Lord Mayor Linda Wright as well two former lord mayors, a councillor, and five high school students from the city. During their visit they have and will get the chance to explore the sites of Little Rock as well as participate in multiple educational events.
Schedule Highlights
Monday, September 25
  • 10:00 a.m. - Little Rock Central High 60th Anniversary Commemoration, Little Rock Central High School Auditorium
Tuesday, September 26
  • 10:00 a.m. - Pulaski County Drainage Improvement District Discussion, Clinton National Airport
  • 10:00 a.m. - MetRock Now Meeting, Little Rock Regional Chamber
  • 4:00 p.m. - Board of Directors Agenda Meeting, City Hall
Wednesday, September 27
  • 8:30 a.m. - Interview with Rick Steel on the Point 94.1
  • 10:00 a.m. - Metroplan Board Meeting, Metroplan
  • 4:00 p.m. - Leadership Greater Little Rock Class 33 Announcement Reception, Clinton Center
  • 6:00 p.m. - Jazz in the Park, Riverfront Park
Thursday, September 28
  • 7:45 a.m. - Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance Breakfast, Junior League of Little Rock
  • 9:00 a.m. - Bloomberg Mayors Challenge Acceleration Session, LRCVB Offices
  • 5:00 p.m. - Robinson Center Sculpture Dedication and Reception, Robinson Center
  • 6:00 p.m. - Old Statehouse Museum Annual Supper, Old Statehouse Museum
  • 6:00 p.m. - Youth Home Next Course Fundraiser, Albert Pike Masonic Temple
Friday, September 29
  • 7:30 a.m. - Invest Health Meeting, ACHI
  • 9:00 a.m. - Neighborhood Safety Summit Planning Meeting, EmPowerment Center
  • 10:00 a.m. - AmeriCorps Neighborhood Safety Corps Press Conference, 1801 West 18th Street
  • 11:30 a.m. - Sustainability Commission Meeting, Willie Hinton Neighborhood Resource Center
  • 2:00 p.m. - Up in Your Business Radio Show, KABF 88.3
  • 6:00 p.m. - Shine a Light on Literacy, Next Level Events
  • 6:00 p.m. - World Woman Summit Pre-Event, Esse Purse Museum
  • 7:00 p.m. - Philander Smith College President's Scholarship Gala, Statehouse Convention Center
Saturday, September 30
  • 9:00 a.m. - Welcome Remarks at World Woman Summit, Clinton Presidential Center
  • 10:00 a.m. - Bike with a Cop, 12th Street Station
  • 11:00 a.m. - Little Rock Animal Village Birthday Party, Little Rock Animal Village
  • Noon - Festival in the Park Two Rivers, Two Rivers Park
  • 1:00 p.m. - 12th Street Block Party, 12th Street Corridor
  • 5:00 p.m. - Poetry Event Benefiting Jericho Way with the Little Rock Arts and Culture Commission, Trio's
Sunday, October 1
  • 4:00 p.m. - Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden Dedication, Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden
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