Readout of Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke’s Trip to Little Rock and Pine Bluff, Arkansas
For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division traveled to Little Rock and Pine Bluff, Arkansas, on April 24 and 25 to continue the Civil Rights Division’s tour to engage with stakeholders in underserved communities and reaffirm the department’s commitment to protecting the civil rights of all Americans. U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ross for the Eastern District of Arkansas joined her for the meetings and events on both days.
On Monday, Assistant Attorney General Clarke visited the historic Little Rock Central High School, where she met with Principal Nancy Rousseau and students to discuss careers in civil rights and the Civil Rights Division’s efforts to enforce federal civil rights laws. This school year marks 65 years since the desegregation of the school. After her visit at the high school, she took a tour of the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site.
In the afternoon, Assistant Attorney General Clarke participated in a fireside chat with President Roderick L. Smothers Sr., school leadership and students at Philander Smith College, an HBCU founded in 1877. She discussed her career as a civil rights attorney and the department’s efforts to address economic justice issues, including housing discrimination. She also encouraged the students to continue to use their voices to advance racial justice and racial equity.
After her visit to Philander, Assistant Attorney General Clarke met with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas. She thanked the office’s leadership and staff for their service and commitment to protecting civil rights.
She ended the day at the Willie Hinton Community Center for a community conversation with Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr., Police Chief Heath Helton and local stakeholders to hear about local civil rights and racial equity concerns, including modern-day redlining, fair housing and issues impacting small businesses.
On Tuesday, Assistant Attorney General Clarke traveled to Pine Bluff to meet with Mayor Shirley Washington and Police Chief Denise Richardson. She reiterated the Justice Department’s commitment to work with local leaders to address civil rights and racial equity issues.
In the afternoon, she met with University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander and participated in a fireside chat with students as the school marked its 150th anniversary. She encouraged the students to pursue careers in government and public service, and discussed the division’s broad civil rights enforcement efforts, including work to address law enforcement misconduct, and ongoing work to protect voting rights in Arkansas.
Assistant Attorney General Clarke ended her trip by joining Mayor Washington at a community listening session with dozens of local leaders, faith leaders and long-time residents, where she discussed the department’s broad efforts to combat hate crimes, ensure educational opportunity and address modern-day redlining.
In the upcoming weeks, Assistant Attorney General Clarke will travel to Mississippi and South Carolina to continue meeting with stakeholders in underserved communities.
Updated April 27, 2023
Press Release Number: 23-484