On November 29, 2016 the United States Commission on Civil Rights announced the appointment of 14 members to the State of Arkansas Advisory Committee, including Dr. Warigia Bowman, an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, as chair. Bowman teaches courses in research methods and global development at the Clinton School.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is an independent, bipartisan agency charged with advising the President and Congress on civil rights matters and issuing a federal civil rights enforcement report. It was created by the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Since then, Congress has reauthorized or extended the legislation creating the Commission several times; the last reauthorization was in 1994 by the Civil Rights Commission Amendments Act of 1994. Since its inception in 1957, the United States Commission on Civil Rights has been at the forefront of efforts by the Federal Government and state governments to examine and resolve issues related to race, ethnicity, religion and, more recently, sexual orientation.
The Commission, by Congressional mandate, establishes Advisory Committees in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Advisory Committee members conduct reviews and produce reports and recommendations concerning local civil rights issues, including justice, voting, discrimination, housing, education, and other important themes. Appointees to the Committees serve four-year terms and are unremunerated.
Other committee members include Ericka Benedicto, Little Rock; Mike Cantrell, Jacksonville; Jimmy Cline, Benton; Diana Gonzalez Worthen, Springdale; Valerie Hunt, Fayetteville; Carol Johnson, Hot Springs; Xavier Medina, Fayetteville; Josh Mostyn, Rogers; Cynthia Nance, Fayetteville; Lee Rudofsky, Bentonville; Robert Steinbuch, Little Rock; Sean Teuton, Fayetteville; and Brian Vandiver, Little Rock.
Previous reports by the Arkansas Advisory Committee include Who is Enforcing Civil Rights in Arkansas? Is there a Need for a State Civil Rights Agency (2001) and Guarding Civil Rights in Arkansas: The Need for a State Civil Rights Agency (2015).
Bowman hopes to expand the scope of the discussion about civil rights in Arkansa. “This is an amazing opportunity to shine a light on key issues facing our state,” Bowman said. Under her tenure, Bowman hopes to use the Arkansas Advisory Committee as a mechanism to listen and respond to the voices of citizens in rural as well as urban areas on the most pressing civil rights issues facing them.