It is taking time to understand what makes each individual unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.
Eureka Springs, AR is a true community of radical inclusion.
Radical inclusion is about embracing ourselves, embracing our bodies as integrated parts of our being, embracing each other regardless of affiliation, and embracing our beautiful environment.
It is taking time to understand what makes each individual unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.
Eureka Springs is often at the vanguard of gay-rights issues in Arkansas. The first same-sex marriage licenses in Arkansas were issued in Eureka Springs in May 2014. The city has had a domestic partnership registry since 2007 and has made health insurance coverage available for domestic partners of city employees since 2011.
Aside from the infamous "rainbow staircase" in the center of town, Eureka probably has the highest concentration of publicly displayed rainbow flags within a 500-mile radius.
No one would expect less from a touristy liberal enclave with openly gay municipal employees, where same-sex couples feel comfortable walking hand-in-hand, and which three times a year -- spring, summer, and fall -- celebrates diversity weekends that include parades, drag shows, and dance parties. "It's a little oasis of all things tolerant in Arkansas," says Kendra R. Johnson, former state director for Human Rights Campaign Arkansas (and current executive director of Equality North Carolina).
We're a hippie colony tucked into the woods that's been ahead of the curve for social tolerance issues.
The Eureka Springs City Council was among the first in Arkansas to enact a nondiscrimination ordinance in February 2015. After the passage of Act 137 threatened those protections, the town’s 2,000+ residents voted overwhelmingly to keep Ordinance 2223 on the books: 71% to 29%.
Act 137, known as the Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act, says cities and counties cannot designate protected classes not covered by statewide anti-discrimination law (which does not include LGBTQ identity). So basically, Eureka attempted to enforce pro-LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinances, but the state’s Supreme Court stopped that from happening.
In February of 2019, Jay Wilks, organizer of the tourism group Out in Eureka, predicted that "the spirit of Eureka's nondiscrimination ordinance would always remain in place despite this roadblock" - and, although I am still quite new here (by only 14 months), I must say that I agree with him. Jay also said that "the city would continue to defend its LGBTQ population with a baseball bat."
Although he meant that in jest, he related a story, when he was interviewed on this subject back in February 2019, about an elderly woman who used to own a dress shop in Eureka Springs before she retired. One day a group of visitors began harassing a gay couple for holding hands, calling them “faggots.”
The woman ran out of her shop clutching a broom in her hands and chased them down the street.
This is Eureka! I Love Eureka!
H A P P Y D I V E R S I T Y W E E K E N D
2019 - Diversity Weekends
Summer 2019 - August 3-5 (Happening now, click this link for information)
Fall 2019 - November 1-3 (more information soon to follow)
Eureka Springs will always be a mountain hippie hamlet famous for radical inclusion.
Come visit. ALL are welcome here.