What If We Were Brave?

Economic Equity
Since the pandemic began, Arkansas’s essential workers have continued to work hard so that our economy could remain intact. Thanks to them, we can shop for groceries, eat out at newly reopened restaurants, and start to revisit our most important healthcare providers. Despite how much they do for us, our economy does not reward most essential workers with a family-sustaining, living wage — and that’s wrong.


Nearly half of Arkansas households (474,000) do not make enough to cover basic household necessities such as food, childcare, housing, transportation, and technology. The moms and dads that run those households are ALICE, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. These are our white, black, and brown neighbors whose jobs are critical to the success of our communities — childcare workers, laborers and movers, home health aides, heavy truck drivers, store clerks, repair workers, and office assistants — yet they can’t make ends meet.

This summer, we met 10 of these hard workers from across the state who told us stories of determination, sacrifice, and dreams for economic stability. We met Arnetta K. from Dumas, a school cafeteria worker with a multitude of hidden talents. We met Justin B. from North Little Rock, the proud son of a blue-collar family filled with humor and love. Like the educators and school staff we are relying on to teach our future generations, these amazing stories teach us what we need to create a future where every working Arkansan earns a living wage, participates in a thriving economy, and is able to build generational wealth.

The question that remains is simple: What if we are brave enough to create that future together? What if we are brave enough to lean into the chaos of this moment and listen to what our hardest workers are teaching us? What if we are brave enough to live into our common values of economic freedom and healthy families — so that ALICE is fully seen and supported?

An equitable Arkansas is not only possible but absolutely necessary. It’s why we are placing our bets, building broad coalitions, and making bold investments with ALICE in mind. Supporting the brave, essential workers known as ALICE is long overdue. Will you be brave enough to get involved, too? Here’s how you can:

  • #SeeALICE: acquaint yourself with ALICE residents by viewing their stories
  • #HearALICE: listen to ALICE experiences by visiting our narrative initiative Reimagine Arkansas
  • #StandUpforALICE: sign the pledge to become an ALICE ally and subscribe to receive more information on how we can all build a better future

We are ready for bold, brave action. We hope you are, too.