Jean Gordon, who’s worked more than a half-century in just about every Little Rock social justice and peace movement you can name, will receive the Arkansas Community Institute’s 2014 Community Truth Teller Award at a program at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the library’s Darragh Center
The public is invited. A $25 contribution to the Institute’s work is appreciated, but not required.
Gordon was a member of the Women’s Emergency Committee to reopen Little Rock schools after the 1957 desegregation crisis, a member of the Council on Human Relations and a member of the Little Rock school board. Since the 1980s, she’s worked in the cause of peace and redirecting money spent on defense to human needs. She founded the Arkansas chapter of Women’s Action for New Directions.
“Jean Gordon is receiving the Community Truth Teller award because social, political and economic change is always hard to achieve and the powers behind the status quo will do almost anything to block progress. The one weapon they fear the most are the Truth Tellers like Jean Gordon who know that good ideas will move people. And, eventually, these same people can move mountains,” said Jim Lynch, president, the Arkansas Community Institute.
ACI is a nonprofit that provides training, research and education for low- to moderate-income people. Among other projects, it helps lower-income people file tax returns — 4,500 in the last four years for people who’ve received a crucial $7.4 million in refunds.
For a flavor of the interests of Gordon, 88, check her Facebook page. I’ve been privileged to know her since shortly after arriving in Little Rock in 1973. Grace and good humor are a couple of attributes that come quickly to mind. It naturally reminds me of her even reaction to former U.S. Rep. Tommy Robinson. Presented with an anti-nuclear petition by Gordon at a public forum, he told her to stick it where the sun don’t shine. TR runs a liquor store in Brinkley these days. Jean Gordon still labors for peace.