The Asian and Hispanic communities gathered for a town hall meeting with the city of Fort Smith Thursday (June 26). The meeting started at 6:00 this evening at the Adult Education Center. They’re working together with the Fort Smith Board of Directors and the mayor to figure out ways to get more involved in the city.
The Adult Education Center has had a long history of working with the Hispanic and Asian community. However, this was the first meeting where the mayor of Fort Smith, Sandy Sanders, has been invited.
“Well I think it’s important to meet with the entire community and this is just segments of the entire Fort Smith community”, said Sanders. “And the Hispanic community is growing in our school system, its about 31 percent of our student population,” said Sanders.
This meeting is a good outreach to talk to all citizens. Although the meeting was open to the public this specific time it happened to be with a particular group.
The Asian and Hispanic population is growing in Fort Smith. However, there is little involvement in the city with the Hispanic and Asian community. In the meeting, they suggested ideas to the local government.
“Ways to improve this city and also the mayor is going to be providing resources and tools where the Hispanic community can benefit from,” said 19 – year- old Humberto Marquez. “Because sometimes the Hispanic community aren`t aware of these issues or these benefits such as public transportation or other things,” said Marquez.
This meeting served as a platform to create a bridge between the Hispanic community and the city of Fort Smith.
“And I think really targeting the Asian community and bringing them out and we will have translators available if needed and I think it will be really nice to get a new group of people accustomed to and learning about the city,” said Gary Udouj the Director of the Adult Education Center.
Many topics were discussed at the meeting including the city government, employment opportunites, and how to apply for jobs in the city.
“I would hope the people would be excited about attending to learn more about the city and to be more involved in the city,” said Sanders. “This is an opportunity for people again to learn more about where they live,” said Sanders.
They hope that the town hall meeting helped the Hispanic and Asian community get more involved and civically engaged in the city of Fort Smith.