Discover upcoming events in Northwest Arkansas
Join Erick Cedeño, founder of Bicycle Nomad; Lisa Gilbert, mayor of Elaine, Arkansas; and Sharon Killian, co-founder of NWA Black Heritage for a storytelling journey weaving together history, family stories, and culture.
Presented in partnership with Trailblazers and Bike.POC as part of the Pass the Mic series, the event brings together community voices to use art, place, trails, and the bike to create a space of learning and community around the outdoors, our built environment, and Arkansas history.
Come learn about inclusive bike experiences from the point of view of minority riders, and explore the history how the built environment of Northwest Arkansas came to be.
See you there!
Trailblazers’ Pass the Mic series hosts in-person panel discussions aimed to bring the Northwest Arkansas community together to listen, learn, and problem-solve ways to better diversify our region’s trails, cycling, and active transportation scene. Hearing directly from members of the NWA community and national guests, attendees are invited to lean in and listen to experiences from marginalized communities. This event is open to the area’s cycling leaders, business representatives, partner organizations, and community members looking to learn and take action.
Erick Cedeño is a historian and writer who has dedicated much of his research to the Buffalo Soldiers, the African American soldiers who served in the western frontier during the late 19th century. Cedeño’s work centers on highlighting the often-overlooked contributions of these soldiers to American history, including their role in westward expansion and the development of the American West. He has written extensively on the subject, including his book Buffalo Soldiers in the West: A Black Soldiers Anthology, which collects primary source documents and personal accounts from the soldiers themselves. Through his research and writing, Cedeño has shed light on the complex and significant legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers, and their impact on American society and culture.
In addition to his research and writing on the Buffalo Soldiers, Erick Cedeño is also known for his unique approach to historical exploration. In 2015, he embarked on a 1,500-mile bicycle trip from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to the Rio Grande in Texas, retracing the path of the Buffalo Soldiers. This journey gave him a deeper understanding of the terrain and challenges the soldiers faced, allowing him to incorporate this experience into his historical work. Cedeño’s bicycle trip not only provided him with a unique perspective on the Buffalo Soldiers but also served as a powerful reminder of their incredible endurance and determination in the face of adversity.
Lisa Gilbert is the current mayor of Elaine, a small town in Phillips County, Arkansas. She became the town’s first African American and first female mayor in 2018, and has since focused her efforts on improving the community’s economic development, infrastructure, and public safety. Prior to her election, Gilbert served as a Phillips County commissioner and worked for the Arkansas Department of Corrections for over two decades. As mayor, she has been a strong advocate for increased community involvement and engagement, and has worked to build partnerships with other local organizations to address issues like poverty and joblessness. Gilbert is widely respected for her dedication to improving the lives of the people of Elaine, and is seen as a trailblazer for women and people of color in Arkansas politics.
Sharon Killian is a noted community leader and founder of multiple non-profit organizations in Northwest Arkansas. As the president of the Northwest Arkansas Black Heritage Society, she has been a passionate advocate for preserving and promoting the history and culture of African Americans in the region. Killian is also the founder of Art Ventures, a non-profit organization that provides resources and support for artists and arts organizations in the region. Through her work with both organizations, Killian has made significant contributions to the cultural and social vitality of Northwest Arkansas.
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