“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now, we see in a mirror, darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”
My name is Aaron William Clarke. It is my name, and only my name, which ties me to a past dominated by fear, anger, and uncertainty. It is the vestige of a broken home, a broken childhood. But the time comes for everyone to put away childish things, and I have learned – with the unwavering support of this community – to embrace the strength of that name.
My name is Aaron William Clarke. I am running to unseat the 32-year incumbent of Rogers City Council, Ward 1, Position 2, and -- with your continued support -- I am going to win.
Having been named a ward of the state at age eleven, and with seven subsequent years of penance paid to the boy’s correctional facility where I completed my education in life, I found myself homeless at eighteen. To say that I failed to imagine the man I would become, or that life was difficult, would be a severe understatement. I found myself a participant in gang activity; unable to envision a life that did not end at the muzzle of a gun. The only family I recognized were the men standing at my shoulder, so like the experiences described by our armed servicemen in combat. We felt hunger together. We knew want together. We studied disenfranchisement and disparity and the Art of the Get-Back together.
We were angry and undereducated. I was diagnosed with ADHD but had no understanding of my diagnosis beyond the hardships it presented me in school. I lost people. I felt betrayal. I grew dark-hearted. Negativity exhausted my spirit.
My name is Aaron William Clarke. I have starved in the streets. I have experienced discrimination. I have lost, and regained, my rights. I have worked the System. I have made mistakes, and I have paid for them.
I am a father. I am an activist. I am a person of color. I am a community leader.
I am your candidate.
I have stood -- and will continue to stand -- against the hate groups based in this region. I have stood -- and will continue to stand -- for community involvement in matters of Public Safety and Social Justice. I have stood -- and will continue to stand -- for the wellbeing and greater overall success of the people of Rogers. I have bridged the gap, spanned the gulf, and come to understand the officials who once I considered my enemies. I am running for office to ensure that the people of Rogers – all the people of Rogers – are heard, understood, and uplifted.
My work in co-founding Bridge the Gap NWA to meet our Law Enforcement leaders where they are, to support our communities of color in their various triumphs and struggles, to bring our message of unity to those who would be associated with the Ku Klux Klan, and to do so peacefully with respect afforded to all parties speaks for itself.
In my youth, I never imagined that I would one day run for office. Neither did I envision standing with the LatinX and Pacific Islander people of NWA in solidarity for their rights to public health resources, equal pay, and criminal justice reform during an unprecedented global crisis, but I have become a man and have put away childish things. I have put away the childish thinking that I would amount to nothing, and you must also.
The world is changing. This country must change, and it begins with local representation of real people by real people.
My name is Aaron William Clarke, City Council Candidate for Rogers, Ward 1, Position 2, and together we are bridging the gap!