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Episode 112: From Activism to Action with Fayetteville City Councilor D’Andre Jones

Spread the Ozark love

IANWA - DAndre Jones (edited)

IANWA Open [0:11] It's time for another episode of I am Northwest Arkansas, the podcast covering the intersection of business, culture, entrepreneurship and life in general here in the Ozarks. Whether you are considering a move to this area or trying to learn more about the place you call home, we have got something special for you. Here's our host, Randy Wilburn.

Randy Wilburn [0:42] Hey folks welcome to another episode of I am Northwest Arkansas. I'm your host, Randy Wilburn and I'm excited to be with you today for a great episode that I think we have in store with DAndre Jones. DAndre is a friend of mine. We actually met through the Rotary, the downtown Fayetteville Rotary. We fast became friends and DAndre is just an exciting individual that I think this past summer was unlike any other. I will let him be the judge of that and talk more about it but DAndre Jones is, I think, the second African American to serve as a Fayetteville City Councilor. He just got elected and took the oath of office last month, I believe, when recording this, it was February of 2021, and so without further ado, DAndre Jones, how are you doing today?

DAndre Jones [1:37] Randy? I'm doing great and how are you?

Randy Wilburn [1:40] I'm doing good. I'm cold because the day that we're recording this, it's like zero. I sent a picture out yesterday on Instagram, and I circled the temperature in my car. I have never seen nine degrees register in my car and now it's zero degrees. I'm not even getting in my car today, but the bottom line is this weather is reserved for New England and the Northeast, where I came from and moved here. I told somebody, and they were like, I just moved here. I never thought the weather would be like this. I've experienced two appreciable snowstorms in six years, one being when I first got here in 2014, early 2015 and then again, right now. We have had some snow before and then it's gone. This isn’t leaving tomorrow, especially with the weather being what it is. I don't think it's going away soon.

DAndre Jones [2:34] You're right. It’s going to stick around for a while. I want to say thank you very much for having me on and thank you for the amazing work that you do here with I am Northwest Arkansas and as a Rotarian. Thank you very much for everything you do and for certainly making Northwest Arkansas a better place for all of us.

Randy Wilburn [2:58] I appreciate that. I just filled the need where I saw one. I saw a hole and I said, I'm going to do this because this would be something that I wanted when I first moved here to learn about what Northwest Arkansas is all about. So that's why we bring on people like you and so many others who make up what I call the tapestry of Northwest Arkansas. And that tapestry has many colors, many ideas, and it's varied. And I just enjoy it. I appreciate that. Thank you so much. That means the world to me. I would love for you to give our audience a little bit about who DAndre Jones is. Tell us your superhero origin story.

DAndre Jones [3:41] Thank you, Randy. Superhero origin story? Well, you're right. This summer was very like no other and I found myself telling my story more than ever. When I decided to run for City Council, I was intentional and deliberate about making it more people-oriented. My message was people over politics. And Randy, you know just as well as I do, especially right now, the word politics can be due to lack of a better word distasteful for so many people. I feel that everything we do in this country has a political impact. As it relates to running for public office and being elected, I believe that we need individuals who care about people, who are committed to putting people first. How do you do that? How do you put people first? How does that come about? Do you learn it? You can, but I grew up in poverty for myself related to what you described as my superhero story. My grandfather told me this and I didn't know that Randy until last week. My grandfather was the very first African American man. He was a pastor in Joiner, Arkansas. Joiner is a town of no more than 500 people nestled between St. Louis and 30 miles north of Memphis. And so, my grandfather was the very first African American to work for John Deere. But he told me this, he said, I need you to be what you needed someone to be growing up, and, of course, he was referring to me when I was younger. And what did I need? I needed a mentor. My father wasn't in the home, so I needed a father figure. We were poor, so we needed resources. And as it relates to community change and social change, we needed politicians or those in public office, who cared so I decided to be just that. And that had inspired my activism long before I became a member of the Fayetteville City Council, even prior to running. In the work that I have done in the community, working on various boards and commissions. Growing up in poverty, we all know that you are disadvantaged on so many levels and I wanted to be a part of the change. I wanted to be a part of the solution, and I wanted to inspire people and give folks something to believe in. Growing up, graduating from Rivercrest High School, attending the University of Arkansas and having opportunities, even growing up in Joiner, where opportunities are very limited, I was blessed with the opportunity to serve on the City Council. I worked for a US Congressman, Marion Berry, of the First Congressional District. I worked in the school district, and of course, we all know in a small town, Arkansas, your local churches, that is where everything happens. And so, I grew up with a strong, strong belief and got a strong spiritual foundation. But with that spiritual foundation, I continued to see that there were opportunities. And I felt as if living in Joiner because there were so few opportunities, what could I do to make a difference. Could I stay in Joiner and make a difference with few opportunities. That would have been extremely difficult. So, I decided to move to Fayetteville and I finished my degree at the University of Arkansas. I moved here in 2006 after the death of my grandfather, my grandmother, and my dad. I decided to relocate to Fayetteville to finish my degree at the University of Arkansas. And those of you who haven't heard this, and Randy, I might have shared this with you at some point. I moved to Fayetteville the first time I ever rode a Greyhound bus from Joiner to Fayetteville with one plastic bag. It probably was one of the most challenging times in my life. I was very broken emotionally. Life had dealt a blow- devastated and personal reasons. The only thing else was, and my options were few. It was either dealing with the fear again with fewer resources or relocate to Northwest Arkansas to Fayetteville and start over. I was very blessed to start over and I took a job at JB Hunt and I've worked in Corporate America, Walmart, and various places. However, I focused my thoughts on making a difference. And so, I became involved in numerous organizations throughout Northwest Arkansas and the Fayetteville area, focusing on meeting the need and being a part of the solution. That brought me to running for office again. The first time I ran for office here in Fayetteville was 2014 and I lived in Ward Four and my campaign slogan was centered around people. And I tell folks, I knew that I wouldn't win. I didn't run to win; I ran for the experience. And so, I got the experience that I needed because there were six individuals and I finished number three. It was not so bad for someone I'd only lived eight years and most of my opponents were fully vested in the community. But again, I learned a lot and I became more active and then, in 2020, I decided to run again and this time, I ran with the intention to win for various reasons; representation matters. And Fayetteville, we pride ourselves on being a compassionate community. We pride ourselves on diversity. We pride ourselves on equality, however, with my activism and my social work background, I noticed one thing was missing, Randy, and that was equity. Are we equitable? I remember having a conversation with Mayor Jordan, and equity came up and a lot of people didn't quite understand it. Equality, I think we all get that and we all understand equality. But what about equity? And I believe that equity is making resources readily available and accessible. And I do believe that equity can be defined. We have Four Wards in Fayetteville. In each Ward, I think there are different concerns and different needs. So, we have to look at it from a perspective to level the playing field; we have to be equitable. So that means for me if this Ward needs not equally disseminating resources, but looking and saying, hey, for this Ward to catch up with this Ward, we have to invest more in this Ward, if that makes sense. I believe that because of my background, growing up in Joiner and my social work background and my role as an activist and my love for people, I love to see people having the resources they need to live a meaningful and focused life. The need for diverse representation really was a springboard to run for City Council and not just run, but to win, Randy, it was to run and win. I had the experience running in the previous races, even in Joiner, even my social work background, even serving on numerous wards Boards and Commissions. That was the experience that I needed. That was the practice, but now it's time to run to win. And we were able to do that because we were focused on what was most important, putting people over politics. When you are running for office, most of the time, you're knocking on doors, you’re canvassing, you're asking for their vote. Well, we did that but in a very different way. We were able to feed the pantry. We were able to do coat drives. We were able to engage the community, and not just asking for their vote but making a difference. Meeting the needs as we go along because I'm wanting to be who I needed growing up. And so, every single day, we were asking ourselves, what can we do to make people better while we're running, not when we're elected? Because folks need inspiration. Folks need motivation. Folks need encouragement. People need to be heard right now. We can't wait until November 3. We have to do what we have to do right now because it's all about the people. And I remember, Randy, really quickly, I did my first meet and greet in the park. And there was a gentleman that came and he was homeless. And we gave him a T-shirt and gave him a pizza, shout out to Woodstone Pizza because it was amazing. And towards the end, we gave him what was leftover and plenty of water. And I remember him leaving, and I've got a good friend that works at Walgreens and she reached out to me and said that gentleman came in Walgreens and he was telling everybody hey, do you know DAndre Jones, I'm wearing his shirt. If you live in Ward One, vote for him. He's a good man. He gave me pizza and water and his T-shirt. And the very next day, Randy, I saw two to three homeless individuals wearing my shirt. And seeing that, like, wow, this is why I'm running. And I told my campaign staff, we must be intentional and deliberate. When individuals come in, whether they are writing a $1,000 check or needing something out of the pantry, we will not make a difference based on social status and things of that nature. We will treat everyone the way they deserve to be treated and that is with dignity and respect. And so, I'm continuing that same philosophy, that same commitment, serving as a City Council member.

Randy Wilburn [14:15] You laid that out nice and clear. It's pretty straightforward with what you've been able to do in a short period of time, and certainly, that's one thing we sometimes struggle with with politicians. They talk about what they're going to do, and then nothing; you don't see anything in advance. I will wait until this day in the future when I vote for you in office, and then I will expect all these great things to happen. You got a chance to practice what you preach with all the time leading up to the election this past year, as well as all the social events that were happening. That created a reason for real conversation and real talk about inclusion, equity, fairness, racial rights and reconciliation, and so many other buzzwords that we talk about. We talk about them in big, audacious goals instead of right on the ground, and I felt like you had experienced what it was like to deal with it at the ground level where people were struggling the most.

DAndre Jones [15:25] Thank you, Randy, for pointing that out. And when you're voting for someone, I think that we vote for individuals who can relate, not just race. But let's be clear on representation matters. If we're going to have a conversation concerning racial justice, we've got to have black folks or other races in the room. And when we talk about racism in our community, we have to have the police department involved in the conversation when we talk about racial justice. We have to have our law enforcement judges, prosecutors all have to be at the table because this is the learning opportunity and guess what, they carry out? They are the sentencing, the arrest. It has proven to impact African Americans more than any other group, so why wouldn't we invite the various groups to a seat at the table? When all at the table together, folks can speak truth to power when impacted. And I think that we must continue to be intentional and deliberate. If we want to change, we have to allow individuals who have been impacted to speak truth to power. And I will say this, because of that, I've been able to forge some great relationships with law enforcement, with our judges, our prosecutors, and whenever there's a need, I'm able to reach out to them. And because of what you described, that conversation, that education about racial justice, it's been proven to be beneficial and impactful because what we don't know we don't know. And so, as a representative, even though black people aren't monolithic, because I am African American, and I've been impacted and understand a lot of the challenges, I'm able to articulate that to folks who enforce laws and those who make a difference on so many levels.

Randy Wilburn [17:24] It’s funny, and I want to bring this up because it is a challenge that sometimes African Americans in public office face. I don't talk about politics, for the most part on this podcast, but it's just like the issue that a lot of people have that if a black person is for former President Trump, people are upset. It's like, why are you for Trump? You should be for whoever, anybody, but Trump, or in this case, somebody on the Democratic side. And it's like, African Americans have long been a very resilient, very multivariate group of people with a lot of different mindsets and thoughts. One of the challenges I think that a lot of people cannot appreciate unless you're actually part of the black community is the challenge that a black political figure has with trying to adhere to, quote-unquote, the tenets that African Americans believe you should have as a politician. So, a case in point for you would be, why would you be so cozy with the police, because the police have been adversarial, historically for African Americans. I’m not speaking specifically of police in Northwest Arkansas; I could insert any major city name and say that there is always some animus between the African American community and police. It's just what it is. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, you choose to work from the inside, and even though you know I'm going to get some blowback from my folks, people are not going to understand why I'm doing this. You and Chief Reynolds are very good friends, I'm referring to Chief Mike Reynolds, the Police Chief of Fayetteville, and you chose to work on the inside. You were part of the Civil Review Board at one point in time. I think it's important that we have to get involved and when I say we, I'm speaking as an African American. I know I have a lot of white folks that listen to this podcast. This podcast is for everybody, but I'm just giving you guys a glimpse into the thought process. We meaning African Americans have to get involved at all levels, and I think you chose to do that. You took some blowback because of that, and I got it and understood what you were doing. I learned a long time ago by watching my grandfather and my grandfather said, you will never get things if you don't fight for them and engage with people where they are. My grandfather knew the mayor, he knew in the town I grew up and he knew all the City Council members. He knew the Police Chief and was right up front and said, hey, this is my grandson, just letting folks know. And people saw him all the time and he was involved. But he addressed people where they were and tried to work from all angles. And not just from the angle of, well, the police aren't friends of the African American community, so we will continue to bash them instead of coming out with some type of solution and trying to work from the inside out.

DAndre Jones [20:21] Randy, I couldn't have summed it up better. And to your point, I'm very grateful for the relationship that I have with Chief Reynolds. The Fayetteville Fraternal Order of Police did endorse me. And you're absolutely right. There was pushback. But what's so interesting about that, the pushback didn't necessarily come from the African American community. Because of my relationship with, as I described with law enforcement with the judges and prosecutors, there have been occasions where I've had to go in, speak and advocate for different individuals, particularly in many cases, black men. And because of that, the outcome was different. Because of my being able to advocate and bridge building, things were different. So, I remember when I was at an event at a carwash, and there were a group of African American males there. And they said, DAndre, we are very thankful that you're able to talk to the police because we don't want to, but we believe it’s better for us because you’re there. And I remember serving as Chair of Mary Jordan’s African American Advisory Council. Chief Reynolds came in after he was hired and I think this was October of 2019. He came in, and at that time, there was a big issue with African Americans being arrested more than any other group for misdemeanor marijuana. And those numbers were pretty high. And Mike met with us and we had a great conversation and immediately began to see those numbers decrease and continue to decrease. And I remember the protest. Randy, I think you were there, the George Floyd protests on the square in July? And I remember speaking, and the organizer called me that morning, and he said, Mr. Jones, we need a leader in the African American community. Since you’re the Advisory Council Chairman, would you care to speak this evening at George Floyd’s protest? I said, okay, what do you want me to do? And he said we want it to be peaceful. I said that I could do it. And prior to speaking, I called Mike and we met and I said, Mike, this is an opportunity for the country for the city, or whoever's watching to see that the Fayetteville Police Department and the black community have had a long-standing relationship, and I can point to specifics. And it wasn't that we were promoting the police, we were promoting what I felt needed for the community to see that bridge-building, working peacefully, working together, and we can show you how the numbers decreased in areas that had been impacted, and how African Americans had been adversely impacted. And from what I understand that night, tons of people reached out to me and were very glad because of the outcome; it was very peaceful. It showed Fayetteville standing together. We agreed that Black Lives Matter and that what happened to George Floyd was terrible and that police reform was needed, so we all agreed on those things. With that being said, we were able to identify what's needed to move our community forward in agreeing that everyone’s health and safety are important. And I often tell folks this, black people that I spoke to Randy, they're not saying that they're anti-police. They just want to be treated fairly. That's it. I’m so thankful to know that I'm at the table with the Fayetteville Police Department and have that conversation, as it relates to making sure that black people don't feel profiled, or they don't feel that, hey, I'm living in Fayetteville and the very moment that I see an officer, I feel that I fear my life. That's not a good culture for any of us. You have kids, so when I think about the work that I do, it will impact Fayetteville from generation to generation. I believe that it's very important for us to strengthen our health and safety. In this case, our police department, making sure that they have all the resources they need, the training, everything they need to protect and serve all of us with equity. And so, I believe that as a public official, as a community activist, I can't afford to have a personal ax to grind and that can't inform my political beliefs. I have to look out for everyone, so since I’m at the table, we collaborate. We have those difficult conversations and because of that, I went to Walmart right after the protest. I remember an African American male telling me that he has been living in Fayetteville for X number of years and today, I was at a stoplight and I saw an officer and for the first time, I didn't fear in my life. I didn't get scared. And countless stories where people feel that Fayetteville police are just not that bad. It’s not what people think. The pushback came from individuals who had another political perspective and they have their ways of addressing social issues. I believe that collaborating and working from the inside, as you described, will produce better results than being critical.

Randy Wilburn [26:23] And I think that is certainly a challenge. I know some of the allies that you are speaking of that approached it from a different perspective. And that's the challenge. I think we are all passionate, all trying to see the same result or goal ultimately, but sometimes our approaches are different. It's not that either one is bad, I just think sometimes people have a personal preference, and if you have the skillset and ability to work from the inside out, you should do that. I think we should all actually do that. You know the old expression; you grew up in an area where you get more bees with honey than you do anywhere else. I mean, that’s the way it is; that’s just how I was raised. Those are some of the experiences that I've had, but I know people that are listening to this may disagree, and that's fine. This is just one way to approach it. I would say that throughout that whole process in 2020, you were able to really mature in the way that you approach this, and it has developed a framework for you that you're going to use moving forward.

DAndre Jones [27:26] You said it perfectly- maturity. Every day, I woke up, and of course, this is politics and I'm like, what is going to happen today? Because, people, they come at you from various directions, because it's just the name of the game. But I remain true to my convictions. And I would often tell my campaign staff, this election is too important for the city of Fayetteville to allow us to get distracted on something that we know that's not true. We have to focus on the truth. What is the truth? Folks need diverse and equitable representation. I have a skill set that Fayetteville needs and a skill set that will move Fayetteville forward, and I'm not bragging to myself, but when we look at our city, what is missing? I offered what was missing. So, we have too many people who rely on my leadership to make a difference and create a more equitable Fayetteville. And so, every single day, I told my campaign staff no matter what you hear, no matter what you see, remember the goal and our goal is to win. Our goal is to represent because this race is too important. I remember having a conversation about the protests and I did say this, and I was very adamant about this. We had over 4500 to 5000 people that evening at the square. That was not the right opportunity, at least I don't think it was, to prove that the Fayetteville Police Department is racist. That's not the time and place for that. That's not the time and place to try to show the police department that they're racist because what would have happened? A black or brown person could have been impacted, and then we know what that looks like once they're in the system. Being booked, and what I understand, takes 12 hours and then goes to court and that whole process. If you care about black lives, and I say this, if you care about black people, you will listen to black people and follow black people’s lead. And then you would look at it from a perspective of what I'm going to do as an ally, as we mentioned, there's a place. And my place is not to tell black people how they should react to police brutality or anything else. And so, I was able to shape that where we need to empower folks to speak, not speak for people. There were five or six different young black men who spoke up for me and said, because of DAndre’s involvement with the police, I didn't get a felony. I didn't go to jail. I empowered them to speak for themselves by having a relationship with the police department, law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, and setting up meetings, and having these young men speak for themselves. And they saw that and from what I understand, they believe in the system because they went and they voted. And not only did they vote, their homeboys voted, their family members voted and not once, but twice, because I gave them something to believe in.

Randy Wilburn [30:56] That's it in a nutshell, I think. Again, you have created awareness and a level of involvement with people who have historically felt disenfranchised and felt like we have got a seat at the table. Let’s see what we can do with that. Let's talk about that a little bit because I want to transition this conversation now that you have this seat at the table and you are Councilman, DAndre Jones for everybody in Fayetteville? What are your hopes for Fayetteville as a whole? What are you hoping to see happen? This is a city with one of the top schools in the country, a city with probably the top or, if not, in the top three libraries in all of the country. I know you have been to the extension of the library. What David Johnson and those guys have done, there is nothing short of incredible. I'm proud to talk about it and I will talk about it every day. You are in a city that is still evolving; people are relocating here quite often. I don't know what the statistics are during the pandemic, but pre-pandemic, it was 32 new people a day, so this place is growing. What are you hoping to see come to pass, especially in Fayetteville, but you can speak of the broader collective of Northwest Arkansas in the next few years?

DAndre Jones [32:14] Randy, I described when I came to Fayetteville, I came very humbly. I'm wanting to create that Fayetteville for everyone, regardless of who you love or your skin color. I want to create a place that's resourceful, where there are opportunities so that individuals can live a meaningful and focused life. But with that being said, we look at that economically, and that's a big part of it. But socially, also being able to accept, tolerate, treating everyone the same. And when we look at police and fire health and safety, having a safe neighborhood, Fayetteville’s response was amazing when we think about the pandemic. It created a board of health because the pandemic impacted every last one of us. So, we have to be intentional and deliberate that we create opportunities that every person can benefit from. However, we have to have a pulse of the underprivileged- when we live from the bottom, everybody rises. You're right; they’re coming in from Fayetteville from all walks of life. And they're coming with good jobs, and they're coming with no job and we have to meet the needs of both groups. And that's what I want to create. I want to create an equitable, inclusive Fayetteville, where individuals can sustain, whether that sustainment is business opportunities, education, whatever it is, that we are a resourceful community and open to individuals from every walk of life. And I do believe that when that becomes our commitment, we will flourish economically. We will flourish with our education because people want to come to an inviting and equitable community. We want to create and continue creating an opportunity where there are no barriers, and where there are barriers, we can address them and understand those barriers. We live in a world where there will be barriers, but our city government must understand those barriers. We have to have a post of those barriers. With the growth, we are seeing people who are resourceful and those that are not. Do we create resources for those who are resourceful, or do we focus on those who may not have very much from the Delta or other parts? What can we do? There's job development. You mentioned education workforce development. Everybody may not want to go to U of A and get a college degree, and that's fine. But workforce development, having these opportunities, vocational schools, having that pathway to success. And then, those individuals who are more resourceful make sure that they can continue to thrive and even do better. It's a community where there's something for everyone. And I think that it's difficult for me to narrow it down. I'm committed, wherever it's needed, that's my commitment and to advance us as it relates to continuing to lead the State. When you think about it, Randy, we have led the State to respond to the pandemic. We have led the State as it relates to racial justice. Fayetteville was the first city in the State to black history. And in 1997, Fayetteville, Arkansas, had a Black Lives Matter banner on Dickson Street. So, we are known for leading the way and thinking more tangible results than daddy projects, where it's going to make a difference in the lives of individuals for generations to come. We are building so we can have a stronger generation, making sure that our schools have access and can meet the needs of an evolving community. It ensures that we're getting the right teachers who come with the school district and the city of Fayetteville having a relationship. The city of Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas has a partnership and the City Council can manage the rope by understanding the barriers that folks are facing moving here and individuals who need help the most if that makes sense.

Randy Wilburn [36:56] Yes, it does. The bottom line is you got your work cut out for you. There's a lot of work to be done, but I think you're certainly the man for the job. And as we wrap up, I would love for you to share with our listening audience some of the things that you enjoy doing when you're not out, as I like to say, fighting the good fight. What does DAndre do? I know we went and enjoyed lunch together one time, it was just Jason's Deli, but we had a good time. What do you like to do when you let your hair down, if you will, and just relax?

DAndre Jones [37:27] I love to do interior design. It makes me feel good because I'm able to create something that people are proud of. I like to travel. I love the beach, especially right now. So, traveling, yes. I like reading and writing. I was a journalism major before I graduated with my Degree in Education. I love spending time with my godchildren, but the pandemic has limited that. Of course, going out and eating and working out. I'm working out more. I don't have a lot of hobbies. I'm not a big TV person, but I do like going to the movies. I would rather see a movie than watch TV because I'm so busy. And also, let me not forget this, I'm a huge Razorback football fan so that pretty much sums it up.

Randy Wilburn [38:42] So tell me this, when it comes to getting out and eating, do you have a favorite restaurant?

DAndre Jones [38:46] No. I'm one of these people, though I don't like and not that I don't like, but I love to eat at restaurants that are not chained. I'm more of a smaller, something that's probably more exclusive; it's really based on if I'm hungry. So, I don't have a favorite place but I do prefer when I'm hosting. If I'm hosting friends or family, I always take them somewhere that they can’t get wherever they're from. And that's either Old Post Office, I mean, there are a ton of them, but we typically go somewhere in Fayetteville that they can get back home.

Randy Wilburn [39:34] That's good. You mentioned reading. What book have you read recently that really moved you?

DAndre Jones [39:41] The book that I read recently? It's two. One of them that I've read recently is White Fragility and I will explain White Fragility in a second. James Clyburn’s book, the newest one, and I would have to look it up, but it inspired me because of his political and life story. It's amazing, and I can relate to it. Randy, everything that I read has to give me inspiration. It has to. I can't read anything that doesn't. Why can’t we win? Why can’t we wait? Yes, I will read that. And also, Rick Warren's, Purpose Driven Life. Even though that's an older one, going back to White Fragility, I'm a fan of Robin D'Angelo, and I facilitated the discussion. And every time I read it, I get something more. Every time I read it, I get a different meaning. So, I will randomly read it, and I'm like, I didn't get this the last time. But right now, James Clyburn, Why We Can't Wait, especially being on the City Council, is so relatable; it's timely and it's what I need.

Randy Wilburn [41:20] Well, there you go. If people want to connect with you, what's the easiest way for them to do that?

DAndre Jones [41:26] The easiest way to connect with me is on social media. People inbox me all the time, but now things are a little different. It's really easy to go to the City Hall website at I respond to my emails, and I do my very best to respond in a timely manner. You can also send me a message on Facebook. I will see instantly either one of those.

Randy Wilburn [42:21] We will put all that in the Show Notes so that people who are listening, you might be driving you might be running and I certainly will make sure that we avail you of all that information. You can reach out to City Councilman DAndre Jones and connect with him. Tell him what you thought about this podcast episode. Tell him what you think about Fayetteville and maybe some issues or challenges, especially if you're in his district, District One; that is the district represented by DAndre Jones. And so, DAndre, thank you so much for coming on the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast. I appreciate you sharing your story, being transparent with our audience. We hope that everybody that had a chance to listen today got a better take on who DAndre Jones is. We will be rooting for you as we root for all of our City Council members because if one of us is successful, all of us are successful.

DAndre Jones [43:15] Randy, thank you so much. That last part we are in this together. And so, please feel free at any time, any questions, any concerns? Let me know and I'm here to do whatever I can to make a good difference.

Randy Wilburn [43:33] Thank you so much. We will be in touch soon.

DAndre Jones [43:38] You have a great one.

Randy Wilburn [43:40] That's another episode of The I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast. To learn more about us or to read or download the Show Notes from today's episode, visit You can listen to this podcast and sign up for our free newsletter to keep up with us and all things NWA. Make sure you sign up today. You can also subscribe to the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast wherever you listen to it. Please consider rating and reviewing us on the Apple podcast. Our podcast comes out every Monday like clockwork. I'm your host Randy Wilburn and we will see you next week for a new episode of the I Am Northwest Arkansas podcast. Peace.

IANWA Open [44:24] We hope you enjoyed this episode of I am Northwest Arkansas. Check us out each and every week available anywhere that great podcasts can be found. For Show Notes or more information on becoming a guest, visit We will see you next week on I am Northwest Arkansas.

About the Show: 

We recently sat down with Fayetteville’s newest City Councilor, D’Andre Jones. D’Andre, a Ward 1 Representative, is the second African-American to hold the position. D’Andre originally ran back in 2014 and didn’t win.  He continued to labor and serve in the community, and then the Spring and Summer of 2020 happened. 

D’Andre became one of several spokespeople in the Northwest Arkansas community to address Black Lives Matter and other social issues that have become a flashpoint in our country.  He led several peaceful events in both Benton and Washington Counties in the Summer of 2020.  All of this activism and a desire to see diversity, equity, and inclusion flourish in Northwest Arkansas compelled D’Andre to throw his hat in the ring this past November to represent Fayetteville’s Ward 1, a place he calls home. 

D’Andre previously worked on the Civil Review Board in Fayetteville and has had a strong working relationship with Police Chief Mike Reynolds and the rest of the Fayetteville police department. The Fayetteville Fraternal Order of Police endorsed D’Andre this past election. 

All of this and more on this episode of the I am Northwest Arkansas podcast. 

Important Links and Mentions on the Show*:

Fayetteville City Councilor 

D’Andre Jones

113 W. Mountain St

Fayetteville, AR 72701


This episode is sponsored by*:

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