A Bald Knob High School cheerleader who was murdered in 1995 at the age of 18 was honored Monday by the city.
With Kenyatta Haynes’ family and pastor and Bald Knob City Council members gathered at City Hall with members of the community, Mayor Barth Grayson proclaimed May 3 Kenyatta Haynes Day and said it will be every year.
Council member Johnny Hodges presented Haynes’ mother, Dorothy Haynes Rogers, with a framed printing plate of a memorial front page of the city’s former newspaper, The Bald Knob Banner. It was dated March 16, 1995. The family also was presented with flowers.
“It was a tragic thing, but we just want you to know we still think about her and still love her,” Grayson told Haynes’ family. “We really appreciate the scholarship that the family is presenting this year. We want to remind everybody that they can donate through First Community Bank.”
The $1,000 Kenyatta Haynes Scholarship is presented to a senior at Bald Knob High School accepted into a bachelor’s program in a mental health field.
“I just want to thank everybody,” Rogers said concerning Haynes being honored. “I think about Kenyatta every day. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. It does my heart good to know that you all think about her too and I just want to say I appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers and wish God’s best for every one of you.”
Haynes’ sister, LeCole White of North Little Rock, also expressed her gratitude to “everybody for being here.”
“Our family really appreciates the support even though it was such a long time ago,” White said. “Like my mom, I think about Kenyatta all the time. It made my day when you wanted to honor her and so I know everyone may not speak but they feel just the same, so thank you and like Mayor Grayson said, if you want to donate to the Kenyatta Haynes Scholarship, feel free to do so and you can do that at First Community Bank.”
Pastor Larry Johnson of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Bald Knob, who delivered Haynes’ eulogy at her funeral in 1995, said he “would like for this to be a moment to continue to draw our community together.”
“I will never forget at the time of this tragedy, this community stood together as one body; there was no division,” Johnson said. “We worked as a collective body to bring this to a closure, and so I want to appreciate you all and remind you that we have not forgotten how this community stood with us and helped us to get through this.
“All of the things that have been done – the park [named after Haynes], the scholarship and all of the other things that are being done that are so important to this lady who did not get a chance to fulfill her life, but she did leave an indelible impression upon all of us and we are grateful for that.”
Johnson, also director of a summer activity club for children, said he appreciated the community was starting to look “more and more beautiful. I thank you all for that and want you all to know we will continue to be proactive rather than reactive.”
“We have a wonderful summer activity club for kids, a summer program for kids and youth in our community and I would love for our city to partner with us and for more of our youth to participate,” he said. “If you would like to do that, let me know. It is really important that we continue to invest in our youth and our community.”
After the indoor presentation, Haynes’ mom and other family members released balloons in her memory.