Mireya Reith is the Founding Executive Director of Arkansas United, a nonprofit based in Springdale that is dedicated to empowering immigrants and their communities through immigrant rights advocacy and closing service gaps. Founded in 2012, Arkansas United boasts a network of over 200 immigrant organizers in 17 communities across Arkansas, operates 5 regional immigrant resource centers with partners, and represents Arkansas in leading, national coalitions advancing comprehensive immigration reform, Latino and Asian civic engagement and immigrant integration.
Reith spent the first 14 years of her career in the field of international political development, working across five continents with American nonprofit organizations, Peace Corps-El Salvador and the United Nations to engage marginalized communities in democratic processes. In 2010, Reith begin to explore how to bring these international experiences to her home state after her involvement in launching a Latino-Marshallese nonprofit leadership academy and directing Hispanic voter outreach in election campaigns. Despite promises that year to pass a federal DREAM Act, both Arkansas senators were key, swing votes, denying a pathway to citizenship to undocumented youth. Reith was personally inspired by the Arkansas DREAMers who continued to rally the Hispanic vote, and found her voice as a community organizer, determined to ensure that Arkansas also showed-up for the DREAMers and all immigrants who wanted to call Arkansas home. Having first-hand experienced racism as the daughter of a Mexican immigrant, Reith continues to strive to connect Arkansas and immigrants to the broader movement for social justice, grounded in the beliefs that equity is the key to achieving our collective potential, and immigrants themselves can and should be change agents and decision-makers. In 2011, Reith would go on to serve her state as the first Latina appointed to the Arkansas State Board of Education, and would later become, in 2016, the youngest person in state history to chair the State Board.
Reith has been awarded: Cox Communications Local Hero Award (2018), Arkansas Business Arkansas 200 (2017), the University of Arkansas Latino Alumni Society Individual Excellence in Advancing Latinos Award (2017), the Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Award (2017), Seis Puentes Community Activist of the Year Award (2016), Mexican Consulate in Little Rock Hispanic Woman Champion Award (2014), the White House Cesar Chavez Champions of Change Award (2013), Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families Sister Joan Pytik Child Advocate of the Year (2013) and the Arkansas Times 40 Most Influential Arkansans (2012).
Reith has proudly also served on the Board of Directors for: the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), the Movement of Immigrants in America (MIA), Ozark Center for the Arts’ Latin/x Youth Theatre Project, Faith Voices Arkansas, University of Arkansas-Little Rock Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity, the Northwest Arkansas Housing Committee, Arkansas Teachers Corp and Just Communities of Arkansas (JCA).
Reith received her Master’s in International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University (NY), concentrating in Economic and Political Development, and earned her BA in Political Science and Spanish from Williams College (MA). Reith currently resides with family in her hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas.