Archive for November, 2008

ALDI Under Construction on Wheatland

November 28, 2008

The new ALDI that has previously been mentioned as part of the Wheatland Town Center at Hampton and Wheatland is now under construction. It will be across from the Chili’s (map).

The store will likely be completed by next spring.

Scholarships and Model Training for Young Girls

November 28, 2008

This is from my buddy Keisha Howard at P.E.A.R.L. (Poised, Elegant, and Responsible Leaders). P.E.A.R.L. provides self-esteem enhancing programs for girls ages 7-17 include etiquette, life-skills, and modeling:

P.E.A.R.L. Girls is hosting a Winter Wonderland Fashion Show at the Valley View Mall on Saturday, December 20th. We are seeking fabulous girls (ages 7-17) to star in it!

Register now for the “Top Models with Manners: Winter Boot Camp.” You will learn formal and dining etiquette, social graces, and “self-esteem modeling” techniques. Then, star in the Winter Wonderland Fashion Show!

This is an excellent “polishing” class for previous P.E.A.R.L. Girls and a great starter course for girls who are new to the P.E.A.R.L. Girls organization.

Classes will be held December 6th and 13th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Valley View Mall.

Inner-Beauty Scholarship Contest

P.E.A.R.L. is also accepting applications for the 2009 Miss P.E.A.R.L. of Dallas Inner-Beauty Scholarship Pageant. This is a great opportunity for DFW High School juniors and seniors to earn scholarships for college!

Scholarship deadline is January 16, 2009.
link to scholarship flyer

Too Many Questions and not Enough Answers

November 22, 2008

I’m tired of seeing women get killed. A single mother that left behind two beautiful kids. A black queen…gone. For no reason at all.

Today at Wyshina’s funeral, over 500 people showed up. The Dallas Morning News wrote a special editorial yesterday; that’s the type of person she was. When you see grown men breaking down at the podium, you can see the effect that a person had on an entire community.

I read a resolution and gave the family a plaque on behalf of the city and Deputy Mayor, but in some ways it felt hollow because I couldn’t ease the pain. I can make a lot of things move in this city, but when you look at a family in a time like this and you have no answers not much else matters.

In many situations in this city, people look to me for leadership. Just like back home in North Philly, I was always the leader. But to whom do we look when we need guidance? This is the seventh funeral I have been to in eight months.

Times like this take me back to when I was in Philly. I go back home and it’s routine…see the family, hit the hood, and get the update of who’s in jail, who got murdered…a cycle that will always be a part of my life.

This thing is personal to me. If you ever met me, you know that from the streets to City Hall it’s all real with me. It makes me grateful for the life I have, because you never know when it will be taken away from you.

Wyshina Harris’ Children – How You can Help

November 20, 2008

As I have mentioned, Wyshina Harris left behind two children. There is a way you can help.

DONATIONS
If you would like to donate money to secure a fund for her two children, Jordan and Jazmine, please make checks payable to Central Dallas Ministries with “Wyshina Harris” in the memo line.

You can send the checks to Central Dallas Ministries, Attn: Jenny Fogel, P.O. Box 710385, Dallas, TX 75371. Or, if you would rather donate online, go to www.centraldallasministries.org/donate and click on Wyshina Harris in the drop down menu. (Note: if “Wyshina Harris” hasn’t been added yet, click on Education and then email me to let me know the amount you donated so that they can make sure your funds are designated correctly).

Thanks for your inquiries and for your support.

Other articles about Wyshina: Here and Here

$5,000 Reward in Wyshina Harris Murder Case

November 17, 2008

A $5,000 reward is being offered for information about the shooting death of Wyshina Harris. Help us find out who killed our friend.

Wyshina was an Air Force veteran and a mother of two.

Call the DPD Homicide Unit at 214-671-3661 or the North Texas Crime Stoppers tip line at 1-877-343-TIPS (8477) if you have any info.

Janet Morrison, who worked with Wyshina and knew her much better than I, posted this over the weekend.

Dr. Gerald Britt of Central Dallas Ministries wrote about Wyshina on his Change the Wind blog.

Also, Darla Miles of Channel 8 did a story about the tragedy on Saturday night.

My Friend was Murdered Today. Why?

November 15, 2008

This morning, my friend Wyshina Harris was murdered. Another senseless killing in our city.

I will always remember when Wyshina lived in Turner Courts and we talked about how she was constantly going up to HS Thompson School to make sure her children got a good education. She worked with Central Dallas Ministries for a while, and was chronicled along with others in an article last year in the Morning News. She was a big part of the Turner Courts After-School Academy.

Whomever you are that killed Wyshina, know this. You hurt a whole family and an entire neighborhood and community. You left two young kids without a mother. You have no idea how many lives you affected with this senseless act of gun violence.

Here is a speech that she did at a Central Dallas Ministries event when she lived in Turner Courts (h/t to Larry James’ blog). In Wyshina’s passing, feel her words and testimony. She is shown here with her son Jordan in a picture from Janet Morrison’s CDM Blog.

**

My name is Wyshina Harris and I am a resident of South Dallas. I have two kids–a 10-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son.

I want South Dallas to become a place where I don’t have to worry about my kids’ safety every day. We see violence and drug dealing all around us. We hear gunshots fired regularly. My kids still get scared when they hear the gunshots. I don’t want my kids to get over being scared of that. Kids aren’t supposed to get used to hearing gunfire outside their front door.

There are as many liquor stores as churches in South Dallas. I’d like to see that change. We need a decent grocery store, clothing store, and gas station. It’s hard to travel all the way to North Dallas to buy a decent pair of sneakers for my kids.

My kids go to H.S. Thompson Elementary. When people outside of the neighborhood find out where my kids go to school, they say, “Oh my gosh. You let your kids go to school there?!” Well, what’s my alternative?! That’s the neighborhood school. I can’t afford private school for my kids. Our school needs good teachers and counselors who will fight to get kids on par with their grade level rather than sticking them into slow learning classes. We need resources to enable our kids to learn technology and to explore the arts. We can’t allow our schools to set our kids up to fail.

I will tell you that there are a lot of things that need fixing in our neighborhood. I will also tell you that there is a lot of hope and a lot of strength in our neighborhood.

I think sometimes people think that people in poverty are just too lazy to pull themselves out. That isn’t true. My neighbors talk to me about desperately wanting to find work and wanting to go to school to change their lives. We want the same things for ourselves and our children that you want for yourselves and your children.

I’m not giving up on South Dallas. I ask that you not give up on South Dallas either. We don’t need a handout. We need authentic, impactful partnerships to help us solve these issues.

I don’t share this with you today because I want your pity. I share this because I want your partnership. I want to work with you, and with the future mayor of our great city, to make Dallas a better place for all of us.

Thank you for listening.

**

Brothers Chicken is Gone?

November 11, 2008

I had heard rumblings of this, but a post from Teresa at Pegasus confirms it: Brothers Chicken on Gaston is closed. Teresa talked to one of the owners, who confirmed that it was due to the economic climate.

Brother’s was my favorite chicken place. Your favorite restaurant places are the constants in your life as you get older and try to remain cool. I just got over Chip’s on Cole being closed.

Some things about Brothers stick out in my mind: The friendly saleslady with the candy-colored car always made sure you had enough seasoning on the fries, and always cooked new chicken for you if there were only a couple of pieces left. The best cherry limeade in the city. The peppers that were ridiculously hot.

Gone are the picnics with Brothers chicken my wife and I used to have at Exall Park. The memories.

Remember the withdrawal we all suffered when they closed for a while when a car drove through the front of the store? I felt your pain. The time they were down to ‘wings only’ for two weeks when they got a great review in the paper…I was right there with you.

I am depending on Brothers to re-open somewhere else in the future. There’s always hope.

All the cool spots are closing one by one.

Barack really did "Have Next"

November 10, 2008

When I told y’all last Tuesday that “Barack Got Next,” that was really true.

As you know, Barack plays ball on the day of every election. Here are some cool pics courtesy of Flickr that I found on the net.

UPDATE: Video at the bottom of the full post


I could help him with that high left-hand dribble though, since I’m also (mostly) a lefty.

More after the jump.


An Education for Teens

November 7, 2008

On Saturday at 9AM, all parents and kids that sag are invited by Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway and 97.9 The Beat to come out for a morning summit about how fashion can affect your future.

It will be a unique look on how fashion statements can negatively impact your neighborhood, the perception of you by leaders and decision-makers, and how it can negatively impact your future opportunities.

The event will be held at City Hall.

President Barack Obama…Where Do I Start?

November 5, 2008

Last night was an amazing night. Where do I begin?

Like many folks, I turned down a ton of invites to go to watch parties, block parties and other election events last night. I really wanted to take in the victory in a private setting.

I think about my 81-year old grandfather, who grew up in North Carolina. One of 21 children, he dropped out in the ninth grade to support his family. He grew up having to use the side entrance to enter buildings and order food. I can’t wait to talk to him this morning. Both of my Grandmothers have passed on; I wonder how they would feel today.

I think about all of my friends, who despite my badgering in previous years voted for the first time in this election.

I think about my parents. My father was one of the first black salesmen at Xerox and has always fought to show me that America is a land of possibilities; he knew I needed an education to truly make an impact in this world. “Big Pop” literally staged a one-man sit-in at the school board to make sure I got into the best schools in Philadelphia. He went to every single parent-teacher conference. In fact, he created his own conferences because my teachers knew he was likely to show up at my school any given day of the week. And so did I.

I think about my Mother. A single Mom from the housing projects of Philly, she started as one of the first black switchboard operators at our local phone company, got her GED and became one of the employees that created the Verizon cell phone network. Despite losing a 5-year old child in a gang crossfire shooting (while she was pregnant with me, I might add), she never gave up. She built herself up, and took every educational course that she could in her efforts to create a better life for her family. All of her children went to college. Despite being hit by a pickup truck and seriously injured in downtown Philadelphia two weeks ago Mom was at her polling place when it opened, standing in line and leaning on her crutch to vote.

This is what I think about this morning. America is a country of possibilities. Barack’s victory is a great American story.

I know many affluent people that voted for Obama. Most of them are business owners, and they are not worried about the difference in taxes that they might pay.

I think that Barack will have a moderate administration and presidential tenor. Most of the fear-mongering that has happened about being “liberal” will not come to pass. Can we get past all of the labels for once and just work together to improve America? That’s what Barack’s brand of “change” is all about.

This will not change America overnight. This will not reverse the economic problems in one fell swoop. But it does show that anything is possible.