Archive for the ‘Wyshina Harris’ Category

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.

**

May 23, 2007

Turner Courts – Unsung Heroes and Hope

Last Friday, I was invited to attend the Central Dallas Ministries After School Academy (ASA) Art Show. Dr Janet Morrison (blog link) runs the program, along with a lot of residents that give their time to this cause. The art show, which consists of a silent auction of photos and drawings, raises money for the ASA Program and was held at the South Side on Lamar.

This program is based in Turner Courts. Turner Courts is in the far end of South Dallas, south of the intersection of 175 & 310 (map).

View more about the art show here, on the ASA Blog.

I got to meet a lot of the volunteers like Wyshina and others, the children, and Dr. Morrison. These children are special! They are congenial, talented, and intelligent. The Kashias and Danyelles and Dariuses of the world need support to fully blossom. They represent hope and the future, and the possibilities of achieving against all odds. Dr. Morrison told me about the kids from that area that became college students. Unfortunately, these folks are on their own.

I learned that the children of Turner Courts and Rochester Park have no library, not even a kiosk! The closest library is the MLK Branch, some three miles away. Yet, the area has two council members since it is part of District 4 and District 7 (both of which have been in office since 1999). How can you encourage kids to read, when they have nowhere to pick up a book?

We’ve heard the unctuous grandstanding by current City Council Members about places like Turner Courts when they are in a tight spot about some other issue. What I learned is that nothing has been done for these people or these programs. They received some lip service years ago, and they are all hanging on by a thread. Maybe, with the upcoming change in representation in this area we can help these people that are obviously trying to help themselves.

These people do not want to be portrayed as victims. What they need is support for the things they are trying to do in this community.

When I said that we are going to change the game in this City, I meant it. The lip service and pandering and using poor Black children as martyrs must stop!

I intend to keep in touch with Dr. Morrison and the ASA. The children and parents of this community are isolated from resources and opportunity. This must change.