The Dallas Morning News’ Sharon Grigsby vows to make Southern Dallas a priority
Thursday's editorial section of the Dallas Morning News contained a Viewpoints column by the paper's Deputy Editorial Page Editor Sharon Grigsby. Sharon is leading the Editorial Department's "Closing Dallas' north-south gap" project.
As mentioned in her column, we had lunch one afternoon (at Brooklyn) to discuss Southern Dallas. Sharon listened to my thoughts on how I felt Dallas could provide better services and equal investment to those of us in the south.
You will find Sharon's article by clicking here.
I'm not the only person she has spoken with in her quest to learn how stakeholders feel about the city, her employer, and other hot topics. Michael Davis of Dallas Progress, Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III from Friendship-West Baptist Church, DART chair Lynn Flint Shaw, and many others were part of the project team's listening tour.
Sharon's column lists three things that her team feels Southern Dallas needs in order to succeed:
Over investment – in development dollars, infrastructure, code compliance and extra care – to make up for decades of neglect.
Political accountability, particularly from our new City Council.
A reprogramming campaign to help the northern half of the city better understand what makes up the southern half – and to help the southern half see itself as stronger.
If the amount of notes Sharon took at our meeting is any indication, the group has tons of information to work on besides these three issues. But I do get where they're going with this. Over investment is an interesting observation. My feeling is that American institutions are reluctant to over invest in areas that are predominantly black, though there are recent examples to the contrary.
The use of "Empowerment Zones" in Harlem transformed an area that was a punchline for crime and poverty into a neighborhood that now houses the office of former President Bill Clinton. The double-edged sword of redevelopment is gentrification which Harlem is currently dealing with. We should keep that in the back of our minds here in Dallas (Hamilton Park in North Dallas has the issue on the front burner).
From our conversation and subsequent e-mails, I believe that Sharon Grigsby sincerely wants to do her part to help the city come together. But the editorial page is just one section of the paper. Hopefully this project will include showing a more complete depiction by her paper of citizens south of downtown.
Many non crime stories regarding African-Americans in the Dallas Morning News tell of them kicking a drug habit, overcoming a criminal history, or displaying athletic prowess. These are all well and good, but black folks lose family members in war, achieve success in business, and overcome diseases just like everyone else. Sometimes the information is there, but you have to dig really hard to find it.
I'm willing to help in any way that I can. Dallas South has already contributed the term Southern Dallas to the cause (I sure thought that was going to make hits and misses that week). My inbox is open to any member of the project team, and I would ask Dallas South readers to help me keep them and the paper accountable.