South Dallas renews anti-violence push with weekend march, rally
A largely anticipated anti-violence march set for Saturday morning in South Dallas is just the latest attempt to push back against what neighbors say is a recent uptick in violence.
The march, led by the group Urban Specialists, will begin at 9 a.m. at the intersection of Malcolm X Boulevard and Elsie Faye Heggins Street, the same spot where another shooting early Friday left two people injured.
A woman bystander had to be rushed to the hospital when bullets started flying outside of the Little World Food Store.
Area council member Tiffinni Young said she has been getting an earful from the area's neighbors lately.
“You’ve got people talking about it on social media, and it raises a flag," she said. "But it's not the worst it's been."
Young said the two biggest complaints she's heard recently from residents are concerns over loitering around convenience stores and the ongoing issue of so-called "drug" houses.
She hopes Saturday's march gives the community a chance to realize it all starts in the neighborhoods.
“Anytime a group is gathered and focused and galvanized toward solving an issue, it’s my hope it will bring forth a solution," she said.
During WFAA's 4 p.m. newscast Friday, event organizer Pastor Omar Jahwar said, "At some point, we have to say that senseless violence is not acceptable; it's not normal; it's nothing we can tolerate. And at the end of the day, it's up to us to make the difference."
"We're trying to raise awareness; we're trying to bring people out of a coma to say that these kids, our community, have value," said Antong Lucky, another organizer of the event.
There's some debate about whether recent efforts to curb violence in the area, including private security guard patrols coupled with town hall meetings, are really making a difference.
Three weeks ago, we talked with concerned residents after two teens were shot because of gang activity during a weekend block party.
Young says she thinks there's progress but that the work is far from done.
"It takes neighbors watching," she said. "If police have no witnesses but there were witnesses that won't solve the problem."