‘We Are Not Waiting For A Hero’: Dallas Black Clergy Present Plan For Economic Development In Southern Dallas

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Dallas Black Clergy
Dallas Black Clergy are putting their faith to work by creating an economic development plan to revitalize southern Dallas. Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash.

Black pastors in Dallas are doing more than just pray. The Dallas Black Clergy are putting practical application behind James 2:17, the biblical scripture which states “ … faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” During a recent meeting at Dallas City Temple Seventh-Day Adventist Church, the city’s Black faith leaders discussed “an economic development plan to revitalize southern Dallas,” reported The Dallas Morning News.

A crowd of approximately 60 predominately Black attendees watched a Netflix documentary about the deep-seated discrimination Blacks in America have faced in most facets of society – and members of the Black Clergy said the times of waiting for change is over.

“We are not waiting for a hero. We are the heroes,” said Rev. Jaime Kowlessar, senior pastor of Dallas City Temple.

“We’re here to change the game,” Rev. Edwin Robinson proclaimed. “It’s time.”

The meeting comes almost a year after the Dallas Black Clergy presented the city leaders with a list of demands to “create a more safe, equitable and just Dallas,” Dallas Morning News reported.

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The economic development plan outlines ways the city can “increase southern Dallas’ tax base through development. Ideas include using available land by faith groups and creating an investment fund to increase wealth in low- to middle-income households.”

It posits using land owned by churches, HBCUs and other historically disenfranchised institutions can be used for affordable housing and create public private partnerships that benefit residents.

Saying the city is moving too slowly in taking action, the Dallas Black Clergy is already working with member institutions who own land to help bring the plan to fruition.

City Council member Tenill Atkins said he has received a draft of the proposed plan and is open to suggestions – but is more interested in actionable items.

“We got a whole lot of plans. But a plan does not help the city. We need policy,” Atkins said. “We need tools to help us grow the tax base.”

Robinson said, if implemented, their plan will do that. When they submitted their demands last year, he insisted that prayer wasn’t the only lane pastors should be involved in.

“We’re just pastors being pastors,” Robinson said. “I think the power of that is this — every citizen in this community should feel like they can collect themselves together in any way they desire and make demands and asks of their public officials.”