Friday, November 4, 2011
Paul Quinn College students to march in Oak Cliff on Saturday
The students are speaking out on double plight in Highland Hills neighborhood.
Much like the way the St. Louis Cardinals hung in to beat the Texas Rangers in the World Series, students from Paul Quinn College will not just go away. Now a group of recognized community leaders have joined in on the college’s campaign to protest the expansion of the city’s landfill located near the campus, along with the overall welfare of their community and Southern Dallas.
All are scheduled to participate in the “WE ARE NOT TRASH: A March for the Future of Dallas,” Saturday, November 5 at 10 a.m. The march is an expansion of the “I AM NOT TRASH” movement created by the students at PQC that has been spurred by the paradoxical economic issues in the Paul Quinn College/Highland Hills community.
The area, north of Interstate 20 and west of Interstate 45, is approximately six miles from the nearest full-service grocery store, qualifying it as a “food desert,” with little evidence of any attempt to place a grocery establishment in the neighborhood. Yet, not only is it less than two miles from the McCommas Bluff Landfill, the city council voted last month to significantly expand trash dumping at the site.
“The leadership that produced this horrendous decision is out of touch with the emerging voices of the city. Marching north, across the Trinity River, and towards downtown Dallas is our way of expressing that this generation is no longer willing to adhere to the geographic, economic, and mental boundaries of our elders,” said Dexter Evans, a junior and the student leader of the march. “Since few in Dallas are apparently willing to say these things, we felt that it was time for Paul Quinn College and our friends to make our voices heard.”
According to the press release sent to The Dallas Weekly, the community leaders both supporting and co-chairing the march will include: Bishop Gregory G. M. Ingram, presiding prelate of 10th District of the AME Church; Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III, senior pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church; Reverend Bryan Carter, senior pastor of Concord Church of Dallas; Domingo Garcia, LULAC; Dr. Jerry L. Christian, senior pastor of Kirkwood Temple CME; Rev. Tyrone D. Gordon, senior pastor of St. Luke’s “Community” United Methodist Church; Rev. Van Carl Williams, senior pastor of Cedar Crest Cathedral CME; the Dallas County Democratic Party and J.D. Mitchell, president of the Paul Quinn College National Alumni Association.
The walk will begin at Oak Cliff Founders Park, near the 1300 of North Zang Boulevard, travel over the Houston Viaduct Bridge, and conclude at Ferris Plaza in downtown Dallas. The march is expected to attract more than 500 participants and will cover approximately the same distance as the school to the landfill.
Officials at the City of Dallas said their “Trash to Treasure” program, projected to increase trash dumping by 25 percent, is a valuable economic gem for the city. It will boost their recycling or “green” programs, thus creating more jobs and opportunities, much of which could go to residents near the facility.
“Dallas is preparing to recover more and more of the waste stream for re-sale as a beneficial re-use,” as stated in a proposal prepared by the city. “Private funds can be used to help Dallas recover these resources. Having a stable reliable waste stream makes Dallas very attractive to private partners.”
The city insists that their initiatives will put Dallas as one of the top-rated cities in efficiency and technology-friendly landfill management.
Other critics of the plan include the Dallas NAACP, who sent a letter to the regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, citing that the increase in emissions and hazardous wastes can more hurt the community than help.
“This Southern Dallas community needs far more than additional garbage,” said Dallas NAACP President Juanita Wallace in a press release. “The community has been waiting against promises for years to enhance the area with additional retail outlets like a grocery store and has been unsuccessful. The city’s proposal will not help the community in its objective for economic development.”
One way Paul Quinn is attempting to battle the food desert crisis in the community has been to convert their football field into urban farm and community garden, where food items can be harvested and sold to outlets in the community. The school has also completed demolishing several deteriorated eyesore buildings on the campus with both short-term and long term plans to build new parks, athletic fields and new structures on their campus.
The students have had previous protests and marches, including one in late September around City Hall, before the start of a city council meeting.
“Frederick Douglass told us that ‘power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will,” said Paul Quinn College President Michael J. Sorrell, who has been monitoring the student’s activities. “We are done waiting on the promise of tomorrow. We are tired of being ignored and insulted. We want a real grocery store today. We want a pharmacy today. We want officials who care more about their constituents and the future of this city than themselves.”
Pegasus News Content partner - Dallas Weekly
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