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Shawn Williams for Dallas Morning News on North-South Gap Project

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The following are excerpts from a column written for Tuesday’s Dallas Morning News.  Read the entire How Southern Dallas can benefit from UT-D research column at the Morning News Opinion Blog.

  • When a member of The Dallas Morning News Editorial Board approached me two years ago regarding the paper’s just-launched “Bridging Dallas’ North-South Gap” project, I didn’t quite know what to make of the plan – or the fact that the team was seeking my opinion.
  • But after a couple of meetings with “Gap” team members, I was willing to give this effort a chance. Since 2007, the editorial board has met with scores of southern Dallas leaders, business owners, residents and other stakeholders in an effort to understand the many unique challenges faced by this most misunderstood portion of our city.
  • I thought some of the high fives and chest bumps in the Sept. 20 Points section were a bit much, but one thing is clear: Over the last two years, the newspaper has been clear in its goal of identifying problems and diligent in efforts to solve them.
  • But that doesn’t mean that we stop trying to fix what’s wrong. Local voices that have appeared on Viewpoints, like Victor Medina and Gerald Britt, must continue to push for change and hold public officials accountable. Community advocates such as Anna Hill in Dolphin Heights and Rawlins Gilliland in the Piedmont neighborhood should continue their efforts to ensure that their neighborhoods are not left out of the public discourse.
  • The commitment of the mayor and the rest of the council to southern Dallas will be judged by how much industry and how many jobs they are able to bring to the area. The newspaper’s “Bridging the Gap” team needs to stay in the mix and use the great resources at its disposal to make sure that economic parity remains a goal.

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