News you'll be interested to know


Thursday, July 02, 2015

A note on life from the brother of Jesus (Part 5)

As noted recently on this page, from time to time over the next several weeks I intend to "dig into" the letter that James, the brother of Jesus, wrote to first century Christians. 

Thought to be among the earliest, extant Christian writings, the brief letter addresses the challenges facing Jewish believers located primarily in the area around Jerusalem.  Clearly, these early devotees of Jesus experienced suffering, systemic economic oppression and some forms of persecution--possibly because of their opinions about the identity of Jesus and certainly due to the social and status implications of those strongly held opinions and life perspectives. These ideas, drawing on the social context and economic constructs, may lead us to read this familiar material in quite a new way. 
James 1:19-21
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

19 You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.

It turns out that self-control doesn't come all that easy.  Have you noticed?

Mix in a measure or two be feeling disrespected, powerless or taken advantage of and you have  a recipe for civil unrest both personal and communal.

At times, oppressed persons who seek to resist and to improve their life prospects through organized, community action can turn their frustrations on their friends.  All too often those who suffer lose patience, seek to gain control where they have a chance to do so.  For the community James addresses the necessary message was clear:  don't get angry.  Listen.  Not so fast on the analysis and criticism.  Prove your solidarity by the manner of your communications with each other, as well as to those outside, even your oppressors.

The person who, in the face of suffering and mistreatment and dispute, can listen first and intentionally--resisting the natural temptation to get out ahead of an argument--that person will almost always deliver powerful, positive impact and needed perspective in any relationship. 

The default position of effective community leaders involves a fundamental commitment to listen first and foremost.  The commitment to really hear others changes everything.  If I am eager or "quick" to listen--that is, I come to every encounter already "there" in terms of my decision to hear another person out, I can more easily become a factor in promoting understanding and defusing counter-productive tension and conflict. 

Being "slow to speak," not feeling the need to be heard first or foremost, disarms enemies and softens critics who possibly make assumptions about you that are unfounded.  A determination to listen carefully while refraining from "having your say," is a powerful tool in repairing or building trust and genuine communication. 

This skill-set is essential in overcoming misunderstandings so that genuine community can be realized, and even organized to stand against the threats that come from the outside and from those in power. 

In the same way, a commitment to be just as "slow to anger" as we are quick to listen, changes everything about a confrontational context.  Let anger be the last resort, and make sure that its genesis emerges from injustice or some real harm to another and not just a defensive tact to guard your own self-interest in a dispute or relationship. Anger channeled in surprising non-violent resistance against harm and unjust structures and circumstances changes things over the long haul for the better. 

All of us have experienced the deep emotions of "righteous indignation."  The trouble is we often rush there before listening, which leads us to anger prematurely and without clear understanding.  My claim to be "angry about those things that anger God," seems foolhardy in calm retrospect!  Most importantly, all the anger that I can muster does not lead to an experience of God's righteousness or justice.  God brings those things to pass in cooperation with a faithful, organized community, not because of my unchecked rage.  God is God and I am not!  Understanding my anger as an extension of God's values and God's anger is not a sustainable notion intellectually, spiritually or emotionally.  In fact such assumptions are downright dangerous.

I need to lay my anger down as I pick up the pain of my community and work for change.

At the same time, the witness of the oppressed and marginalized must not be compromised by lives that are "sordid."  The word here literally means "filthy" or impure.  When used of clothing, it often means "shabby."  Clearly, a moral stain on a life compromises one's ability to command an audience or move an argument in the right direction. 

Furthermore, community builders who seek respect from those they lead must set aside all wickedness, a word that carries with it connotations of hateful feelings, trouble and worry or anxiety.

Instead of such responses to oppression or the stress of unfair poverty, James urges us to practice meekness or humility and teach-ability as we welcome the truth of God and our better selves.  As we invite a higher power to join us in our struggles, we will find the salvation of our very lives.   The victory that we seek over the forces that oppress will be empowered by this word from beyond our lives that promises to give us the very life we seek.

Much to ponder as community workers.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The hard work of "unlearning"

White people want to fix things--that's our default position and it grows out of our privilege and power.  The following essay needs to be read.  So, read it.

The 1 Thing White People Can Do to End Racism


A lot of white people recently have asked me how they can put an end to racism in the United States.

They see the problem. They want to help. They want to fix what is broken.

And, after some reflection, I think I have an answer — the one thing white people can do to end racism in this country.

Are you ready for it?

Okay, here it is.


Absolutely nothing.

That’s it. You can’t do anything that will solve racism completely in the United States.

That’s because contrary to what white culture tells us as white people, we aren’t the world’s saviors.

We don’t have all the right answers.

I’m not even sure we’re asking the right question as white people, to be honest.

The world isn’t waiting on white people to fix the problems of the world, to come up with a quick-and-easy solution for a deeply systemic problem.

It’s tempting, of course, and probably well-intentioned, to go to our black friends or to black churches and to ask, “How can we help?” or even to suggest “Have you thought about doing this or that?” Our first impulse is to seek integration of some kind with the black institutions that we have, up until the point of the latest tragedy, ignored.

As white people, our desire is to make a difference in the lives of the hurting, the wounded, and the oppressed. Because one of the insidious pieces of white supremacy is that white people read the Bible as saviors, casting themselves in the role of Jesus or Moses instead of Pilate or Pharaoh.

Read on here.

Monday, June 29, 2015


"The real crisis isn’t one night of young men in the street rioting. It’s something perhaps even more inexcusable — our own complacency at the systematic, long-term denial of equal opportunity to people based on their skin color and ZIP code."
Nicholas Kristof, "When Baltimore Burned,"
The New York Times, April 29, 2015

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Texas Death Row

We sat divided by thick glass.

We talked through the glass by telephone.

I just wanted to shake his hand, but I couldn't even touch him. 

A man, 33-years-old, on Texas death row for 14 years. 

We've been corresponding for over a year. 

I'm on his "guest list."

On June 2, 2015, I visited him. 

It will take me awhile to tell you about him.

Be patient with me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Opportunity "Green" Center!

What follows is a summation of the positive, sustainable impact of the new Opportunity Center on the community in which is resides. I love this stuff!  Just had to share! 

CitySquare Sustainable Talking Points


The location of the building (south Dallas) and its operational activities; job training, food distribution, wellness center and community café, serve the community within which it is located, making great strides towards making the neighborhood a better place.

• Pollution from construction activities was reduced by controlling soil erosion, waterway sedimentation and airborne dust generation.

• The development was located on a site in an existing urban area in order to protect and preserve habitat and natural resources.

• Maximized open space on the site in order to maintain and promote bio-diversity within the natural habitat of the site, 30% of the site is vegetated open space.

• Helped to reduce the urban heat island effect by using solar reflecting materials on both the ground and the roofs of the buildings, helping to keep the building and surrounding areas cooler.


Using low flow water fixtures increased the water efficiency within the buildings to use 23% less water than would normally be used in a building of this type and size. This reduces the burden on the municipal water supply and wastewater systems, saving approximately 44,000 gallons per year.

• Reduced potable water consumption for landscape irrigation by 59% by using low water landscaping and green irrigation practices. The project is expecting to save 394,000 gallons per year.
Energy & Atmosphere
Through the use of a geothermal (ground source heat pump) energy system, and low energy use lighting and appliances a 18.6% reduction in energy usage is expected, or approximately 195,350 kWh/year. This is enough energy to power 17 houses in one year.

• The building monitors its energy use to make sure these planned energy reductions are consistently being achieved.

• Limited contribution of ozone depleting gases by not using CFC or HCFC (chlorofluorocarbon and hydrochlorofluorocarbon) based refrigerants in the HVAC systems of the building.

• Has encouraged the development, construction, and operation of new renewable energy resources in this state by purchasing 2 years of Renewable Energy Credits (REC) for the project.
Materials and Resources

Has implemented a building-wide recycling program for paper, corrugated cardboard, glass, plastics and metals.

• Diverted 7.5 tons of metal, 26 tons of wood and 360 tons of concrete from the landfill during construction – recycling a total of 68% of all construction waste.

• Used materials throughout such as ceiling tile, solid surfacing and flooring with recycled content in them.

• Purchased materials locally when possible to cut down on transportation emissions and promote the local economy.

• Purchased Forest Stewardship Council certified wood to be used in the project, 45% of all wood used in the project (based on cost) was from sustainably managed forests.
Safe and Healthy Building
Put in place a Indoor Air Quality Management Plan during construction in order to reduce the likelihood of indoor air quality problems.

• Used low-emitting materials to reduce the quantity of indoor air contaminants that are odorous, irritating and/or harmful to the comfort and well-being of installers and occupants. Materials included: adhesives and sealants, paints and other coatings, flooring systems and composite wood products.

• Tried to minimize building occupant exposure to potentially hazardous particulates and chemical pollutants by using walk off mats at all entry points and exhausting space where hazardous gases or chemicals may be present and using high efficiency filters that remove more contaminant particles from the air.

• Provided a high level of thermal comfort control for the individual occupants to promote productivity, comfort and well-being.

• Implemented an Organic Landscape Maintenance plan that outlines best practices in selecting, planting and maintaining the property landscaping. Including organic pest control and fertilization.

• Established and maintains a toxic material source reduction program to reduce the amount of toxic mercury brought onto the building site through purchasing of lamps.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Line

I've learned so much from "poor" people over the past four decades.

There is more to learn, and so much more to do to battle poverty.

I pray to God we can lift our eyes and see our sisters and brothers
linked to all of us.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A note on life from the brother of Jesus (Part 4)

As noted recently on this page, from time to time over the next several weeks I intend to "dig into" the letter that James, the brother of Jesus, wrote to first century Christians. 

Thought to be among the earliest, extant Christian writings, the brief letter addresses the challenges facing Jewish believers located primarily in the area around Jerusalem.  Clearly, these early devotees of Jesus experienced suffering, systemic economic oppression and some forms of persecution--possibly because of their opinions about the identity of Jesus and certainly due to the social and status implications of those strongly held opinions and life perspectives. These ideas, drawing on the social context and economic constructs, may lead us to read this familiar material in quite a new way. 

James 1:12-18  (NRSV)

Trial and Temptation

12 Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 No one, when tempted, should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. 14 But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; 15 then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved.

17 Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

How does economic status affect life decisions?  How are the "temptations" of the rich different from those of the "poor?" 
Most of the first readers of this short letter from James, the brother of Jesus, knew the "surround of poverty" right well.  They spent their days in common labor for low, inadequate and unjust wages that at times were not even paid! 

No doubt, many faced the very real temptation to steal, to cut corners, to "hustle the man" who held all of the power, and to fight on his very unfavorable terms. 
The message of Jesus, now mediated by his younger brother, pulls no punches. 

The injustice of the rich doesn't provide license for similar behavior on the part of the oppressed.  James re-frames the issue completely. 

The oppression of the powerful present the oppressed with a temptation, a dilemma. 

Will I live as an obedient disciple of Jesus? 

Or, will I succumb to the temptation to take matters into my own hands and level the playing field by means of violence, treachery or rebellion? 

Will I behave as the unjust rich by oppressing those who are even less powerful than I am? 

Will I depend on my own strength rather than the strength provided by my faith? 

Will I look out for myself alone? 

Will I surrender to immorality? 

Will I give up my faith? 

Will I "kiss up" to my oppressor? 

Will I surrender my own self-respect? 

Will I walk through life as a totally compromised human being because I am afraid? 

Or, will I speak truth to power in my journey through and toward a better life? 
Seldom do we connect the social context of life in the real world to the words of scripture.  

James offers a stark contrast. 

Don't play the game of life by the rules set forth by unjust, greedy oppressors. 

Rather, as God is generous beyond imagination, determine to live a life of generosity in response to injustice. 

To give is to demonstrate one's direct connection to God, the first harvest of God's amazing creation.  All good gifts imamate  from God. Taking a cue from heaven, faith directs believers to live as givers, no matter what oppressors decide to do.

God does not change.  Nor should God's people, even in a world of injustice.

It would be impossible to recount all of the instances in which I have observed the urban poor, the extremely poor, give of their meagre resources to benefit others.  Food, shelter, money, transportation, encouragement, opportunities--I've seen "the poor" demonstrate generosity and move beyond the scale of the wealthiest philanthropist.  I've heard and witnessed the homeless refuse the offer of housing because they could not justify leaving friends and loved ones behind. 

I've seen God in the lives of the outcasts and the marginalized, again and again. 

James understood.

Friday, June 12, 2015


We've learned this lesson at CitySquare.

Words and their selection really matter a lot!

For example,

. . .neighbor is better than client.

. . .concierge is better than case worker.

. . .investment is better than gift.

. . .return on investment is better than outcome.

. . .community development is better than charity.

. . .opportunity is better than delivering services.

. . .friendship is better than programming.

Enjoy this example of perspective. . . .

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hard, important work

The Social Workers

 We know where the homeless shelters are,
where flattened men sit, warmed by liquor
and the collective conscience
   of addition and handicap.  

We’ve seen them 

leaning against confetti-ed walls,

like flies on the carcass

of wasted years – a fading future.

We go to houses painted the shade 

of a nightmare;

coats of fear and abuse building up, 

concealing the shame and ignorance

of a life devoid of harmony

and strength in the daylight of love.

We sit in the foster homes

and place the injured offspring

into stations near the end 

of an awfully short road,

with any luck - free of maltreatment,

but still choking with the exhaust 

of separation and loss.

We glare past the packaging,

into the plastic hands of incubators

holding the two-pound result

of ambivalent conception and crack cravings.

We leave the county hospital startled

by the miniature creatures 

and the tubes keeping their faint rhythms alive.

We ring the AIDS center - beg them for an opening,

drop her off at the battered women’s shelter,

and latter query the housing authority,

then sigh when we’re reminded of the waiting list.

Sometimes our hearts aren’t in it

and often we’d die for another profession.

But if God returns while we’re still here

and we find ourselves in need of His attending to,

at least we’ll know where to find Him -

beside us - the social workers,

down and dirty with the least of us...

by Joshua Pulis, LCSW

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Free Minds completes first year!

CitySquare provided the classroom space for this amazing, innovative educational experience!

Free Minds is a transformative resource that Dallas is fortunate to have available.

 More to come, I know!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

A note on life from the brother of Jesus (Part 3)

As noted recently, from time to time over the next several weeks on this site I intend to "dig into" the letter that James, the brother of Jesus, wrote to first century Christians. 

Thought to be among the earliest, extant Christian writings, the brief letter addresses the challenges facing Jewish believers located primarily in the area around Jerusalem.  Clearly, these early devotees of Jesus experienced suffering, systemic economic oppression and some forms of persecution--possibly because of their opinions about the identity of Jesus and certainly due to the social and status implications of those strongly held opinions and life perspectives.
James 1:9-11  (NRSV)

Poverty and Riches

Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, 10 and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away.

The social and economic place and condition of the early Christian community to whom James writes was less than ideal to day the least.  Let me recommend that you read through James' entire correspondence at one sitting.  The context clearly indicates that most of those James addresses knew poverty and economic fragility first hand.  And those caught in the machinations of economic injustice did what poor people always seem to do:  they honored the rich, their oppressors and in doing so they forfeited an accurate and appropriate sense of their own ultimate worthiness. 

James counsels a completely different take on the self-understanding of the "poor."  James indicates that the person of faith who is of "lowly" financial means and status should boast in anticipation of being lifted up from poverty.  God works for the poor and oppressed, that's the implication here.  Against all counter claims and appearances, God stands on the side of the impoverished and battles  to see folk rise up from the social trash heap created and informed by the bias, false status and pride of a wealthy, powerful oppressive class. 

The rich, the oppressors who control most of the benefit of the economy of the day should boast in anticipation of being "brought low."  Here the implication is clear:  the fate of the wealthy depends upon their facing the fact that the wealth they control is fleeting.  A person's wealth cannot save her from the fate of all humankind! Like a wilting flower in the middle of a sunbaked field, those who "control" large amounts of wealth should learn that in the end they control nothing.  The rich will see life end, just as will "the poor."

In the end however, the way to life will be discovered in honest humility, not in overreaching opulence that builds wealth by extracting life from those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder.  Life will not be found in any enterprise that imposes a cruel fate on the oppressed poor of the land. 

James sounds a lot like his brother, Jesus. 

The "turning of the tables," for the sake of the triumph of the justice shaping God's heart, is an important theme in the story of the life of Jesus, especially as told by Luke (see Luke 1:46-55; 4:16-21; 6:20-26; 16:1-31; et. al.).  The further we read in James, the more parallels we'll discover to the thinking and teaching of his famous brother. 

So, right off the bat, James establishes that God comes down on the side of and in the meagre camp of the so-called "poor."  For in God's economy those who appear down and out soon will be up and coming, while the unrepentant rich cruise ahead without thought of the fall or "equity adjustment" on its way. 

James:  a radical word, but an important and timely word for today.  

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Beyond any "fix": Driving toward understanding

Fixing Things

The trouble with people is that they’re busy fixing things they don’t even understand. We’re always fixing things, aren’t we? It never strikes us that things don’t need to be fixed. They really don’t. This is a great illumination. They need to be understood. If you understood them, they’d change.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

"A Night to Remember" for sure!!!


Dear fellow CitySquare supporters,

What A Night to Remember this has already been! Since mid-May, we've already sold out of public tickets and are well on our way to reaching our goal of raising $1 million to support CitySquare programs and its fight against poverty. Luckily, we've saved the best seats for sponsors like you!
Please visit the website to learn more about sponsorship opportunities. We look forward to seeing you there!
For our city,
Cindy & Scott Collier and Kara & Ross Miller
Co-Chairs, A Night to Remember 2015
CitySquare 511 N Akard Street, Suite 302 | Dallas, TX | 75201
P: 214.823.8710  |  F: 214.824.5355  |  Email:

Privacy Policy  |  Email Preferences © 2013 CitySquare

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Remarks made at Paul Quinn Commencement 2015

Paul Quinn College
Commencement Ceremonies
Saturday, May 2, 2015

 Introduction and thanks

·        Dr. Sorrell, esteemed faculty, alumni and Class of 2015!—what an honor it is for me to be with you today, your day of great achievement and celebration!

·        I bring you fond greetings from CitySquare!  We feel so connected to you via our AmeriCorps program and Service Works VISTA. . .beyond that Paul Quinn has gone above and beyond to support the Mayor’s Task Force on Poverty over the past year—all of which makes us grateful for all of you.

·        A word of personal privilege here:  I love your President!  He works harder than anyone I know; he is a gentle, encouraging soul, with steel in his backbone! 

Don’t mess with his students or his faculty! 

 He is an effective leader in our city.  From the location of trash dumps to the creation of an amazing urban farm—the “WE over me” farming enterprise, your President has led Paul Quinn College in such a manner and style that you all make a statement every day about “nation building”! 

He has been a leader in resisting easy accommodation while moving on to community building based on honest, clear dialog. 
·        As students and members of the “Quinnite Nation,” you have accomplished something very special:  you have finished the course with diligence, integrity and excellence.  You should feel very proud today, for that is how all of us feel about you and your achievements.  We salute you and we seek to honor you!

Big Idea:  It’s a good thing you are so well-prepared today, because our city and our nation and our world need you, your vision, your hard work and your courage possibly as never before!
1.      You’ve noticed, haven’t you, that as a people we are facing a few problems today!

·        From Trayvon Martin to Eric Garner to Levar Jones to Michael Brown to Freddie Gray (this is just a few of the scores and scores of similar cases): US law enforcement officers are killing our brothers and sisters without cause and in grave haste. 

·        Young black men are shot dead by police at 21 times the rate of young white men.  Sunday School at the Central Dallas Church—classes on how to handle police encounters! 

·        Wise persons understand that the seething anger, resentment and  hopelessness that exploded this past week in riots in Baltimore has been a long time coming. 
·        Consider just a few of the harsh “facts of life” in America today: 

a.     The net worth of the average Black family in U. S. today is $6,314; for white households it’s $110,500. 

b.    U. S. has greater wealth gap by race than South Africa did during apartheid—whites earn 18 times as much as African Americans; in S. Africa in 1970 the ration was 15 to 1. 

c.      The black-white income gap is 40% greater today than in 1967. 

d.    A black male born today in the U. S. has a life expectancy 5 years shorter than a white male. 

e.      The “war on drugs” has failed if the intention was to end the use of drugs; instead it has led to mass incarceration—black men in their 20s w/o a high school diploma are more likely to be incarcerated than employed; nearly 70% of middle-aged black men who never graduated high school have been imprisoned!  The U. S. imprisons a higher % of its black population than South Africa did during apartheid.   

f.      Following the horror of 9/11, Pamela Cantor, a child psychiatrist studied the impact of the terror attack on NYC public school children—the findings were amazing:  they found evidence of trauma, but not from the attack—20% experienced a full-blown psychiatric disorder and 68% had experienced trauma sufficient to impair their functioning at school. 

The source of the trauma:  neighborhoods surrounding the poorest inner city schools—violence, inadequate housing, sudden family loss, parents with depression/addictions, etc.  

g.     The data in Dallas is worse than Baltimore: 38% of our kids live in poverty; the unemployment rate in southern Dallas is over 14% compared to 4% city wide; and it’s worse in concentrated areas of poverty.   

h.    I was moved by the words of one young gang member in Baltimore as he spoke to older African American leaders, “You don’t understand our struggle; our struggle is different from your struggle; we don’t Dr. King or Malcolm.  Our struggle is different.”

Nicholas Kristof put it correctly this week: The real crisis isn’t one night of young men in the street rioting. It’s something perhaps even more inexcusable — our own complacency at the systematic long-term denial of equal opportunity to people based on their skin color and ZIP code.

Just what you want to hear on this day of celebration, right?   

But, the fact is, your time has come!  You’re at the front of the leadership line!  We turn to you to lead the battle for justice, reform and a better functioning democracy.  It is your time!   

2.      So what do you do?  What will your consider as your plan of action to redeem the nation once again?

a.      Embrace risk and failure—it’s the only way anything changes!

--Rosa Parks

--Cesar Chavez

--Martin Luther King, Jr.

--Malcolm X

--Richard Allen

--Fall in love with swinging for the fence without regard for success 

b.    Engage your life in the transformation of the world—get involved!

--Never sit out an election.

--Go to town hall meetings.

--Write Op-Ed pieces.

--Insist on accountability in your life and in the lives of those who lead you.

--Mentor a child.

--Raise a child.

--Model for us all. 

c.       Energize your soul.

--Continue learning—lifelong learners.

--Continue what you’ve begun here:  grow, lead, reflect, exercise and battle.

--Establish “improbable friendships.”

--Bust the status quo.

--Dream daily.

--Find time to be quiet. 

--Live the 4 Ls of Paul Quinn College:

                   Leave places better than you found them.

                   Lead from wherever you are.

                   Live a life that matters.

                   Love something greater than yourself. 

d.     Empty your treasure chest; pour it all out as your offering to the betterment and beauty of God’s world.

--Invest in brokenness and in great possibilities.

--Stand up for those on the margins.

--Give life all you’ve got and you’ll be a world changer a day at a time.

--As Warrant Buffett said, “Predicting rain doesn’t count.  Building arks does.” 


1.      I love this from James Broughton
Little Sermons of the Big Joy   Easter Exultet

Shake out your qualms.
Shake up your dreams.
Deepen your roots.
Extend your branches.
Trust deep water
and head for the open,
even if your vision
shipwrecks you.
Quit your addiction
to sneer and complain.
Open a lookout.
Dance on a brink.
Run with your wildfire.
You are closer to glory
leaping an abyss
than upholstering a rut.
Not dawdling.
Not doubting.
Intrepid all the way
Walk toward clarity.
At every crossroad
Be prepared
to bump into wonder.
Only love prevails.
En route to disaster
insist on canticles.
Lift your ineffable
out of the mundane.
Nothing perishes;
nothing survives;
everything transforms!
Honeymoon with Big Joy!

2.      Now go, Quinnite nation and transform the world everywhere you touch it!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Second Chances!

Several months ago members of the Dallas Community Prosecutors team met with us here at CitySquare to discuss a revolutionary new program for Dallas.  The "Top Offenders Program" included several key components. 

First, law enforcement identified the really "bad guys" in the target neighborhood.  In the community we focused on there were 5 hardened, violent criminals that ran the drug trade.  The police arrested them.  All five are under federal indictment and on their way to long prison terms.  Since their arrest, crime in the neighborhood has decreased by 63%!

Second, the community prosecutors organized a "call in."  Functioning much like an intervention on an alcoholic or drug addict, the meeting involved parents, grandparents, friends, teachers, ministers, children and others.  Invited to these "call in" sessions are the underlings of the really bad actors.  These are young people who have assisted the hardened criminals in their enterprise. 

The message conveyed clearly and by multiple persons in the community during the meeting, to the invite list is very simple:  "You are done ruining our neighborhood.  And, tonight you have a choice and a chance."

On one side of the room the police stand with a fist full of warrants for the arrest of the beneficiaries of the intervention--the underlings to the bad guys. 

On the other side of the room stand case managers from CitySquare who are present to begin a relationship of renewal and second chances. 

The choice is forced, but must be made.  Go with the police or go with caring people who are devoted to seeing you rebound and experience a fresh start, including the clearing of all criminal records to date. The entire process is overseen and managed by a criminal court and the judges who sit at these benches of justice and order.

So far the numbers are still small, but it's working as these photos of recent "graduate" of the program, Uniqua Johnson reflect!