Thursday, April 26, 2007

Prayer Breakfast

I couldn't have said it better myself!...Wyshina, my friend and co-worker, a parent of two, and the coordinator of our After-School Academy, was the testimonial speaker at our Central Dallas Prayer Breakfast this morning. She did an absolutely amazing job. Read what she had to say:

My name is Wyshina Harris and I am a resident of South Dallas. I have two kids--a 10-year old daughter and a 5-year old son.

I want South Dallas to become a place where I don't have to worry about my kids' safety every day. We see violence and drug dealing all around us. We hear gunshots fired regularly. My kids still get scared when they hear the gunshots. I don't want my kids to get over being scared of that. Kids aren't supposed to get used to hearing gunfire outside their front door.

There are as many liquor stores as churches in South Dallas. I'd like to see that change. We need a decent grocery store, clothing store, and gas station. It's hard to travel all the way to North Dallas to buy a decent pair of sneakers for my kids.

My kids go to H.S. Thompson Elementary. When people outside of the neighborhood find out where my kids go to school, they say, "Oh my gosh. You let your kids go to school there?!" Well, what's my alternative?! That's the neighborhood school. I can't afford private school for my kids. Our school needs good teachers and counselors who will fight to get kids on par with their grade level rather than sticking them into slow learning classes. We need resources to enable our kids to learn technology and to explore the arts. We can't allow our schools to set our kids up to fail.

I will tell you that there are a lot of things that need fixing in our neighborhood. I will also tell you that there is a lot of hope and a lot of strength in our neighborhood.

I think sometimes people think that people in poverty are just too lazy to pull themselves out. That isn't true. My neighbors talk to me about desperately wanting to find work and wanting to go to school to change their lives. We want the same things for ourselves and our children that you want for yourselves and your children.

I'm not giving up on South Dallas. I ask that you not give up on South Dallas either. We don't need a handout. We need authentic, impactful partnerships to help us solve these issues.

I don't share this with you today because I want your pity. I share this because I want your partnership. I want to work with you, and with the future mayor of our great city, to make Dallas a better place for all of us.

Thank you for listening.

I am proud to know Wyshina and I am grateful for her friendship.

Wyshina (and others) are doing things in their community to make it a better place. But people like Wyshina can't do it alone. Wyshina asked for partnership..."I want to work with you..." is what she said. Wyshina is willing to work with. She did not ask for a group of 40 volunteers to come pick up trash out of her yard. She didn't ask for a youth group to come and play with her kids for the day. Wyshina mentioned much larger issues. Shootings. Leaving kids behind educationally. Lack of places to shop. Rampant liquor stores all around.

Help me partner with Wyshina. She knows what's needed and she has told us. Let's not ignore hers and others' requests because we have other ideas about the best ways to help people in the inner city. Wyshina lives there. She knows. Let's start paying attention.


On our table were notecards guiding us to pray for critical issues around our city. Below were the ones on our table. Please pray...and then act...

Today, we can choose to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors in Dallas. Pray for our City.

Tonight in Dallas, someone is needlessly suffering from the effects of diabetes due to a lack of insurance. Pray for our City.

Tonight in Dallas, men, women, and children will sleep on the stsreets or in a shelter. Pray for our City.

Tonight in Dallas, children will go to bed hungry because their families cannot afford food. Pray for our City.
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