Legacy of Love Monument remains symbol of the community

Legacy of Love

Legacy of Love monument

On the day of the Orlando massacre at the LGBT nightclub Pulse, more than 1,000 people gathered at the new Resource Center for a vigil and then walked silently the 1.9 miles down Cedar Springs Road to the Legacy of Love Monument.

Since its completion in 2005, the Legacy of Love Monument has been the site of numerous protests, remembrances and celebrations.

After the Orlando massacre, it became a memorial site with flowers, notes and other artifacts left to honor the victims.

The Legacy of Love Monument was built by the Oak Lawn Committee through private donations. The organization maintains the monument and the landscaping around it. Over the years, a number of car crashes have done damage that was repaired mostly with insurance money. Graffiti that community members tried to remove ultimately had to cleaned off with an expensive power washing process.

Oak Lawn Committee president Brenda Marks issued a statement asking the community for help and setting up some guidelines for using the monument:

We are truly honored that our entire community has embraced the Legacy of Love Monument at the Oak Lawn Triangle as its own — our gathering place for memorials, tributes and celebrations.

Since designing and completing its construction in 2005, all of which was financed by private donations, the Oak Lawn Committee has worked hard to maintain it for the future, albeit with limited funds 
and many hours of volunteer commitment.  Our goal is to make sure it remains a beautiful symbol of the diversity and spirit of Oak Lawn for many years to come.

With that in mind, we respectfully ask everyone to please refrain from taping things to, and writing on, the Monument.  
If candles are placed at the Monument, please make sure they are in containers that prevent any wax from spilling onto the porous stone.  
Please do not use glass containers, as they tend to crack and splinter into many pieces and become a safety hazard.  
And please remember to pick up anything that you see that doesn’t belong there.  
Your help and understanding is truly appreciated.

Brenda Marks, President
The Oak Lawn Committee
June 20, 2016

—  David Taffet

Jack Evans has died

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Jack Evans, left, and his husband and partner of more than 55 years, George Harris

Jack Evans, 86, better known as half of “Jack and George,” has died. He had been in a rehab facility for several months.

Jack and George celebrated their 55th anniversary in February. They were the first couple married in Dallas County and their picture was featured on the front page of newspapers around the world a year ago this weekend after the marriage equality ruling.

Jack and George helped found many of Dallas’ LGBT organizations. Most recently, they founded The Dallas Way, the LGBT history project. That project began after telling their story to Dallas Voice before their 50th anniversary.

The couple held a religious marriage ceremony a year before their legal ceremony to protest the Methodist Church’s stand on same-sex marriage.

Jack and George served on the boards of Resource Center, Turtle Creek Chorale and Black Tie Dinner. They were awarded the Kuchling Award for service to the community.

The funeral will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 2 at Northaven United Methodist Church, 11211 Preston Road.

 

A statement from Dallas Mayor Rawlings on the death of Jack Evans.

 

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—  David Taffet

Community leaders meet with Police Chief Brown

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Resource Center CEO Cece Cox talks to reporters Tuesday after meeting with Police Chief David Brown, as Cannon Brown of Stonewall Democrats looks on. (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

Resource Center CEO Cece Cox and a team of six other LGBT community leaders attended a meeting with Dallas Police Chief David Brown this afternoon (Tuesday, May 31) in which the chief “acknowledged that standing up with [anti-LGBT First Baptist Church pastor Robert] Jeffress has harmed the LGBT community,” Cox said.

In mid-April, at a press conference attended by Brown and former Mayor Tom Leppert, Jeffress announced that his church was offering counseling services to Dallas police officers, as well as offering summer camp scholarships — presumably to the First Baptist Chuch camp — to the children of police officers and holding weekly Sunday School classes specifically for officers. The church also honored Brown at an April 17 morning service.

Jeffress is widely known  for his anti-gay sermons and his condemnations of every religion other than his own. The same weekend that Resource Center opened it’s new building, Jeffress made statements declaring transgender-friendly businesses to be a bigger threat than ISIS.

Resource Center officials had asked for a meeting with Brown last week after issuing a statement condemning Jeffress’ anti-trans comments, according to the center’s communications and advocacy manager, Rafael McDonnell. McDonnell said they had received word Saturday that the chief wanted to meet with them, but did not know until about 10 a.m. today that Brown wanted to meet with them this afternoon.

Others attending the meeting were McDonnell, North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tony Vedda, Dallas Gay and Lesbian Association President Patti Fink, Stonewall Democrats President Jay Narey, and Stonewall Democrats board member — and Young Stonewall and Take Back Oak Lawn member — Cannon Brown. City Councilman Adam Medrano was also there.

Cox said about 14 members of Brown’s staff were also present.

Cox said that while “We don’t agree on every single thing that got said today,” she and the other community leaders “felt heard.”

Cox said that while Brown did not agree to “step away” from any association with Jeffress and First Baptist, he did agree to issue a statement acknowledging that he understands how that association could be harmful to the LGBT community.

Cox said Brown told the community leaders that he and the police department as a whole have a responsibility to the entire community, and that it is their job to “ensure everyone has free speech.” He also said that he doesn’t turn down invitations from any segment of the city’s population.

Cox said she and the other community leaders addressed the “18-plus unsolved attacks” that have happened in the Oak Lawn area since last September, and that the chief is committed to solving those crimes, as is the community. The chief and community leaders are also “all committed to continuing the dialog.”

“Oak Lawn has become dangerous in a way it has not been in decades,” Cox said, noting that many community members — for a variety of reasons — are reluctant to report crimes and if they report them, follow through by cooperating with police in the investigation. She said she believes Brown understands that and is committed to addressing those problems.

Cox said Brown acknowledged that the city’s crime rate has been rising, due largely to spikes in crime in Oak Lawn, in domestic violence and in drug-related incidents. He said the police force — which is shrinking in size and is one of the lowest-paid departments in the area — faces a number of barriers in addressing those increases.

“Dallas needs to get with the program and solve some big issues, micro and macro,” Cox said.

Cox said that she and other community leaders are working to find ways to offer resources other than those available through First Baptist, and that Tuesday’s meeting is just the beginning of what needs to be an ongoing dialog.

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Cannon Brown of Stonewall Democrats, Patti Fink of DGLA and Jay Narey of Stonewall Democrats

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North Texas GLBT Chamber President and CEO Tony Vedda speaks to reporters

—  Tammye Nash

DVtv: Resource Center open house, Part 2

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As promised, here is Part 2 of the DVtv coverage of Resource Center’s grand opening/open house on Saturday, May 21. Thanks again to our on-air talent, Brad Pritchett, our camerawoman/editor Haley Richter and DVtv producer Israel Luna.

If you missed Part 1, watch it here.

—  Tammye Nash

DVtv: Resource Center shows off its new building

Part 1

Dallas Voice and DVtv were there Saturday, May 21, when Resource Center opened its gorgeous new facility to the public. You can David Taffet’s photos of the open house here. And watch Part 1 of DVtv’s coverage — that’s right, there was so much goodness it took two videos to cover it all — below.

Then watch Part 2 here.

—  Tammye Nash

New community center opens on Saturday

IMG_8224This is the picture I wanted to use for this week’s cover: Cece jumping for joy over the completion of the new community center.

We chose a different picture because either we lost her jumping or we lost the building. The picture is oblong and the paper is more square. And Cece didn’t want her stomach showing on thousands of copies of the paper distributed across the area.

One thing I didn’t get into the story is the donation wall, just inside the front door. Everyone who contributes to help pay off the remaining $344,000 will get their names on the donation wall. Cox said that they thought of cutting off the list at $100 or $250 or more, but this is a community center, built by the community and every donation is important. So she decided every name of every person (or company or foundation) that contributes belongs there.

Open house is Saturday, May 21 from 10 a.m.-noon. Stonewall Democrats holds a fundraiser and open house on Monday, May 23 from 7-9 p.m. Community groups are encouraged to use the facility. Contact the community center (the number’s the same: 214-528-0144) to reserve space.

Here are some more pictures of the new center:

—  David Taffet

New food pantry open

Food pantryThe new Resource Center Food Pantry is open at 2701 Reagan St. Volunteers stocked shelves on Sunday (May 1) to get the pantry ready to open today.

“Perishable goods should be available next week once refrigeration system is complete,” Resource Center posted on its Facebook page. So perishable items that need to be refrigerated such as eggs, meat or milk are not available yet.

The former food pantry location closed a month ago because the retail center on Denton Drive Cutoff that also included Elliott’s Hardware will be torn down to make way for a so-called “West Village-type” mixed-use development. Resource Center had hoped to keep the former location open until renovations at its new location were complete.

—  David Taffet

Food pantry to remain closed another week

Resource-Center

Color rooms being rebuilt into food pantry

The Resource Center Food Pantry will remain closed at least another week.

Spokesperson Rafael McDonnell said in what center officials had hoped would be a final inspection on Wednesday, April 20, there were a few minor issues remaining. He said those have already been corrected, but the soonest an inspector can schedule another visit is Wednesday, April 27.

“We understand what a burden this has been on our clients,” McDonnell said. “We’re working as quickly as we can and we’ll have an update next week.”

He said the issues were minor, but without the green light from the city, the pantry can’t open.

The food pantry on Denton Drive closed sooner than Resource Center expected. That property is being torn down for redevelopment. The new food pantry is located in the old “color rooms” at the main location at 2701 Reagan St. Resource Center’s headquarters is moving in May to a new building being completed on Cedar Springs at Inwood Road.

If the food pantry gets its permit on April 27, it should be open on May 2.

 

—  David Taffet

Food pantry awaiting inspection to reopen

Resource-Center

Food pantry space under construction last month

The Resource Center Food Pantry is awaiting one final inspection before it can reopen.

The pantryhas  moved from its Denton Drive location to the main Resource Center building at 2701 Reagan St. but hasn’t opened yet as it waits for its final city permit to operate.

“Once we get our permit, we can get the freezer hooked up,” Resource Center spokesman Rafael McDonnell said.

That involved adding  220-current outlets, and that means extra inspections.

McDonnell said dry goods are out and ready for distribution.

If the space does pass inspection tomorrow (Wednesday, April 20), the pantry should reopen for business on Monday, April 25.

The hot meals program, which takes place in the building next door to the main space, has continued serving meals uninterrupted. The center lost its space on Denton Drive sooner than it expected.

—  David Taffet

Resource Center receives two major gifts toward capital campaign

Resource CenterTwo major gifts to Resource Center’s capital campaign have put it one step closer to completing its fundraising goal.

The Louis L. Borick Foundation of Houston has donated $300,000 and the Moody Foundation of Galveston has donated $500,000, putting the campaign just $400,000 shy of its $8.7 million goal.

The capital campaign allows for new and expanded LGBT in a new community center currently under construction near the intersection of Cedar Springs and Inwood roads. The Reagan and Brown office and community space is currently undergoing remodeling improvements to consolidate HIV services, nutrition services and the food pantry.

The new community center is scheduled to open later this spring.

“Resource Center is here to meet the unique and growing needs of the LGBT and HIV communities. The generous investments from both The Borick Foundation and Moody Foundation moves us closer to ensuring that LGBT youth have a space free from bullying, that families and seniors are supported, and that persons living with HIV are cared for,” Resource Center CEO Cece Cox said in a statement.

Jamie Williams, North Texas regional grants director for the Moody Foundation, said Resource Center’s contributions to the community are vital to the LGBT community. “The Moody Foundation is pleased to support the Resource Center and its many wonderful programs which are vital to the wellbeing of our community,” Williams said.

The new gifts mean the Center has raised $8.3 million of the $8.7 million it needs. The campaign will go public this summer and will conclude December 2016.

—  James Russell