Conversations with our community

The Dallas Examiner | 4/7/2014, 9:30 a.m.

The Dallas Examiner

The Dallas Examiner presented the first in a series of Community Conversations at the African American Museum at Fair Park on Monday night. Prior to the Conversation, a reception was held for sponsors and panelists to mix and mingle.

The topic of the conversation was “Bridging the Generation Gap.” Panelists were Dr. Michael Waters, Wil Murphy and Mollie Belt. The moderator was Casey Thomas.

All three panelists made references to our history as African Americans, specifically, the Civil Rights Movement and the gains we received as a result of it. They discussed what the next step is and how we get to it.

The speakers and the audience agreed that the gap does exist, as well as the need for us to bridge the gap so that issues in our community can be addressed and solved.

There was an active conversation between the audience and panelists. The discussion ranged from education to politics and improvements that need to be made in the community and how each generation needs to work together to prepare the older generation to pass the torch to the next.

Several generations were represented in the audience. It was the first time so many people from Generation X were present and very vocal at a forum held by The Dallas Examiner. Some attendees in their 20s and 30s talked about not feeling invited to the table and being unsure of how to get there, while others stated that they had plans of taking a leadership role in the future – when they were more financially stable and/or their small children are older.

There was also concern that some leaders in the Black community weren’t ready to hand over control of their office or position to a younger generation with different ideas. One attendee shared a heart-felt exchange regarding his concerns when it came to voting when it seems politicians aren’t working on behalf of the community in which he resided.

While many seemed to understand his feelings on the issue and some agreed that more could and should be done to help predominantly minority communities as much as predominantly White communities receive help, it was still noted that so many died for Blacks to have the right to vote without barriers, being threatened or being killed. It was also stated that it is up to the community to hold politicians accountable once they are elected and voters have the right to insist their representatives work in favor of the people. It is their job to serve those who elected them. Furthermore, it was suggested that young adults could run for an office that they feel needs change.

As the conversation came to a close, speakers discussed what they were doing to continue the conversation, help bridge the gap, and help prepare the younger generation. Various audience members also offered their thoughts on possible solutions and/or what their organizations were doing for youth or young adults.

The Dallas Examiner would not be able to present these forums without the help of our sponsors. Our sponsors for the forums include: the NAACP Dallas Chapter, the Urban League of Greater Dallas, the Urban League of Greater Dallas Young Professionals, Dallas Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Metropolitan Dallas Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Alpha Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Dallas Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Inc., Dallas Association of Realtists, Dallas Pan-Hellenic Council, Theta Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc., Omicron Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the African American Museum.

We encourage you to become a part of the conversation.

The next Community Conversation will be April 28. The topic will be about turning Dallas Independent School District into a home rule charter. There will be panelists for and against home rule and the panelists will be able to present to the audience facts on both sides. All Community Conversations will be held at the African American Museum at Fair Park from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

We want to hear from you. Send your letters to mbelt@dallasexaminer.com.