Thursday, November 3, 2016

Racism and Homelessness

African Americans make up 13% of the population, both in the U.S. and in Dallas. Across the country, on average, African Americans make up 40% of the homeless population, and 28% of the unsheltered homeless population, which is troubling, in and of itself. However, in Dallas, African Americans make up 67% of the homeless population, and 70% of the unsheltered homeless population! This cannot stand. This cannot continue.

We must and we will tackle this overrepresentation of African Americans in the homeless population. With the help of a generous grant from United Way of Metropolitan Dallas' Unite Dallas Relief Fund, we will do so through a new research and action program from the Center for Social Innovation (C4) titled Racism and Homelessness - Addressing Inequity in 10 American Cities. In the words of C4, "While no single initiative can end structural racism across all systems, we believe," that through this initiative we can, "create positive change in attitudes and behaviors that will begin to close the racial gap that has led to the disproportionate prevalence... of homelessness among African Americans."

The local iteration in each of the 10 cities will be referred to as SPARC (Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities) followed by the city name, hence here in Dallas, SPARC Dallas. C4 staff will spend the week of January 30-February 4, 2017, here in Dallas to launch the yearlong SPARC Dallas program. 

Jeff Olivet, CEO of C4
Jeff Olivet and Marc Dones of C4, who will be leading SPARC Dallas, will be visiting Dallas November 17-18, 2016, to conduct training and facilitate the next installment in our Hard Conversations series, co-sponsored by the Dallas Public Library, which will also be on the subject of Racism and Homelessness.

We hope you will join us for this exciting event on Friday, November  18, 2016, 12.30-2.00pm, in the Auditorium (1st Floor) of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young St., Dallas, Texas 75201. Follow signs to underground parking on Wood St. Coffee and water will be provided. Attendees may bring a brown-bag lunch.

During the last 15 minutes of the Hard Conversation, Jeff and Marc will present a general overview of the SPARC Dallas program, launching next year. Please RSVP to me, David Gruber, if you wish to attend, at 469-222-0047 or

Finally, if you did not have a chance yet, please take the time to read this essay on our blog, which speaks to this important subject, in its larger context: To Bigotry No Sanction, To Persecution No Assistance.  

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