Downwinders And Southern Sector Rising Awarded Communities Foundation Grant for “forwardDallas!” Zoning Reform Campaign

by jim on December 10, 2019

An important part of Downwinders’ 2020 agenda got a big boost this last month when we learned we’d received a $20,000 Communities Foundation of Texas grant to take on Dallas’ environmentally unsound and racist zoning as part City Hall’s upcoming “forwardDallas!” land planning process.

Touted as a meeting-intensive opportunity to reshape Dallas neighborhoods by the residents who live in them, the last time the city went through “forwardDallas!” was also its first time, in 2006.

With our allies at the Southern Sector Rising Campaign for Environmental Justice, we proposed to use this new round of planning to reverse dangerously obsolete zoning in Southern Dallas where polluters are operating next door to homes, especially in predominantly black and brown neighborhoods like Joppa and West Dallas.

Employing the on-going Shingle Mountain scandal as a rallying cry, both groups see an opportunity to win real environmental justice progress if neighborhoods can be mobilized. Toward that end we’ll be engaging residents with door-to-door canvassing, neighborhood meetings, and appointments with officials from Pleasant Grove to West Dallas. Thanks to the Communities Foundation, we’ll be able to devote a sizable amount of resources to this campaign.

Working in our favor is the expertise of the recently-named “forwardDallas!” Chair District 11 Plan Commission Jaynie Schultz. Ms. Schultz earned an MA in Urban Studies from UTA, is Chair of the Plan Commission’s Urban Design Committee, and most importantly for this new assignment has been on the Plan Commission since 2014 consistently opposing the default dumping of new polluters in Southern Dallas in one battle after another.

Although this grant was written in part to help provide salary to our lone staff person, we’d really like to use the whole thing for program work. We can only do that if folks such as yourself respond with End-of-Year contributions and help us raise the $5-10,000 we need to pay the region’s only full time environmental community organizer.

Having the endorsement of the Communities Foundation is a huge plus for our local fundraising efforts and we’re very appreciative. Having your endorsement is even more important. Please help us stretch this grant. Thanks.


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