By Vincent L. Hall
“Do we have the intelligence, humor, imagination, courage, tolerance, love, respect, and will to meet the challenge?
Time will tell. None of us alone…can save the nation or world. But each of us can make a positive difference if we commit ourselves to do so.”
—Cornel West, Race Matters
This is the fourth and final installment in this protest series, “The Warrior Model.” No one, as my dear Brother Cornel West has said, can save the nation of the world. However, my commitment to making a positive difference has been lifelong and enlightening. Week one, we dealt with the difference between rallies and sustained protests. In other words, one hit does not a fix make. Then it was “Organic and Organized.” The thrust was that movements should stir from the ground to the mound, and the surge must be symmetrical. Thirdly, my caveat was to “Take a Knee.” The spirituality that drives you to the protest line can keep you safe and sane.
Lastly, you must remember and never forget that size does matter. There are two things I know about life in Maya Angelou’s “Yet to be United States.” Race matters and size does too. Any of the Warriors can attest that our most significant breakthrough came via a Dallas Morning News article that broke in the mid-1990s. The City Council and DPD needed to do something about John Wiley Price and the Warriors. The meat of the matter was that when the receipts were tallied, and the numbers were in, the Warriors had cost the City of Dallas $1,000,000 in police overtime, tactical preparedness, and other residuals. Hint: Your oppressors don’t give a damn how many times you march around that wall until it becomes costly to their bottom line. The “Empire” will always strike back, but there are some monetary limitations.
Size matters because if you mount a movement, every iota of data that you can scrape up lends a significant hand to your stated goals. Showing up and listening to some “midnight militant” spit hatred through a bullhorn is baseless. You cannot engage, enact, or negotiate any cause without the requisite stats. During our fight against the Dallas Police Department, we did some data mining. We knew how many minorities and women were on the force and at each ranking. We knew how their salaries ranked against White men in the same rank. We knew who the real Rednecks were, and we searched out and publicly taunted every Uncle Tom!
We knew DPD had roughly 2400 in its employ and how many were commissioned law enforcement officers. We knew how many were behind desks and how many were on patrol. We knew by substation how many officers reported per shift and their report times. We knew there were never more than about 360 officers on the streets of Dallas at one time. Our New Year’s Day protest at the 1993 Cotton Bowl game was a double whammy. Lorenzo Gray led the chant. “Welcome to Dallas. Have you heard, Dallas is just like Johannesburg.”
Not only did 50 of us cause the city to bring in more officers, but also we showed the world that Dallas was still the hub of racial hatred and animus. Those Notre Dame fans were in shock. We hit the pocketbook and the image simultaneously. In America, size matters because money matters! The call for the reallocation of resources (aka Defund the Police, aka a lousy choice of words) requires that we understand the size of the problem and potential cures in our urban centers. Policing models have been stretched past crime to social services
Dallas County, pre-pandemic, played host to almost 6,000 people weekly at the Lew Sterrett Justice Center. Our daily jail population is bigger than 90% of the towns and hamlets in Texas. More than 40% of those inmates require prescription drugs. A little under 30% have mental issues. Juvenile facilities, intense counseling, and re-entry services are underfunded by the tens of millions. Race Matters, Size Matters, and Black Lives Matter, no matter what that “Whipcracker” in the White House says.