Miles of Freedom celebrated 10 years of service to individuals and families who have been impacted by incarceration. Bridging the gap, this year’s theme is “From Prison to Promise.” The event was held at the Arts District Mansion, located at 2101 Ross Ave., Dallas. The celebration included a seated dinner, music, and reception. The guests were dressed to impress.
Richard Miles is the Founder of Miles of Freedom. He has walked the walk of the ex-offender. He has felt the burden of the label “ex-offender”, and for those reasons, creating this organization became his driving force. By founding Miles of Freedom, his dream became a reality to help others reach their promise and protect them against recidivism. The organization is now reaching out to help others come home, and in fact, tell them “welcome home.” Most importantly, it knows that housing, employment, and the opportunity to regain dignity and humanity are crucial to rebuilding lives. Miles gave his thanks saying, “The Miles of Freedom Family extends a gracious Thank you for your unwavering support.” “And to everyone that came out, donated, and participated in the silent auction we are forever indebted to you for your support.”
Mayor Eric Johnson on Monday named Lynn McBee as his Workforce Czar to help “boost upskilling efforts,” which he says is a top mayoral priority.McBee will be responsible for helping to implement the recommendations from the new report, Upskilling Dallas: How to Modernize the City’s Workforce for the Jobs of Tomorrow.McBee ran for mayor of the city of Dallas and has known Mayor Johnson for 15 years. As Workforce Czar, she will be responsible for building and executing strategies to implement the report’s recommendations, including establishing formal agreements with existing workforce development organizations, such as Dallas College, Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas, and other providers. “I’m excited to work with Mayor Johnson on this issue that’s so important to our city, our families and our future,” said McBee. “Workforce development will not only lift families and communities and create more opportunity and growth, but it also addresses equity, it’s a step forward in eliminating racial barriers, and it’s key to ending systemic cycles of poverty.” .
Dallas City Council member Casey Thomas II said his District has among the city’s lowest crime rates, largely because of a collaboration between his office and the Citizens Safety Advisory Committee.
“We’re not just going to complain about the issues, we are going to come together as a neighborhood and have monthly meetings with (Dallas Police) Chief Eddie Garcia,” Thomas said, as he talked about the negative perceptions of his district.
Thomas spoke about crime, housing, and food desert, among other issues during his “State of District 3” address, Thursday at the Thurgood Marshall Recreation Center.
The four-term council member also focused on the district’s successes – and challenges – including the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Thomas said the city would combat rising infection rates and control the spread of the Coronavirus by offering COVID-19 testing beginning Tuesday, Jan. 11, at the Thurgood Marshall Recreation Center, 5150 Mark Trail Way, in Dallas. Testing will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays, he said.
According to Thomas, the pandemic had forced city leaders to become creative with communicating and disseminating information on health and safety issues.
Thomas also updated residents on existing and future projects and outlined goals for the District.
Tune in to the broadcast on the Texas Metro News’ Facebook page.
Inroads, a non-profit organization that creates pathways to careers for ethnically diverse high school and college students across the country is positioning graduates to advance in their careers and help employers foster diverse and inclusive workplaces.
Christopher Plumlee is the president of Elevate Strategy Group and he sits on the board of One Man’s Treasure and he invited the DFW Inroads alumni for a meet up at Distinctive Vines Wine Lounge to “learn about a great mission, hang out with some old, dear friends and meet some new and great friends.”
Jennifer Clubb, Executive Director of One Man’s Treasure, said they seeks to empower men recently released from prison, who come to the Dallas and Fort Worth area, by providing them with clothing and opportunities for networking.
Ms. Clubb told the group that when a man is released from a Texas prison he is given four items: a used pair of pants, a used shirt, $50, and a bus ticket. When he attends his first meeting with his parole officer, he is given another $50. If he has served all his sentence of imprisonment, he receives $100, in addition to the clothing and bus ticket.
There are many ways to get involved with One Man’s Treasure by volunteering, hosting a clothing drive, giving a financial gift and becoming a shepherd. Visit the website: www.onemantr.org For more information, contact Jennifer Clubb at 1-888-433-9826.
National Night Out was hosted by Dallas City Councilwoman Carolyn King Arnold District 4 at Beckley Saner Recreation Center. Councilwoman Arnold invited HOA’s, Crime Watch Groups, and Neighborhood Associations in the community to a socially distant night out.
There were vendors, Wingfield’s Burgers & Wings & Fries and LaCabanita Taquizas served the community free Burgers and Tacos. DPD, Dallas County Constables, Elected Officials, Rep. Carl O. Sherman, Sr. D-Dist. 109, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown, Rep. Toni Rose D-Dist. 110 and Justice of the Peace Judge Thomas G. Jones Precinct 1 Place 1. Other vendors included J. Alexander Law Firm, several Departments from the City of Dallas, Code Compliance Services, Veterans Treatment Court, Public Works, 311, Youth Commission and Dallas Cred.
The COVID-19 Vaccine was also available to those who weren’t vaccinated. The event also, included music from a live Jazz Band. Councilwoman Arnold wore a tee-shirt that said “Dallas City #365 Safe and the theme for the event was “Together, we are making communities safer, more caring places to live and work.”
Maria McGee Lockett is a multi-faceted woman: She’s an entrepreneur, accountant and a licensed ordained minister and for more than three decades she has prepared individual and business tax returns in Dallas.
There’s more. She operates a tax school where she trains students how to prepare returns and to open their own tax businesses. Dubbed the “Tax Expert,” Lockett stopped in on From Marva with Love to talk about business expansion, the pandemic – and her ministry.
MS: Tell us about your background and how you became the tax expert?
ML: About November of 1988, which is back before many were born, God blessed me with a business. At the time, he gave me the name Hughes Networking and I had no idea in 1988 what networking meant.
I was a wife and a mother, and I had no idea, but I wrote it all down. I began to do it and I started with tax preparation. It was a gift. I have a gift of detail and I’m also an accountant.
With that, I started doing it for pennies. I got certified in tax preparation. I began my business and that’s been over 33 years ago.
MS: How has your business been affected by the pandemic?
ML: About five months after I opened my new office, the pandemic hit. I didn’t have to shut it down, but I shut it down for a little while. I didn’t do face-to-face appointments. I do tax preparations; I have a tax school and (I do) credit repair for my clients.
MS: You are very passionate about helping people. What is the lesson that you want them to know about the best way to have their taxes done?
ML: That’s an excellent question. The rule of thumb is you want to break even. It’s not about getting money back at the end of the year. Unfortunately, tax laws change every single year. So, if you got credit for this year, you may not next year.
They may kick the whole thing out. I say, ‘Get your money now.’
There was so much more to our conversation about taxes, entrepreneurship and ministry.
As the Yearbook Chair for the Beaver Technology Center’s PTA in Garland, TX, Tevis Diaz is passionate about preserving memories for the students, in spite of COVID-19.
While students are living through the pandemic, which is a reality they could never have imagined, Diaz is concentrating on capturing significant memories, just as she did when she was editor of her high school yearbook.
“It was so important for me to capture those memories this year,” said Diaz, as she talked about the challenges with remote learning.
Working with the PTA is something she loves doing and for theist eight years, this mother has devoted her time and resources with the help of TreeRing, a technology company that offers high-quality yearbooks, to create the yearbooks at Beaver Tech. Then she joined the TreeRing team parttime in January of this year.
Diaz said she has kept the yearbook tradition alive by capturing pandemic-related photos. “This will be the yearbook that these kids will show their grandkids, telling them story after story about how unique of an experience it has been,” she said. “Challenging, for sure, but unique.”
In an interview she shared her story:
MS: Tevis, tell us about the yearbook you created for Beaver and what makes it different?
TD: You know like you, I didn’t have a yearbook in Elementary School. I have been creating yearbooks for the students for eight years. Four years ago I started working with a company TreeRing which allows me to make customized yearbooks. The students get to make their book a special yearbook with those memories to share. This year was probably the hardest yearbook I have ever made. Knowing how important it was to capture this year for them, just kept me going.
MS: What types of pictures will be in the yearbook and will it show the kids with their masks on?
TD: What’s so interesting is pretty much every picture from the school has kids with masks on and face shields. We had 60% of the kids remote learning so there is a blend of pictures with the children at school with masks and pictures of them at home at their dining room tables without masks on. The mix of pictures from school and remote learners tells the real story of this year. Trying to capture everything was a challenge, but it was fun, and my favorite book that I ever made.
MS: Elementary kids love their teachers. How difficult was it to develop those relationships during COVID?
TD: I think that’s an interesting question. I have been at the school for five years and I developed relationships with the kids. I gravitate to the kids and a lot of them know me. I spend almost the entire day on campus as a full time PTA Mom. Being remote this year, it was a struggle for me to stay connected with the school. I don’t feel like I ever disconnected from the kids. I can’t wait for the kids to see the books to see themselves on the pages of this yearbook….
On a recent From Marva with Love, I talked to Erica Molett, owner of Banneky.com, a Dallas-based educational technology platform that teaches STEM concepts such as gaming, coding and Esports to young learners from underrepresented communities.
Erica told us about her new partnership with Microsoft and Warner Bros. in which she will host FIND YOUR SEAT: In Tech, Gaming & Entertainment, a virtual event where students were introduced to coding tools and a new curriculum inspired by the soon-to-be- released film Space Jam: A New Legacy.
The six-hour free event was held from noon to 6 p.m. June 26th on Twitch and included panel discussions and live chats. Students will meet some of the top gamers in the country.
What an accomplishment for Erica, an African American technology founder and mother of two sons, to have partnered with Microsoft, Warner Bros., and Space Jam: A New Legacy, which hits theaters and HBO MAX July16.
MS: Erica you are an entrepreneur. Will you share with us your background?
EM: I’m a mom of two boys, 13 and 15. I lead with that because most of my entrepreneurship in the last year and a half has been focused on them. Before that, my background was in commercial banking and investments. I worked for the big banks. I worked in economic development for the City of Dallas as well as for the City of Cedar Hill. In 2017, I decided to go out on my own and start a consulting firm. We do workforce and economic development and we are still doing that to this day. In 2019, I started a non- profit called Beyond the Ball to focus on my older son who is so obsessed with basketball that I needed him to see that there were other options in case he didn’t go on to be a part of that two percent that actually made it to the NBA. So, that’s why I created the non-profit – to expose him and other kids around the country, primarily our young Black boys, who are often distracted in class because they are focused on their hoop dreams – to expose them to all the other careers that exist in the sports world.
EM: Banneky.com is an education tech platform hyper-focused on middle and high school students who love art, sports and gaming. Our multimedia and gamified platform connects the dots between their passions, their classrooms and their future careers while helping our brilliant kids to lean in and love learning and continue to do that in areas that matter to them.
There was so much more to my interview with Erica Molett!
Left: Vendors and Shoppers enjoying the Black Heritage Celebration Right: Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority enjoying the ZimSculpt Sculptures
Story and Photos By Marva J. Sneed
It was a beautiful, exciting event for all as the Dallas Arboretum presented the return of the international blockbuster exhibit ZimSculpt, a worldirenowned collection of handselected, modern Zimbabwean stone sculptures, at the first-ever Black Heritage Celebration, last weekend.
It’s the signature event of Summer at the Arboretum and ZimSculpt runs through August 8, featuring the talent of several contemporary Zimbabwean artists with more than 100 hand -selected, exquisite sculptures on display.
The Black Heritage Celebration opened with a performance by the St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church choir. Special features of the day included the Black-Owned Businesses Fair presented by the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce and Dallas Mavericks.
Dallas Arboretum presents the ZimSculpt Zimbabwean stone sculptures
All eyes were glued to the runway, for the fashion show, the Crown Jewel Fashion Experience, which was presented by Mary Kay Cosmetics. There were 10 Black designers showcasing their women and men fashions. Produced by entrepreneur, model, and philanthropist Anita Hawkins and under the direction of Willie Johnson, of J3 Productions; the show was exquisite.
The ZimSculpt is an exhibit worth seeing. Dallas Arboretum, and Botanical Garden, 8525 Garland Rd. Dallas, TX 75218. Reserve your tickets www.dallasarboretum.org.