“One Block At a Time” Vision Improving South Dallas Neighborhoods

Story By: Darwin Campbell, African-American News&Issues

Neighborhood Improvement in South Dallas
Neighborhood Improvement in South Dallas

When Dallas District 4 Councilman Dwaine Caraway took office, he had a vision – To clean up and improve neighborhoods, not only in his district, but also all of South Dallas.
Years later, that dream is becoming a reality as the vision is gaining momentum. “One Block at a Time” has been a great success so far,” Caraway said. “I am pleased with the progress and commitment on the part of citizens who participate and support it.” The initiative in District 4, started with the idea to gather and work with members of the community to clean up crime trouble spots and remove blight from our neighborhoods. Caraway made good on his promise and immediately went to work to remove drug houses and drug dealers, get abandoned houses demolished  and cleaned up and work actively with police to attack crime at car washes and convenience stores.

He represents Council District 4. He was elected to that position in 2007. The Council elected him to Deputy Mayor Pro Tem in 2007 and Mayor Pro Tem in 2009. In 2011, he became mayor when the previous mayor, Tom Leppert resigned. Caraway stresses that neighborhood and civic involvement is an ongoing mission, not something that is done only when elections take place. According to him, his only motivation is to have a hands on working approach to making the district and city safer and better. Born and raised in Dallas, he has lived in his Council District for decades, he is a graduate of Roosevelt High School and attended Texas Southern University. He is the owner of The Profile Group, an advertising and consulting company. “People started off skeptical at first because it seemed like the job was too big and could not be done,” he said. “The more they saw, the more hope they saw and believed.” Since the start of the program, crime and drug activity is on the decrease as the clean push continues and interest in economic development of South Dallas and southern sector areas is getting more attention.

Some of the most improved areas include the Lancaster corridor, Oak Cliff and parts of South Dallas. “We have made a dent in the problem,” he said. “Our largest hurdle is getting more people to buy to the vision so that we can get to where we would like things to be.” Caraway is no stranger to shaking things up in Dallas or around the country. He is the councilman who started the “Pull ’em Up” campaign to get young African-American youth to not sag and pull up their pants. The law sparked national attention for his his efforts to work to teach young men self respect. The councilman also has hosted dozens of teen summits at City Hall – all with positive themes – to make sure our youth get on a path to success and prosperity. He was also instrumental in forming the Dallas Youth Council so our young citizens maintained their voice and connection to city government.

He created gun buy back programs, one jointly with Fort Worth that successfully took 300 guns off the streets of Dallas.  Grading his efforts to build pride in neighborhoods, Caraway gives the cooperative improvements an A-grade, but only a C-grade for complete progress. “We may be pleased, but not satisfied,” he said. “There is room for improvement and I will not rest a day until the rest of the work is done.” Caraway said he welcomes any other new ideas from residents that will help make the district improve. “Anyone may contact my office with any concerns, ideas or suggestions they have,” he said. “Together, we can make the district a better place to live and raise our families.”