What could police reform in Dallas look like?
Tomorrow night — Wednesday, June 6th — black and Latino theaters are hosting a virtual Q&A to find out. The guests are three members of the committee that devised a 10-point plan for police reform. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins tasked community leaders with proposing it. The plan includes such demands as increasing police accountability and discontinuing the deportation of immigrants with ICE. But it would also free officers from being the first responders for mental health calls.
As with many other ideas in the document, “Ten New Directions for Public Safety and Positive Community Change,” the mental health proposal would involve redirecting some of the funding for the police department to increased community services, such as mental health care.
David Lozano is the director of Cara Mia Theatre Company. They’re sponsoring the public interview with the Bishop Arts Theatre Center, Soul Rep Theatre Company and Teatro Dallas. Lozano says theater artists being involved in this civic controversy at this level makes perfect sense.
“The protesters that we were seeing on the streets are our colleagues and our friends,” he says. “And the people that have been fighting for the reform of police are our patrons at our theaters. So the conversation is very nuanced, and in the current climate where the political rhetoric is extreme on several sides, it’s an opportunity for us to hear the nuts and bolts of their plan for police reform.”
As an example of this personal-theatrical-political connection, Lozano cites John Fullinwider — one of the speakers, along with Sara Mokuria, from Mothers Against Police Brutality (MAPB). Fullinwider is president of the board of Teatro Dallas. The third speaker is Rev. Dr. Frederick Haynes III, the pastor of Friendship West Baptist Church. The three co-wrote “Ten New Directions” with eight other community and faith leaders.
The conversation at 5:30 pm will be conducted as a Zoom meeting with the live video posted on Cara Mia’s Facebook page. Viewers interested in asking questions can offer them there.