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10:30 am - 11:50 am             Civic Engagement

Committee Chair/Moderator - Councilman Casey Thomas

"Building Black Political Power"

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Jesuorobo A. Enobakhare, Jr.

Chairman

Dallas Community Police Oversight Board

Jesuorobo A. Enobakhare, Jr. is the Chairman of the Dallas Community Police Oversight Board, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.’s Social Action efforts and is the founder and mind behind Jesuorobo’s Thoughts, an informative blog that covers an array of topics including politics, social injustices and current events.

 

The Road to Oversight Jesuorobo under the direction of them Citizen Police Review Board Chairman Dr. Brian Williams partnered with the Dallas Coalition for Police Oversight. Jesuorobo quickly earned the trust and respect of coalition members and was asked to participate in meetings between the Coalition, Dallas Police Chief and Dallas Assistant City Manager in finalizing the city ordinance that made Police Oversight a reality in Dallas. Jesuorobo also participated in multiple town hall meetings across the city of Dallas listening to citizen concerns about policing in their respective neighborhoods and communities as well as educating Dallas Citizens on the plan for police Oversight.

 

Through the efforts of Jesuorobo and members of the Dallas Coalition for Police Oversight, and other stakeholders, the Dallas City Council passed Police Oversight Reform by a unanimous vote in April 2019. That vote created:

 

• The Community Police Oversight Board - a means for providing an accessible process that ensures the fair acceptance and processing of external complaints against the Dallas Police Department with the power to direct independent investigation through the Office of Police Oversight. The Board also has the power to recommend policy reforms independent of complaints against the Department.

• The Office of Community Oversight - a new department of Dallas City Government which will provide support for the Community Police Oversight Board by receiving and monitor the investigation of all complaints against the Dallas Police Department. During the October 8, 2019, Dallas City Council Meeting Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson appointed Jesuorobo Chairman of the new Dallas Community Police Oversight Board. Additional responsibilities that Jesuorobo now has as the Community Police Oversight Board Chairman:

• Assisting in the hiring of the Director of Community Police Oversight

• Is notified by the Dallas Police Department at the time of any critical incident, such as a high profile police use of force incident that leads to serious injury or fatality or death in custody.

 

In the Spring of 2021 Jesuorobo was appointed Chairman of the Texas District of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.’s Social Action Committee which directs Alpha’s efforts of Advocacy and Activism in the state of Texas has just been newly appoint to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.’s Southwestern Region Advocacy and Activism Community which directs those same efforts of activism for the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

 

A passionate Community Leader and Activist, Jesuorobo has also served on the Texas Democratic Party Executive Committee representing Texas Senate District 12.

 

Jesuorobo is a member of Disciple Central Community Church. When he is not busy serving the community, he is either at the movies, watching football, reading comic books, or doing all things Sci-Fi!

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Diane Ragsdale

Executive Director

South Dallas Fair Park Inner-city Community Development Corp.

A South Dallas native, Diane Ragsdale is a cofounder of South Dallas/Fair Park Innercity Community Development Corporation (ICDC) which was founded in 1986 and has been the Executive Director of ICDC since 2004.

Under her leadership the South Dallas/Fair Park Innercity Community Development Corporation (ICDC) continues its mission of building lives and revitalizing neighborhoods with several ongoing initiatives. These initiatives include building over 250 homes, providing much needed home ownership opportunities; purchasing and revitalizing a retail center; introducing low-income innercity youth to the possibilities of business ownership as a viable career option; building an office complex for commercial and retail development; creating a business incubator center to support the growth of new and existing businesses;  building a health care facility and the development of a partnership with Dallas College to provide work training programs from the South Dallas Training Center located on ICDC’s campus.

Diane is a lifelong member of Kirkwood Temple CME Church, serving as a Sunday school teacher, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Chair of the Social Justice Committee, and a member of the Health Ministry. 

A graduate of the great James Madison High School, Ms. Ragsdale received her BS Degree in Nursing from Dallas Baptist University. As a registered nurse, she has worked with a variety of institutions, including the VNA and the Veterans’ Administration. With over 20 years experience as a healthcare administrator, her management expertise includes planning, budgeting, operations, and supervisory functions. 

Mentored by the late civil rights pioneer and Dallas City Council member Juanita Craft, Ms Ragsdale’s civic involvement began as a member of the NAACP Youth Council. During her high school years, she also served as a youth organizer for the South Dallas Information Center under the leadership of organizer-activist and former city council member, the Honorable Al Lipscomb.  In addition, Ms. Ragsdale served as an activist with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference under the leadership of Rev. Peter Johnson and national SCLC staffer, Rev. James Orange.  Appointed to the Dallas City Plan Commission by the late Councilwoman Elsie Fay Heggins, Ms. Ragsdale was a consistent and effective advocate for the South Dallas/Fair Park neighborhoods fighting passionately against zoning and thoroughfare incursions that destroyed neighborhood cohesiveness. 

Moving from appointed to elected office as a member of the Dallas City Council, Ms. Ragsdale continued to be a staunch advocate for planned economic development and neighborhood self-determination. She was also one of the driving forces toward single member districts to increase African American and Latino/a representation on the Dallas City Council known as the 14-1 plan. While serving on the Dallas City Council she was elected Deputy Mayor Pro Tem by her City Council colleagues. She worked on issues such as affordable and decent housing, accessible and affordable health care, equitable distribution of resources, fighting against police abuse, and advocating for community-based business development. As member of the Dallas City Council, Ms. Ragsdale was the visionary and lead sponsor of the South Dallas/Fair Park Trust Fund which provided funding for non-profits and for- profits located in South Dallas/Fair Park. This organization is now known as South Dallas/Fair Park Opportunity Fund.

In addition to ICDC, Ms. Ragsdale has helped to found numerous community-based organizations, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Health Center and Common Ground Economic Development Corporation. 

Ms. Ragsdale continues to live in Sunny South Dallas and is a strong organizer for community self-determination through education, mobilization and organization.

She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including:

  • Invisible Giants Award -- Voting Rights Museum of Selma, AL

  • Community Service Award -- National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs

  • A. Maceo Smith Community Service Award --  African American Museum of Life and Culture

  • Civil Rights Award -- Dallas NAACP 

  • Outstanding Texan Award -- Texas Legislative Black Caucus 

  • President’s Award -- Dallas Urban League; 

  • Sojourner Truth National Award -- South Dallas Business and Professional Women’s Club

  • Mary McLeod Bethune Community Service Award -- National Council of Negro Women 

  • Trailblazer Award -- African American Pastor’s Coalition 

  • Community and Economic Development - Juanita Craft Awards of Dallas NAACP

  • Legacy Award- Juanita Craft Humanitarian Awards

  • Humanitarian Award-Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc.

  • Goldman Sachs Black Woman Impact Leader

 

In addition to these awards, the Library and Media Center of her alma mater, James Madison High, has been named in her honor.  Also, in honor of her work and commitment, the training center room of the Child Care Dallas Center in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Complex bears her name. The oral history of Ms. Ragsdale has been documented, in part by the University of North Texas, University of Texas at Arlington, and SMU Oral History programs where they are available to the public. 

Ms Ragsdale’s journey as a childhood activist, an organizer, a City Plan Commission member,

Registered Nurse, Dallas City Council member and Co-founder and Director of the nonprofit, South Dallas/ Fair Park Innercity Community Development Corporation have all continued to provide her with knowledge and valuable experiences that will move the struggle for social justice and equity forward.

Ms. Ragsdale’s work and her witness are reinforced by her fervent belief that there are many blessings in serving the community.  She is driven by the Biblical admonition, “whatsoever you do unto the least of these” and by the directive from the prophet Micah to Do Justice.

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State Representative Jasmine Crockett

Texas House District 100

Democratic Nominee for Texas' 30th Congressional District

In the midst of political turmoil, economic distress, and racial inequality, Civil Rights Attorney Jasmine Crockett laced up her shoes to march for justice and run for the Texas House of Representatives. After a blockbuster freshman session, Rep. Crockett accepted the call to run for retiring Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson's congressional seat in TX-30. On May 24, 2022, Rep. Crockett won her run-off election for Congressional District 30 making her the Democratic Nominee and Presumptive Congresswoman-Elect to succeed Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson. Her passion for empowering people politically and in justice led to her career as a public defender, county party chair, and civil rights and criminal defense attorney focused on defending our most vulnerable neighbors from unlawful accusations, and exploitation, in the criminal justice system. Jasmine has purposefully made every decision with one goal in mind: protecting the civil liberties of those in underrepresented communities.

 

Jasmine was one of the lead architects of the Texas Democrat's Quorum Break. She took our fight to the seat of our democracy and brought national attention to the injustice in Texas. As the sole Black freshman and youngest Black lawmaker in  Texas during the 87th Legislative Session, which has been marked as the most conservative session in Texas history. Despite the uphill climb, Jasmine filed more bills than any other freshman, assembled a wide coalition to pass landmark criminal justice reforms in the House, and brought more accessibility and accountability to her office than before. Jasmine's efforts have been recognized nationally and she has been named one of the most effective freshmen by Texas Monthly, she has received three Freshman of the Year awards by the Dallas Observer, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, Texas Legislative Black Caucus, was named on The Root's list of 100 most influential African-Americans, and she appears regularly on MSNBC.

Representative Jasmine Crockett earned her BA in Business Administration from Rhodes College and her JD from the University of Houston. She is licensed to practice law in Texas, Arkansas, and Federal Courts. Crockett is the past Bowie County Democratic Party Chair, holds various leadership positions within the legal community, former board member of the Dallas County Metrocare Services, and is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She has a 100% pro-choice and pro-labor voting record. She is a founding member of both the Texas Progressive Caucus and serves as the Vice-Chair, as well as the Texas Caucus on Climate, Energy, and the Environment for which she is the Treasurer. Jasmine is proud to serve Texas on the Business & Industry and Criminal Jurisprudence Committees

 

She's looking forward to continuing our fight and ushering in the next generation of servant leadership in the halls of Congress and Washington, D.C.

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Di'onna LaFay Hardin

Senior Organizing Manager, Texas

Black Voters Matter

Dionna La'Fay (She/Her) is an HBCU graduate and has worked for several political campaigns and non-profit organizations over the past eight years. She is currently serving as the Senior Organizing Manager in Texas with Black Voters Matter, a nonprofit organization that is currently active in several states across the country. We work to leverage power through leadership development and community organizing. 

 

Dionna La'Fay, she/her/hers 

State Organizing Manager - Texas 

Black Voters Matter Fund

Email: dionna@blackvotersmatterfund.org

Phone: 470.653.0011

Website: www.blackvotersmatterfund.org

facebook.com/blackvotersmtr | twitter.com/blackvotersmtr | instagram.com/blackvotersmtr

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