Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Do this first to become an unforgettable leader

Just like a newborn baby’s first impulse is to receive milk, a newborn leader’s first instinct is to give something. Giving is a leader’s natural inclination because Leaders Give!

To be a leader, one must give something: encouragement, motivation, instruction, comfort, time, or money. One who refuses to give refuses to lead.

From start to finish, Jesus’ model of leadership is based on giving. When Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding at Cana in Galilee, He gave His very first miracle.

While calling His disciples, they were frustrated after experiencing a failed fishing expedition. Jesus took the initiative and gave them encouragement to try again, released His power so that they could succeed, and invited them to become a part of something great.

After noticing Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector trying to see Jesus by climbing in a tree, Jesus told him that he was going to stay at his house that night. At that moment, Jesus gave a man despised by his community recognition, unconditional acceptance, favor, and friendship.

During His earthly ministry, Jesus gave a lot! Among the other things He freely gave were forgiveness, healing, inspiration, food, courage, grace, acceptance, knowledge, comfort, deliverance, revelation, instruction, an example to follow, hope, love, and, ultimately, His life. The gift of His life paved the way for salvation for all human beings. God led the way to redeem us and gave His Son Jesus to close the deal. He did it because God is the ultimate leader and Leaders Give!

Daily, Dallas Leadership Foundation’s leaders lay down our lives for the work God has called us to do in Dallas. We’re asking you as a leader to do the same by giving to DLF on Sept. 22. 2016, which is North Texas Giving Day. Give to help DLF continue to lead in neighborhoods, schools, and in and out of prison. Do it because that’s what we do: Leaders Give!

To learn how you can lead by giving today, visit dlftx,org.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Grace and sincere love -- ingredients for community transformation

·       On a Sunday morning last month, Wil McCall, president of Dallas Leadership Foundation, and Bryan Dunagan, senior pastor at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, met before an audience to discuss faith and race. Their conversation occurred during the aftermath of the fatal shootings of police officers in Dallas and civilians in Baton Rouge, La. and Falcon Heights, Minn. The day of the event at Highland Park Presbyterian, fatal police-related shootings were reported in Baton Rouge.

     Watch as these two men -- African American and Caucasian -- offer their perspectives in this video. Their conversation provides a glimpse of what it looks like when believers model the phenomenal love and grace of Jesus, and pursue authentic relationships with all people, regardless of race and class. 

   The more natural, and the more organic and sincere those relationships are, the more effectively the church can ignite transformation in Dallas' communities and elsewhere.

To learn more about the work of Dallas Leadership Foundation in the city's neighborhoods, visit dlftx.org.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Community collaboration and accountability, a framework for justice

Update: At the time of this posting, police officers were shot and killed in Baton Rouge, La. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families.

Dallas, along with communities around the country, must ask themselves whether they want to nourish the seeds of fear-based division after the tragic shootings of five police officers and two black men in Baton Rouge, La. and Falcon Heights, Minn., along with the tragic shootings of others across the country.

Or, driven by hope, we can all begin working on sustainable change. We believe at Dallas Leadership Foundation (DLF) that breakthrough change occurs in a city when a diverse group of leaders speaks with one voice. Unity carries power. 

Community meeting in East Dallas.
In more than 20 years of ministry, we’ve learned at DLF that relationships between law enforcement and minority neighborhoods require a nuanced understanding of what’s happening on the ground. Community leaders can proactively problem-solve with officers to reduce crime. They're invaluable resources to help law enforcement compassionately and effectively ensure public safety.

Where DLF has partnered with community leaders, together we have maintained strong relationships with many police officers and code enforcement officials. Good will has sprung from mutual respect and collaboration. 

In any community,  mutual respect and collaboration break down when officers abuse their privilege of authority. If that happens, officers must face prosecution because they have violated the public trust. 

Accountability doesn’t always happen, however. A New York Times article recounts 11 police-involved black deaths since 2014 that were caught on video. To date, “officers have been indicted in five cases. In four cases, grand juries declined to bring charges,” the story says. 

“The Science of Justice: Race, Arrests, and Police Use of Force”  report was released by the Center for Policing Equity the same week as the shootings in Dallas, Louisiana and Minnesota. The national report examined the use of force by police in 12 departments that participate in the National Justice Database. 

Researchers studied more than 19,000 use-of-force incidents from 2010-2015. Researchers found that the use of force against African-Americans is three times greater than it is for whites, even though officers use force in less than two percent of all their interactions with civilians.

In our democracy, officers who abuse their power breach the civic contract that places law enforcement on our streets. They must be held accountable, and legislation should back up their prosecution. 

There is a just way officers can police effectively and equitably. Change can happen. But justice for everyone must be the place where it starts.

Learn more about the work of Dallas Leadership Foundation in communities at dlftx.org.