By Dr. J. Ester Davis
First of all, Dallas does has a curfew. And what are your thoughts on a Dallas curfew?
On Monday, January 14, 2019, a briefing was held at City Hall concerning the expiration of the Dallas curfew for our citizens under the age of 17. The curfew has been in existence for about 26 years in the City of Dallas. On January 18, 2019, the curfew will expire. In short order, the Dallas Curfew is in effect from 11PM to 6AM Sunday through Thursday and after midnight Friday and Saturday. Parents can be fined up to $500 for violations.
At least 500 U.S. cities have youth curfews. Cities with populations of 180,000 or more have enacted curfews to ensure the safety of our youth. There is, of course both pros and cons about this growing trend in our cities. Officials and cities overwhelming cite the” breakdown of the family” as the need for these safety precautions for our youth.
However, in the City of Dallas, in 1991, the curfew was 100% community driven.
Edna Pemberton, a decorated community leader, led the charge for a curfew in Dallas. I can remember it well. A meeting was held at Concord Baptist Church with about seven(7)people. As added support for the curfew, early supporters did one-on-one opinion polling, made visit to apartment owners, businesses, community centers and home owners meetings. At this time in our city’s history, there was a highly popular Dallas Community Television (DCTV) channel from Time Warner. Three(3)show host, Roy Williams, Jan Sanders and Ester Davis along with the press, concerned citizens and clergy created awareness and the need to protect our children. Several months later, the Dallas City Council adopted an ordinance with a 10-1 vote.
Mrs. Pemberton, explained the history of the Dallas curfew at the briefing on Monday. The highlight of her comments was one. . . “Our curfew was community driven. . not police driven.” Continuing. . . “It started with a rape in the community”, she began, “and the community took charge”. Another speaker advised the council that our city is in need of homeless shelters for youth. So many youth simply do not have a place to stay. (Please Google “Homeless Athletes” an article in Sports Illustrated for an eye opening look at this awful situation).
Council Members Casey Thomas and Jennifer Gates had comments centered around the short notice especially to the community and supporting statistically data which was non existence. I plan to poll more council members that may have some relative supporting statistics.
Fast forward to today’s society the curfew should be reinstated, reinforced and improved to include homeless teens. What’s your position? What do you want in your community? Feel free to also contact your city council member.