Earlier this month Black Lives Matter held a peaceful protest advocating for dignity, justice, and respect. As we all know things did not end as peacefully as they had begun. A lone gunman opened fire upon Dallas Police officers wounding two civilians, shooting a total of twelve officers, and killing five officers in his pursuit of vigilante justice. Since then, there has been an outcry of different perspectives shared via news syndicates, bloggers, social media, and more about recent events, social injustices, and the general direction in which our country is taking in regard to the application of how our country will ensure basic human rights such as dignity, justice, respect, and most importantly equal opportunities for all.
There are so many viewpoints from which we can examine social justice and the injustices that continue to take place in our country, but at the end of the day we are all human beings who generally want the same things. We all want to feel loved, valued, respected, safe, and have access to opportunities regardless of our differences. Upon closer examination of this recent and tragic event, along with several other related tragic events across the country, we discovered something far from novel in concept; that aside from our physical appearances, cultural influences, religious beliefs, or political alignments, we are all one race. We are the human race. We have so much more in common than what we choose to acknowledge and it is in our acknowledgement of our faults and likenesses that we will find peace.
Project Unity was built upon this not so novel concept. We wanted to encourage everyone to unite in spite of the deceit of division that only continues plague our people with hurt and harm. The darkness of this plague is non-discriminatory. When violence and hate take center stage all people feel the painful sting of hurt and loss. We all lose loved-ones and we lose sight of a better and more united world. Everyone suffers, but we can do something to combat the treachery of division in our country and that is to do the exact opposite and unite as one.
On July 23rd, we invited police officers, and citizens of all walks of life, ethnicities, and races to come together to create an art piece that symbolizes a vision for Dallas as a city of love and unity. With the overwhelming generosity of Home Depots across the metroplex, Michaels, and Level Gallery, we were able to supply all of our Dallas Gallery Day patrons with materials to each create a unity themed tile art piece which Dallas All Star community leader, and muralist Jerod Alexander Davies/DTOX has used to create a collaborative piece that will serve as a monumental testament to love, unity, and collaboration in Dallas. This art piece will be auctioned off (TBD) with all proceeds benefitting the Dallas Fallen Officer’s Foundation.
Food and beverage vendors such as Oh My Kabob, Shells and Tails Cajun Food, Kona Ice, and Stupid Good Coffee also set aside time in their busy schedules to come out to feed the crowds and offer police officers free meals as gratitude of their service to the community. In addition to coming out a show of support for Project Unity, food vendors also offered up 10-20% of their total sales to the Dallas Fallen Officer’s Foundation.
DuckyBob’s party event rental company saved the day when our original suppliers could not donate rental equipment and they supplied us with much needed tents to keep everyone cool with shade, chairs, and tables for us to create our unity art.
With his attendance, Sergeant Pennie, president of the Dallas Fallen Officer’s Foundation, continued to fulfill his role as a fellow officer, president of the foundation, and overall altruistic human being by reciprocating our supportive efforts to help heal our community. When he arrived, he immediately expressed his gratitude by applauding our Level Gallery team for uniting so many in such a short amount of time. For Sergeant Pennie, it was especially touching to witness support not only from monetary values, but from a communal gathering that epitomized the sentimental and symbolic representation of unity. Dallas Gallery Day patrons were having vital communication with one another, and setting aside obvious differences to be as one.
It was a truly an inspiration to see so many people enjoying the company of one another despite the tragedy of recent events. There is still love and light in the world and it is within our collective power to create and spread that love so that we can all grow past division. That earlier premise of discovery for something not so novel in concept rings truer than ever. We are all one race, we are the human race. Let’s continue to learn how to love and support one another with Project Unity.