Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of the twentieth century’s best-known advocates for nonviolent social change. While methodologies have changed over the years, that passionate fight for justice remains front and center for some local advocates who continue advocating for their causes. Today, we feature Rev. James Dixon, Pastor, The Community Of Faith Church and Vice President Houston NAACP.
What do you advocate?
I advocate against violence, particularly for Creating Safer Places for Children! We must do more to protect Children from gun violence in Schools and in low income Neighborhoods. The shooting death at Lamar High School last year, the 16-year-old student killed at Bellaire High School this week and mass shootings on campuses elsewhere, are indicators of massive problems. Gang violence among young people is out of control. Saving our children must be our priority! Nelson Mandela said, “There is no clearer picture of the soul of a society than how it treats its children.” I am also a passionate advocate against Sex/Human Trafficking. These tragedies are beyond comprehension. I am also a huge advocate against sex/human trafficking, which is modern day slavery. Houston/Harris County, in fact, the state of Texas is rife with trafficking victims. Kids are being groomed and lured into trafficking under our noses, in schools, in churches in parties, on social media, in state funded foster care facilities. These are unacceptable conditions. I advocate for justice in the forms of equal access to quality education for all children and for career empowerment for all people. I also advocate for social and criminal justice reforms, which includes changes in our bail system and in our present system of Judges appointing lawyers for the indigent and poor. This system favor those of economic means and is unjust for the poor. I advocate for economic parity, such as, equal pay for equal work; for minorities to have equal access to venue capital; for removing barriers that make homeownership more difficult for Blacks and other minorities. I advocate for the poor and against public policies that perpetuate the systematic trauma of poverty, which includes major issues, like mental health, crime, substance abuse and poor physical health.
Why and How do you advocate?
I’m on divine assignment! God gave me a heart for disenfranchised, marginalized and oppressed people. I’m burdened by man’s inhumanity to man. The learned evil of racial superiority is built on the false premise that we are not all one race and this ignorance undermines the best that we can all be together. Dr. Cornell West is right when he says, “Love looks like justice in public.” I advocate for justice because I love people…all people. I believe in the brotherhood of man. My mantra is “We’re One Family With One Future.” This is evident to me. In Dr. King’s words, “We must learn to live together as brothers, or we will perish together as fools.” These are the values and principles that motivate my service.
Much of my advocacy happens where there are no cameras. Feeding homeless people several days each week, and encouraging children in foster care facilities. Each winter, our church and community partners provide coats to several thousand impoverished children and homeless adults. Kirk Whalum partnered with us in this effort. The Houston Texas Foundation, HEB Foods, and Kaylin Harr were major sponsors for this year’s Coats of Compassion campaign. I’m on the board of Samaritans Feet Inc., and our church partners with them to provide shoes for thousands disadvantaged and impoverished kids each year. I advocate for youth through Good Gang USA, a nonprofit I founded in 1994. Through GG initiatives such as, A Safer Place For Me, Kids Traffic Stop, and Scholar Power, I seek to empower and advocate for youth. I have a strong alliance with leading anti-trafficking advocates like Jacquelyn Aloutto of Breaking The Cycle-Real Beauty Real Women, with Kerri Taylor of Unbound Houston, Andy Kahan with Crime Stoppers, and Santa Maria Hostel, a center for women in rehab. We work closely with the trafficking division of Harris County Precinct One and Constable Alan Rosen. I’m on the board of the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation. Though my advocacy, our board, chaired by Edgar Colon, just passed a Revolution to designate NRG Park as a No Trafficking Zone, The “NZT” initiative will promote awareness and rise resources to support anti-trafficking projects. I was blessed to serve as chairman for the NZT Committee. As Vice President of the Houston NAACP, and as chair the Criminal Justice Committee. There, we are advocating for a program called Managed Assigned Counsel that would replace the current Judge appointed legal counsel for the poor. I’m also working with the Ebony Magazine Foundation on a project called Home For The Holidays. It’s an initiative to funds to post bonds for those who are being held in jail on non-violent charges, only because they lack a few hundred dollars to post a bond.
What is your dream?
I dream of a multicultural movement for justice fueled by people united in love. I dream of a society mutual respect for all humanity. I dream of the day when our policies will dignify the less fortunate, restore the broken and regard all humanity as sacred. On this basis, the Beloved Community envisioned by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. can at last become a manifested reality.
Previously featured: Deric Muhammad.