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TARRANT COUNTY (CBS 11 NEWS) – Fort Worth pastors of minority churches are forging a coalition of diverse groups to attack problems they see in the neighborhoods around their churches every day. Their focus will be on community issues, like poor relationships with police, unemployment and few opportunities for minority youth.
“Everybody needs an opportunity, said Dacion Steptoe who lives in a predominately minority east Fort Worth neighborhood. “Everybody deserves a a second chance. I got one. Everybody deserves a job.”
Steptoe is 19-years old and the father of two kids. He says unlike many young men in his neighborhood, he’s raising his children and not selling drugs to make a living.
“I’m special,” Steptoe said. “I’m one of a kind.”
Wednesday, a unique collection of people who’s goal is to improve conditions in neighborhoods like Steptoe’s met in the fellowship hall of a small church on John T. White road.
“What can we do to improve the lives of children, especially those who could lose their lives do to violence of some magnitude?” Rev. Kyev Tatum asked the group of about two dozen people.
Local church leaders invited people here from health departments, non-profit groups, school districts, colleges, even youth athletic leagues.
For the first time they’re sitting down together to pool resources and talk about issues like drop out rates, minority unemployment and relationships between police and minorities.
“There are a lot of organizations that do a lot,” Nate Youngblood of faith-based World Vision. “But they do so in a silo. They do so separate from one another, so the system is never fully effective.”
The short term goal is to target specific goals using all the groups’ resources.
But the ultimate goal is not just to improve conditions in Steptoe’s neighborhood, but to build a grass roots campaign copied nationally.
Bryant Pearson, the founder of Bowtie Boys a non-profit group that works with African-American males, said, “I’m encouraged that a group of people are willing to come together and say lets do it not just for Fort Worth or not just for Arlington, but let’s do it for America.”
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