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Local Activists Work to Clean Up Dallas

activists
A Better Dallas | Image by Chris Klement

Local activists are stepping in to help beautify their community as Dallas officials continue to struggle with keeping the city clean.

A Better Dallas was formed in 2021 to “make a difference” through both political activism and community service projects. One such project is the monthly cleanup of White Rock Lake, which A Better Dallas undertakes in conjunction with local conservationist group For the Love of the Lake.

“The second Saturday of every month, we go out, and we clean up a portion of White Rock Lake,” Chris Klement, president of A Better Dallas, told The Dallas Express. “A lot of us live in East Dallas. We just want to keep our community nice.”

Klement said up to 20 people sometimes come out to help with the cleanup.

“White Rock Lake is a great outdoor civic space. … It’s a great place for people to come together. We want to keep that beautiful,” Klement said.

He told The Dallas Express that some trash they clean up is from people “doing things they’re not supposed to,” but some is simply “the leavings of a family picnic.”

Klement explained that one of the first initiatives A Better Dallas participated in shortly after the group was formed was Clean the Block — a partnership between the City of Dallas Code Compliance Department and members of the community. He said the department would identify a part of the City in need of cleaning, then churches and other community groups would supply volunteers.

The initiative garnered support from both Democrat and Republican groups. The Dallas County Republican Party sponsored Clean the Block from July to November 2021. A Better Dallas helped supply volunteers during that time.

Klement said that Dallas police officers would even be on site when the cleanups took place in potentially unsafe environments such as homeless encampments.

“It was a really good program,” he said. “I don’t know what happened to it, but you can see it here just driving around — you can see where City services aren’t getting out there to clean places up. There are certain places that are getting more and more blighted.”

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, a plurality of residents said in a City satisfaction survey that they believe the City government does a “poor” job of keeping Dallas clean. The City’s report on the survey included various comments and suggestions from respondents. Several residents voiced frustrations with the City Council’s management of homelessness and city cleanliness.

Much of the work A Better Dallas engages in is political activism. Klement explained how they encourage people to run for local office and participate in local politics.

“We do a lot of training and education,” he said. “We’ve worked with poll watchers, we’ve worked with precinct chairs, [and] just people that want to help get involved in politics in their community.”

Klement said A Better Dallas chose to get involved with cleanup initiatives because improving one’s community can happen through both local government action and stepping in to do things independently.

“At the end of the day …  you get involved in politics because you’re trying to make a better place,” he said. “That’s the reason you want to elect good people in office — because you want them to implement policies that are going to make the lives of their constituents and the citizens better, that are going to make the city and the community better.”

“So for us, that’s one way we can do it. One way that we can make our community better is obviously trying to get the right people elected, but we don’t need to wait on that. We can do community service activities to try to make our communities better immediately,” said Klement.

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  1. The local park received the highest honor of the state - GORRS - […] place. We want to preserve that beauty,” said Chris Clement, president of A Better Dallas Dallas Express last […]

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