The city of Fort Worth is taking steps to try to improve race relations after tensions boiled over in December when three black women were arrested by a white officer after calling for help.
On Monday, city leaders met with folks from the National League of Cities Racial Equity and Leadership (REAL) initiative to talk solutions.
The idea is to look at best practices other cities have used to unite people across racial lines and other differences. These conversations have been planned for a long time, even before the most recent incident, and they're in the very early stages now.
So while we wait to see what's coming, NBC 5 spent the day at the Dixie House Cafe hearing the changes everyday people want to see. The diner's regulars come from all walks of life. But for most, Fort Worth roots run deep.
"All my life, born and raised," said diner Harry Brown.
It feels like home, and for some, just walking in beneath the restaurant's sign can still trigger old feelings.
"There was a time where that name 'Dixie' may have made you perceive one thing, and even with things going on, some people still identify with that," said diner Jonathan Morrison.
Morrison has watched Fort Worth change and grow, but not equally all over the city.
"We know that there are some gaps," Morrison said. "Some areas have different income gaps. Some areas have different education gaps."
He's glad to hear the city's taking action with national leaders in town talking race relations and hopes more community voices will join the conversation.
"We're one of the cities that has the opportunity to implement changes that could become solutions for the nation," said Morrison.
Those solutions could start with real connections between people.
"We're family. This is my boy, this is his family. So his family is my family," Brown said, while motioning to a table of white friends.
Brown is black. He and his "family" say racial divides break down, when you treat everyone as an equal.
"You're mad at me because I'm white, he's mad at you because you're black – that's stupid, dumbest thing I've ever heard," said Brown's friend, Emmitt Mayo.
That goes for police relations, too.
"I think people need to respect a badge," said David Hall. "There's good cops, bad cops, good people, bad people – no matter what color. I feel strongly about that."
Now, turning those strong feelings to action will define where Fort Worth goes next.
A city spokesperson released the following statement Monday:
"Representatives from The National League of Cities Racial Equity And Leadership (REAL) initiative are in town to meet individually with city council members, community stakeholders, neighborhood leaders, faith-based leaders and staff. These are individual meetings and not open to the public or media. This is the fact-finding and research part of the process. Staff will then work with NLC REAL to develop a plan for Fort Worth. Once a plan is developed and approved by City Council, we will have a public announcement."