Lori Wilson Charles and her 3-year-old daughter Hattie have been making regular walks down the block to 'their' stop sign. It's the stop sign at Winnetka Avenue and 8th Street that they both collected petition signatures to get installed.
"It was really cold and we were outside," Wilson Charles said, recalling sitting on her front porch each day in the heat of the pandemic. "And I would just watch people book it through our neighborhood."
Wilson Charles requested a stop sign from the city of Dallas and was denied. She said her councilman, Chad West, encouraged her to keep trying. So she started a petition.
"I figured I should not just complain on social media like everybody does, and actually do the work," Wilson Charles said.
She took then 2-year-old Hattie door to door collecting petition signatures, and setting up a lemonade stand to get the word out.
"I think a lot of people look at their city leaders and think they should do this for me, instead of realizing they need to put a little effort into it as well," Wilson Charles said.
During her quest for a stop sign, an accident up the street was a somber reminder of why it was important. A car crash at an intersection killed a lawncare worker while he mowed a lawn.
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"The day the stop sign went up, I had so many messages," Wilson Charles said. "This community really came together and this street really came together."
She said neighbors came out to take photos as the stop sign was being installed. One neighbor dropped off a framed copy of it on Wilson Charles' front porch.
"Who did this," Wilson Charles asked Hattie as the 3-year-old hugged 'her' stop sign pole. "We did," Hattie replied with a smile and high-five.
Wilson Charles said she hopes her young daughter learned a valuable lesson through the process about persistence and hard work.
"We all want to see change, but it can't be done at home, on Instagram, or social media," Wilson Charles said. "You have to get out and actually be with your community, and be with your leaders."