In Deep Ellum Saturday, there was a renewed call for support and solidarity after a rise in gun violence has deterred some from visiting the popular entertainment district.
For 10 years, Deep Ellum has been more than just an entertainment district for Joseph Cabrera, it’s been his workplace and, in many ways, home.
"I love the strong sense of community,” said Cabrera.
So as recent crime has become a deterrent for some, including rapper T-Pain, who moved his concert from Deep Ellum to Grand Prairie after a lull in ticket sales, Cabrera challenged his neighbors to show their support with a Deep Ellum Strong Day.
Saturday, he encouraged business owners, employees and customers to wear their Deep Ellum gear as a sign of neighborhood pride.
"It's a great place. I wanted to promote that it's a strong community, we have each others' backs,” he said.
"Originally, I came down here because this is where all of the vibe was,” said Dirk Douglas.
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Douglas says business hasn't been the same since the pandemic began.
Headlines about crime, including a recent shooting that left two men dead, haven't helped.
Douglas is hopeful that newly announced safety initiatives from the Deep Ellum Foundation, including street closures and cameras, plus a growing police presence can make a difference, especially when backed by neighborhood support like Cabrera’s effort.
"With people trying to support the business owners down here, the restaurants, the bars, the clubs, the artists, it helps,” said Douglas.
"When you say boycott Deep Ellum or avoid going to Deep Ellum, you're not hurting the criminal element. You're hurting the mom-and-pop shops down here. You're hurting your friends who might be a bartender or a concert promoter or a waitress,” said Cabrera.