The buildings in Dallas' Deep Ellum neighborhood are splattered with murals depicting different faces and colors. They are a reflection of the people there, and a conversation starter about race.
"There's a lot of expression that's in all theses paintings," said 17-year-old Gavin Gonzalez. "When you come down here there's a lot of culture."
Gonzalez was walking with a group of family and friends of different races and backgrounds Monday.
"I see myself a just kind of human, not a Dominican person," he said.
The latest news from around North Texas.
When asked how Gonzalez thought others saw him he said, "Some people might see a guy who might want to steal something, just because of my skin color."
Recent protests and shootings brought an undercurrent of racial tension to the surface. Why has it been so hard to have a conversation about race?
"We don't want to hurt each other's feelings and we don't want anybody to think we're racist," explained Ali Taylor, who identified herself as Swedish. "I couldn't say what it's like to be black any more than I can say what it's like to be a man."
"Why is it so hard?" barista Aymi Cordero asked. "I think everyone is just afraid. I mean, this is in all areas of life. We're sort of afraid to get down to the hard issues."
Friends Chad Goodson, who is white, and Darrin Eubank, who is black, talked over coffee.
"What if we tried as hard to unite a country, as we try to unite a race?" Eubank asked.
"I just think people need to start asking what I can do to help the person next to me," said Goodson. "Because the culture won't change until the people do."
"It takes a few people to get the conversation started," said Cordero. "To create a wave."
Deep Ellum, like many neighborhoods in Dallas, has blue ribbons tied to trees and fences in the wake of the shooting that killed four Dallas police officers and one DART officer.
"Why Dallas?" Eubank asked. "That's probably the main question, is why Dallas?"