LGBT Center Arson Leads to Rebirth, Outpouring of Support

Investigators are still searching for the person who set fire to and destroyed the Abounding Prosperity LGBT Resource Center in South Dallas in July. The loss of the center left a struggling community without needed HIV testing and resources.

Months after the arson, Abounding Prosperity Inc. is set to open another center near the old one with even more resources, and it's thanks to the kindness and generosity of people from around the nation.

Emmanuel Dotson came to the center years ago looking for resources and remained as a volunteer. He doesn't know where he would be without the help and fellowship.

"I don't want to think about that," he said.

He knows firsthand how the loss of the resource center affected those living with HIV.

"I know people that didn't get the help that they needed because the center wasn't here," Dotson said. "Sometimes a person may not have the finances or even the strength to go anywhere else to get the help they need."

The hours after the fire were the hard for Abounding Hope CEO Kirk Myers.

"[How could] people have this much hate for the work that we are trying to accomplish here? I wanted to give up," he said.

But the act of hate from the arsonist inspired hundreds of acts of love from around the nation.

"We saw approximately $100,000," Myers said.

The money meant a brand new center a few blocks from the old one. But this one will have its own clinic which is new for the center in this neighborhood.

"Now we are able to do the screenings. We are able to treat right here on site," Myers said. "With double the capacity, so now we are able to test twice as many individuals here."

They are now rising from the ashes having never given up.

"We are talking about not only life or death, but quality of life or maybe even quality of death," Myers said.

Because of the national attention, a pharmacy decided to open next door to the new clinic. It will offer much-needed medical resources to the entire community.

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