Saturday, July 2, 2022 Jul 2, 2022
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Here Are the People on the Mayor’s Violent Crime Task Force

Among the 16 choices are a developer, a DISD administrator, a criminologist, and several community advocates.
By Shawn Shinneman |
Mayor Eric Johnson stands next to community activist Rene Martinez as he announces his task force on violent crime. (Photo by Shawn Shinneman)

Early last week, Mayor Eric Johnson announced a new civilian task force on violent crime. There were three co-chairs: Child Poverty Action Lab head Alan Cohen, educator and activist René Martinez, and Rev. Michael Bowie of Saint Luke Community United Methodist Church in Far East Dallas. But the rest of the task force and just how big it would become remained TBD.

Today, we get the list via a press release from the mayor’s office. The release gives no descriptors about who anyone is—come on, Tristan!—but I’ve tried to parse through here to identify the folks who don’t immediately pop off the page. It appears to be a diverse cast by neighborhood, by race, and by background. You have a criminologist alongside community advocates alongside a DISD administrator alongside a real estate developer. Including the three co-chairs, the task force now runs 16 people deep. The first meeting will be held on Sept. 9 at Saint Luke. It is not open to the public.

The group:

Marc Andres — Real estate developer in the Lower Greenville, Henderson Avenue, and Bishop Arts neighborhoods
Derrick Battie — Community liaison at South Oak Cliff High School
• Stephanie Elizalde — DISD Chief of School Leadership
• Gary Griffith — Chairman of Safer Dallas
Mita Havlick — Education advocate and former DISD board candidate from East Dallas
Changa Higgins — Community activist who pushed to strengthen oversight of police
• Chad Houser — Chef and executive director of Café Momentum
Amanda Johnson — Gun sense advocate with Moms Demand Action
Edna Pemberton — Long-time advocate for Oak Cliff
• Alex Piquero — Professor of Criminology at the University of Texas at Dallas and Monash University in Australia
Debbie Solis — Director of family and community services at Voice of Hope Ministries
Maria Valenzuela — Office manager at the Ferguson Road Initiative and long-time Far East Dallas resident
• Marian Williams — Chairwoman at Southfair Community Development Corp.