In early March, we still had a standing meeting on the calendar for April 20. The whole editorial staff planned to pack into a conference room and begin hashing out the year’s upcoming Best of Big D in between pizza slices. Obviously, that went sideways. We haven’t been in a room together in at least that long. And operations at the bars and restaurants and music venues and barber shops and tailors that we annually honor had—if they were lucky—drastically changed, if not outright ceased. We couldn’t pack the Bomb Factory and surprise you with Erykah Badu or Leon Bridges.
In the early weeks of the pandemic, it became clear that the community wasn’t going to sit on its hands. People realized they didn’t have to be a doctor or a nurse to make a difference. You saw a ton of collaboration: out of work chefs used their kitchens to make free meals, a retiree streamed herself reading stories for kids, a small army of knitters teamed up to make masks, distilleries began making hand sanitizer.
We changed how we approached our Best of Big D package. We chose to highlight the heroes. We asked you to submit stories of people who are doing anything to help, no matter how big or small. We received nearly 1,000 submissions. This wasn’t a competition. We wanted to find the puzzle pieces to best illustrate the many, many ways Dallasites stepped up to help. That means the United States Postal worker who kept his route even as this virus we didn’t really understand spread through the community he served. It’s the Salvation Army leader who reconfigured the homeless shelter in the Medical District. It’s the doctors and nurses who showed up for work every day, too.
The story is online today. We hope you’ll spend time with it and reflect on how Dallas came together in spite of impossible odds. And know that their work will continue until we get past this thing.