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Dallas Faith And City Leaders Want To Rename Part Of Lamar Street In Memory Of Botham Jean

Community faith leaders bow their head in prayer at the start of Wednesday’s press conference at the Dallas West Church of Christ, before advocating for the name change of Lamar St. in memory of Botham Jean.
Keren Carrión
/
KERA
Community faith leaders bow their head in prayer at the start of Wednesday’s press conference at the Dallas West Church of Christ, before advocating for the name change of Lamar St. in memory of Botham Jean.

A group of city leaders is pushing to rename a 3-mile stretch of South Lamar Street to honor Botham Jean, a Black man killed by a former Dallas police officer in 2018.

More than 20 faith leaders and two Dallas City Council members gathered at a historic Black church in West Dallas to support the renaming of a 3-mile stretch of South Lamar Street in memory of Botham Jean, a 26-year-old Dallas Black man who was killed in his apartment in 2018 by former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger.

"Botham Jean Boulevard. I say that with pride," said minister Sammie Berry of Dallas West Church of Christ. "I can’t help but reflect on the person he was. A street sign might seem like a small gesture, but a street in his honor would be a reminder of the lessons learned since Botham’s death."

The gathering began with a prayer from Minister Collin Packer, leader at the Greenville Oaks Church of Christ. Faith leaders bowed down for a moment of silence and Packer's words filled the room, "That we pray that your kingdom will come and will be done in Dallas.. we pray that you will change our heart and the hearts of out leaders...Our Amen must be the first step in meaningful legislative change."

The proposal to rename a portion of Lamar Street to Botham Jean Boulevard was first brought up by Dallas resident Chris Norman, who started a petition for the renaming of the street in 2019.

The petition gathered much support, getting more than 55,000 signatures. In mid-July, Mayor Pro Tem Adam Medrano filed a memo to the city manager to request the name change.

"It’s gonna take all of this to get this done. And that’s most important that everyone is there ready to speak and ready to support the street name change to Botham Jean Boulevard," said Medrano. "And I will make sure this gets passed."

Clouds loom over Lamar St., nearly two years after the murder of Botham Jean at the hands of a police officer at an apartment building on this street.
Keren Carrión
Clouds loom over Lamar St., nearly two years after the murder of Botham Jean at the hands of a police officer at an apartment building on this street.

The memo was co-signed by Dallas City Council members Adam Bazaldua, who represents District 7, and Omar Narvaez, who represents District 6. The stretch of Lamar Street runs between Interstate 30 and South Central Expressway and through the council members' respective districts.

"Although it's painful to remember, we definitely don't want to forget. That's why the Dallas Area Preacher and Church Leaders support the plan to put a permanent reminder," said Berry.

Lamar Street has resonance with the community. Guyger and Jean both lived on Lamar Street at the time of the shooting, and the Dallas police headquarters is located on the street.

The Dallas Area Preacher and Church Leaders (DAPCL) think the proposal is important, especially as the second anniversary of Jean’s death approaches on Sept 6.

The Subdivision Review Committee is holding a hearing on the plan Thursday, where they will vote. DAPCL will hold a service called “Be Like Bo Day” on Sunday, Sept. 6 at 10 a.m. at Dallas West Church of Christ.

Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report For America corps member and writes about the economic impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities for KERA News. Email Alejandra at amartinez@kera.org. You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @_martinez_ale.

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