During these challenging times, it has been said that the best way forward starts with looking back.
For years, the Coalition for a New Dallas has been championing the effort to remove the highway which currently separates the Deep Ellum community from Downtown and runs through the heart of South Dallas. Interstate 345 (I-345), built in the mid-1900s, was a project designed to expedite commutes but destroyed historically African-American communities. Sadly, this form of urban planning was not unique. However, the interstate is one of the most profound examples of how race played a role in shaping modern-day Dallas.
Since the concept of removing the highway was first proposed, much discussion was given about engineering technicalities, traffic patterns, and real estate dynamics, among other often esoteric conversations. However, the topic of race, class, and the city’s intentional discriminatory planning has often been missed. If the City of Dallas is to reckon with its past to plan a more equitable future, this discussion and subsequent actions must take place.
That’s why on Thursday, June 11, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., we will be hosting a discussion titled “I-345: Racism and Reimagination” as a part of The Way Forward webinar series. This discussion will focus on the past, present, and future of Interstate 345, focusing on racial equity and inclusive urban planning. Our partners at the Imagining Freedom Institute and the Toole Design Group will include a visual and oral history of the I-345 project and the impacted community, an in-depth briefing on what current plans exist for the road, and thoughts for what might replace the concrete. This is something you should not miss.