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We are all citizens of Dallas today

Dallas police officers crouch behind police vehicles after shots were fired by a man later identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, a former Army reserve private, Thursday, July 7. Five officers were killed, and seven officers and two civilians were injured.
Dallas police officers crouch behind police vehicles after shots were fired by a man later identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, a former Army reserve private, Thursday, July 7. Five officers were killed, and seven officers and two civilians were injured. Associated Press

The spirit of Dallas imbues my soul and is interwoven into the helix of my DNA. I was born on the muddy banks of the Trinity River at Methodist Hospital, and today, I am broken. At 8:58 p.m. on July 7, during the gentle march of a peaceful people, shots rang out from above to fracture that which we, as the citizens of Big D, have worked so hard for decades to build.

My heart aches for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that our families might sleep peacefully in their beds and cribs tonight. These brave men and women, and their families, bear our burden daily, standing as a bulwark against those who seek to harm us. And yet, they desire nothing more than our thanks and the gratitude of the people whom they protect. It is time to abandon the existing paradigm and stand with the men and women in Dallas blue. Our police officers need the necessary tools and protections to allow them to do their jobs.

My heart aches for the disenfranchised of our city who seek justice and peace daily, yet find no solace in the news of the day. They are rightfully frustrated, angry and sad, and they demand respect – to which they are entitled.

When those tragedies across the country occur that affect a particular community, often one of race or color, how can I possibly understand what it must mean to be the subject of that pain? I surely cannot. All people, regardless of their race, must endeavor to understand this ire and not dismiss the source of the frustration.

My heart aches for the great city of my birth that has done so much to overcome the tragedies of our shared history. We are a visionary, sophisticated, economically robust city that focuses on fairness, equality and inclusiveness. Our very skyline tells the story of a thousand dreamers who have built a modern day Shining City on a Hill.

Although we strive for perfection, we are not perfect. Although we work to embody the essence of what it means to be a Texan, we sometimes fall short. We cannot always live up to our promise. But we must always endeavor to do so.

We weep. We cry for our city of Dallas. We have seen the face of evil and we acknowledge that this evil has temporarily snuffed out the fire that burns in our hearts.

The city where I grew up, worked and served, the city that I love so desperately, has been injured by those who are blinded by hate and anger. Make no mistake. The umbrage industry knows no political boundaries. The right and the left; the black, brown and white; the rich and the poor, are all capable of anger. And it seems today that anger is a pervasive emotion in our community and our country.

But I say to you: Dallas is tired of anger! Dallas is tired of hate. Dallas wants the soothing balm of solutions for our problems and comity among our peoples, rather than vitriolic and esoteric hate.

It is time for all of us to come together as citizens of the great City of Dallas and shake off the yoke of anger and divisiveness.

Black Lives Matter. Blue Lives Matter. Brown Lives Matter. White Lives Matter.

All Lives Matter.

Let us come together as Dallas Lives and let us heal. Let us understand each other in ways that we have not before. Let us shed the scales from our eyes and see our great community for what it is: the fulfillment of the promise that we know we are capable of.

Let us drop the political, racial, religious, gender, ethnic and regional chains that bind us and come together as Citizens of the Great City of Dallas. Together, we shall overcome. Join me in this endeavor.

Thursday night, we felt the sting of the enemy. But today, we rise together as Dallasites.

Jason Villalba is a Texas state representative from Dallas. He wrote this for the Dallas Morning News.

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