Story by King Shakur. Photos by Albert Patterson. Video by Vanessa Phillips.
King Shakur is sharing a series of stories around change-makers he has met through his nonprofit venture, Volunteering While Black. King Shakur is a proud son of South Dallas, and the founder of Volunteering While Black. He holds a MA in Public Leadership from UNT Dallas and is pursuing his PhD in Ethical and Creative Leadership. King’s goal is to study how hip hop has had an effect on leadership, highlighting how the sub-culture role has shaped activism and community service. This storytelling project is also a part of his doctoral work.
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”
Growing up as a kid in South Dallas I saw many things, some good, some bad. I learned many lessons, some good, some bad. Some of those lessons are still with me to this day. The most important one I learned was the lesson of service, which was shown to me by my grandmother, or MaDear as we called her. Even though we didn’t have much, she always shared with neighbors, and she was always working in her community and her church. MaDear provided service with love, in essence, Volunteering While Black.
There are many Black people across the world doing this work, touching lives and paying their rent for their room on this earth. King Ron is one of those people.
King Ron is not new to this community work but he is new to Dallas. He grew up on the east side of Detroit and has a passion for changing the world. His passion for helping the Black community comes from his upbringing and realizing the systems stacked against Black people. “The reason why I am so passionate about helping the Black community is because I come from the Black community,” says King Ron. “And through everything I experienced in my life, I learned that the odds were against us, and I want to do everything that’s in my power to uplift us, by all means!”
I first met King Ron in late March of this year. He was doing his best to serve the community during the pandemic. King Ron was signing up families and dropping off food boxes all over DFW. This would sometimes take about four hours depending on the route. He was providing a needed service to those without transportation, the focus was on single mothers and the elderly in the Black community.
Earlier this summer, on July 18, King Ron led New Era Dallas and its volunteers in the first Hood 2 Hood event in DFW. During the event, they cleaned, passed out food, and greeted community members in South Dallas/ Fair Park. The multi-generational group of about a dozen volunteers met up at MLK Park armed with donations, a giving spirit, and a U-Haul truck that featured a mobile DJ to provide a soundtrack as they moved through the neighborhood. Residents were welcoming and delighted to have the help New Era provided. King Ron led the group with chants on his bull horn and his infectious energy, exuding greatness.
Like Dr. King once said, “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
New Era Nation was founded in August 2014, the founding chapter started in Detroit, Michigan. As one of the fastest growing pro-Black organizations in the country, their mission is Black empowerment, Black economics, and Black power. They have a host of diverse programs that focus in the areas and issues that plague the black community. Their vision is one man, one woman, one child one community at a time until we are one united race. As of today, New Era Nation has 12 active chapters all across the nation, including Dallas, and they have been able to help thousands of people since COVID-19 hit the nation.
For more information on King Ron and New Era Dallas, along with upcoming events, please visit their Instagram page.
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