PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas April 2023

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and find a path towards c o l l e c t i v e r e p a r a t i o n . S h o u l d e r i n g the weighty responsibility — with its nine coalition groups and 15 current board m e m b e r s , a l o n g s i d e c o m m u n i t y e n g a g e m e n t — is executive director Carlos G o n z a l e z - J a i m e , w h o j o i n e d Transform 1012 last September, leading day-to-day operations. (Gonzalez-Jaime is one half of a Texas power couple; his husband is Dr. Agustín Arteaga, director of the Dallas Museum of Art). Gonzalez- Jaime reflects upon the project's mission and where it stands. Dani Grande: 1012 N. Main Street was originally built as a symbol of white supremacy — a former Ku Klux Klan auditorium — and has been a triggering site for many locals. In 2019, the owners at the time applied for a Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish the building. The City of Fort Worth Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission imposed a six-month delay of demolition because of its historic status. But DNAWORKS, one of the nine organizations that form the c o a l i t i o n , intervened and proposed this new plan. Why do you think it's important to keep the building standing, rather than destroy the dark memory? Carlos Gonzalez- Jaime: I would like to clarify t h a t a l t h o u g h the former owner applied for a C e r t i f i c a t e o f Appropriateness to demolish the building, it was unclear if they ever intended to do that. In our research — we held thousands of conversations with community members — we found that many Fort Worth residents were unaware of the building's origins before Transform 1012 N. Main Street was organized and formed. It was important to us to repurpose the building instead of demolishing it, to acknowledge its role in racism, racial terror, and violence, and use it as a precaution for the future. Through that, we believe our work of radically transforming this building into a center for arts and community healing embodies reparative justice and catalyzes a much-needed dialogue about equity, social justice, and belonging — something that is needed both locally and nationally. Keeping the building is an opportunity to learn from that dark past and to promote public involvement and positive action to secure a better and brighter future for everybody. DG: The name The Fred Rouse Center for Arts and Community Healing carries a significant piece of Fort Worth history a n d p r o m i s e s a j o u r n e y t o r e p a r a t i o n . As part of that journey, will The Center include information/lessons/tours about Fort Worth's ugly past, like the lynching of Mr. Rouse, or will it predominantly focus on progressive movements? CGJ: The Center places an emphasis on strengthening the educational components available to the public, such as featuring the history of the building and race relations in the region, including the story of Mr. Fred Rouse. The Center will house programs focused on truth-telling and reparative justice, storytelling and personal and community response, and economic development to support under-resourced communities. As a cultural hub, The Center will house an exhibition space; a medium- size state-of-the-art theater and rehearsal rooms; and meeting rooms for smaller nonprofit organizations and community groups, along with additional spaces that nourish social connection and creativity. The Center's premises will also include artist and entrepreneur residencies, an urban agriculture and artisans market, and programming to facilitate engagement, dialogue, and community-building. DG: How do you expect the new 1012 N. Main Street building to coexist with Fort Worth and its residents? What do you hope it will become for the city? CGJ: This building was built as a spatial manifestation of a national legacy of violence and racial terror. As the United States moves towards dismantling systems of oppression, Carlos Gonzalez-Jaime Ku Klux Klan Klavern No. 101 Auditorium, dedication postcard, May 18, 1924 (Continued) 82

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