Local NewsRioters Damage Dallas Restaurant that Employs At-Risk Youth

Café Momentum aims to help youth seeking to change paths from delinquency to productivity, and suffered substantial damages during Dallas' protests.
June 8, 2020
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A restaurant whose mission is to help adolescents improve their lives through work and mentorship was among the businesses that suffered from vandalism during the riots on May 29 in Dallas, D Magazine reported last week. 

Café Momentum on Pacific Avenue in Dallas provides employment and community support to teenagers seeking to change paths from delinquency to productivity.

The restaurant says that they cooperate with the Dallas County Juvenile Justice Department to place youth in their 12-month internship program that teaches culinary arts, among other skills, then places students in gainful employment after they’ve graduated from the internship.

“Case managers help to work through issues such as anger management, trauma recovery, fatherlessness and abandonment,” Café Momentum says on its website.

Café Momentum’s founder, Chad Houser, reported that one of the café’s front windows was smashed, but the restaurant was not looted.

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Houser appeared to partially attribute the damage done to his facility to comments made by President Donald Trump.

“My heart hurts for people who are this angry, because they have every right to be,” Houser told D Magazine. “I don’t condone vandalizing a place like Café Momentum, but I get it. Unfortunately, when you have the most powerful person in the world tweeting racial [epithets], he’s gaslighting people to be angrier, and as a result, people suffer.”

The Texan reported last Tuesday that Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall said that the city would not condone or allow vandalism or any violation of the law. She emphasized that lawbreakers would be arrested.

Demonstrators across the state are protesting unjust police violence after multiple controversial incidents this year involving law enforcement, most notoriously the death of George Floyd, who was suffocated by fired police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25. Chauvin has been charged with murder.

The Minneapolis City Council voted on Sunday to set in motion the abolition of their police department, favoring “community-based public safety programs,” in response to the Memorial Day incident and subsequent protests. The Minneapolis Police Department answers to Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat, who opposed the city council’s move.

Other incidents in Texas and the U.S. have drawn attention and criticism.

The Texan reported on Thursday that protesters in the capital decried the death of Michael “Mike” Ramos, who was killed by an Austin police officer on April 24 after Ramos attempted to escape custody in his vehicle.

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore announced on May 29 she will move to convene a grand jury in response to Ramos’ controversial death, which is still being investigated.

An incident in New York State has also fueled public outrage.

Two police officers in Buffalo, N.Y. were recently charged with felonies after a video went viral of the two men pushing a 75-year-old man to the ground after he approached them during a demonstration following the city’s 8 p.m. curfew.

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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."

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