Before South Oak Cliff High School’s football season opener, everyone in the locker room gathered around Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings for a pregame speech. Young men, eye-black smeared across their cheeks, listened as Rawlings spoke about teamwork, football and the importance of South Oak Cliff to the city.
Then, almost out of nowhere, Rawlings shifted gears to what’s become a favorite topic: domestic violence and what it means to be a real man.
After a high-profile rally against abuse that drew thousands of men to the City Hall plaza in March, Rawlings has continued his campaign out of the public spotlight. Some of his most effective anti-domestic violence work has been talking to young men like the football players, meeting with the police chief, and dining with the district attorney.
He’s spent most of his time working quietly behind the scenes to bridge the gaps in a disjointed criminal justice system.
“I like to get in and find systemic issues that need to be changed,” Rawlings told The Dallas Morning News (http://dallasne.ws/HmbkBz ), sitting down for an interview during October, which is National Domestic Violence Month. “That’s more rewarding to me because I feel like I’m making a difference for the long term.”