The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


MSS Works to Change Stereotypes of Urban Youth in Dallas


Growing up, 20-year-old Bab Adetiba, a political science major at the University of Texas at Arlington, remembered Southwest Oak Cliff being an affluent area within the African American community of Dallas, with residents striving for success. As he got older he recalled a gradual decline in the neighborhood.

“When I was young, I would ride around the city with my mother and enjoy looking out the window at the houses and people,” said Adetiba. “Over time things started to deteriorate. Seeing poverty, homelessness, and abandoned buildings, I would become uneasy.”

Seeing this decline helped Adetiba realize he did not want to grow up contributing to the negative stereotypes surrounding urban communities, instead he wanted to find solutions to change those stereotypes.

“We really felt compelled to do something,” said Adetiba.

In November of 2011, Adetiba and two of his childhood friends, Eric July, 21, an athlete and criminal justice major at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, and Dave Newhouse, 21, an audio arts and acoustics major at Columbia College Chicago, started a grassroots organization called Minorities Seeking Solutions. They wanted to do more than just complain about issues. They wanted to enact change by becoming a voice in the community.

“They called me one day with the idea of this organization and I was all for it,” said Newhouse. “Why sit and complain about my people like everybody else when I could actually attempt to inspire the behavior and attitudes, by showing statistics.”

Some of the statistics Newhouse is referring to coincide with findings from the 2009 Center for Disease Control report. Texas is currently the fourth highest state with reported diagnosed HIV/AIDS cases, with African Americans making up nearly 33 percent of new cases reported each year.

Texas is also plagued by rising abortion, poverty, and high school dropout rates. According to the CDC, women between the ages of 20 to 24 constitute 33 percent of all abortions in the country. Texas is currently ranked third with nearly 81,000 reported abortion cases. Other numbers include rising poverty rates at 17.6 percent and high school dropout rates at 10.4 percent.

“The community needs leadership and community activists to work toward resolving community concerns like dropout rates, poverty, abortion and AIDS,” said Adetiba. “Someone needs to help find solutions to the problems. We need action.”

And action is what MSS is taking.

The men of MSS have already begun to tackle these problems by organizing forums at local bookstores and area colleges. MSS is currently planning its next open forum discussion for April at Jokae’s African American bookstore. For more information about the event, email Bab Adetiba at [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>

The young men also donated food, clothes, and shoes to a local church during the Christmas holiday, and plan to do more. Parish Pastor Raphael Adebayo of RCCG Winners Assembly in Dallas, were the recipients of this good deed.

“I love what the guys are doing,” said Adebayo. “To be so young and want to help the community, and not be selfish, but come out and serve shows what an impact a little service can make.”

Adebayo’s downtown church is host to about 120 homeless people every Tuesday as part of its initiative to feed and assist the needs of their homeless community.

Adebayo considers MSS a good organization that can change the negative perceptions surrounding the black community. He hopes their leadership will motivate others, young and old, to make a difference and give back.

“There are no local role models for young kids today,” said Adebayo. “All they see is people that emulate negative stereotypes, like selling drugs. Bab and the guys encourage and emulate good behavior and positive community involvement.”

Dianna Alvarez, Communications and Public Affairs Coordinator for the North Texas Food Bank, encourages organizations like MSS, which work to spread the word about the importance of service and community involvement.

“There is a need that is much, much, greater than we can provide and we need the support of everyone,” said Alvarez. “Financial donations are always welcome, but the community’s voice and their time go further.”

July agrees with Alvarez. He recalls growing up and hanging with the wrong crowd and some of the trouble it created. But now he’s learning to use his voice as a powerful tool for change.

“Our generation and our mentality is where most of the problems lie,” said July. “I grew up seeing a lot of violence and living and participating in a lifestyle similar to the negative lifestyles we’re trying to change. It’s up to us to make that change.”

Behavioral change is ultimately what MSS hopes to model to generate a thriving community. They also hope their age and ability to relate will appeal to young people and provide positive alternatives.

Like July and Adetiba, Newhouse understands other community activists have struggled to make a difference in the African American community and realizes change will not come overnight. But the impactful message Newhouse expressed, inspired by some Lupe Fiasco lyrics, sums up their vision perfectly.

“You’ll never be a factor unless you’re an actor.”

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