In 2016, Next Generation Action Network’s Dominique Alexander Became A Leader For Dallas’ Frustrated Youth And Minority Communities.
Love them or hate them, large-scale protests are here to stay.
Of course, assembling like-minded individuals to take time out of their schedules to march in the streets is a task not everyone is cut out to handle.
But, then again, not everyone is Dominique Alexander, the founder of the Next Generation Action Network. In Dallas, if you want to inspire groups in large numbers to gather for a cause, he’s your man. And, even though media outlets have put him and his family through the ringer over the course of these past few years, Alexander’s resolve is perhaps stronger now than it ever has been.
Born and raised in Dallas, Alexander graduated from A. Maceo Smith High School in 2007. He then went on to become an ordained minister at The True Love Missionary Baptist Church in West Dallas. But as with most of us — at least the honest ones — the minister has a past. He’s racked up multiple probation violations, caused serious bodily injury to a child, forged checks and was involved in a car theft have made him a pariah in certain media circles.
No, Alexander is not a saint. But he is an inspiration: His NGAN rallies regularly draw hundreds — if not thousands — of fervent supporters, with Alexander leading the charge each time.
See More In Our Most Interesting Dallasites of 2016 Series:
• In 2016, Luis Olvera Moved His Taco Business Out Of The Backyard, Inside A Brick-And-Mortar And Into The National Spotlight.
• Eleven-Year Old Stand-Up Comic Saffron Herndon Appeared on the Today Show in 2015. And, Somehow, Her 2016 Was Even Bigger.
This past July, in a day that will live in infamy as the deadliest assault on law enforcement in U.S. history, Alexander and Southern Baptist minister Jeff Hood organized the march that started at Belo Park in Downtown Dallas that ended in Micah Johnson’s assassination of five Dallas police officers. Others may have balked after having their name tied to such a tragedy, but Alexander kept on with his protest efforts: In November, his organization participated in a nationwide revolt against president-elect Donald Trump’s nomination by consecutively marching for three-nights through parts of the city.
After a year filled with up-and-downs, we caught up with Alexander and asked him to put his past 12 months in perspective.
It’s been a crazy year, and I’m sure you could attest to that. What did you think of 2016?
I think 2016 was a very interesting year. We saw a lot of different things change in our society. We saw history repeat itself. My grandmother would always tell me, “There’s nothing new under the sun,” and we saw a series of America’s past come, and face them head on. Particularly here in Dallas, we saw a lot of different things — especially in the lighting of our police brutality movement and our justice reform movement. We’ve been faced with a lot of adversity. But as an overall picture, 2016 was definitely an eye-opening year [with] a campaign to stay woke.
Looking back at the Dallas police shooting that happened after your march, what would you have changed?
I think things like that can take a negative impact. It started to put the blame game on a lot of different things. Although this great tragedy happened, I don’t think people’s conscious level of what happened was actually brought to the table. It’s a sad indictment, but we have some issues to address and we have to address these issues.
Do you feel you accomplished what you wanted to accomplish with the march in July?
I think, overall, we accomplished great things. I believe it allowed our voices to be heard in a major way, and it gave us a platform for our voices so people could understand that police brutality is a problem in America. There are cases in history and facts to support that officers are killing young African American males and females at a higher rate than their counterparts in any other race. I think it gave a huge voice towards it, but I think sometimes we [should] go back and refocus and re-brand our message in a way that we need to deliver it. I think every time we [must] craft ourselves to be able to work in an efficient way. But, overall, I feel our message was put out in a great way.
I know you were arrested on outstanding parking tickets just after the march. Can you expand on that a little?
It was a toll-tag ticket or whatever. Some of the set-up tickets or whatever were already taken care of, but there was the toll-tag ticket. I’ll tell you, as an activist, as a core-believer — and I tell people all the time — just because something is a law does not mean it is just. I’ve been a huge advocate in not paying, and I don’t advocate for people to promote it, but this is my core-belief. I do not believe in paying for a toll-tag. I don’t believe in paying for a toll that tax-payers pay for and yet a private company makes all the money on it. We pay one hundred percent of this toll road and, on the flipside, someone makes money off it. For all our state legislators and state senators to take kickbacks from it, I don’t like that at all. I don’t support that, and that’s a problem. But, overall, it was only a [problem] to discredit me of what I’m doing and to confront the things that the elites in the establishment do not want to be brought to the table. I’m continuously bringing it to the table, and they don’t want that, and that’s the problem.
Where do you draw inspiration from to continue doing what you’re doing?
I draw my ultimate inspiration from the father, the son and the holy ghost. I’m a full-fledged, spiritual, guided Christian. I give my spiritual guidance, and that’s what strengthens me, my relationship with the father. Outside of that, I [get] strong influence from young leaders that have been here before, like Martin Luther King Jr., people like Malcolm X, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela… all these great leaders. It allows me to keep on going because I know that sometimes as an activist and social justice leader, when God places you there, everything is not going to be a popularity contest and some stuff, everybody isn’t going to understand. I’ve done a lot of different things that people didn’t understand while I was doing it. But now, when they look back at it, it’s: “Oh yeah, you were right about that.” So I always tell people that what I do is not a popularity contest, I’m going to do what God tells me to do. When God tells me to do it, he doesn’t tell one million people the same thing. The problem is — in our society — we need fervent leaders, we need fervent people. Not just leaders, but we need people who believe in their core being and just stand on their own two feet and stand on what they believe in and trust that they are doing the right thing and move forward and go without fear. That’s the one thing that I have done, lead without fear.
Where exactly are you leading your followers?
One of our tasks is criminal justice reform, as well as economic justice and different things of that nature. Next Generation Action Network was an organization to cultivate young leaders driven towards the eradication of social injustice to address community and civil reform, so it was a base to give an avenue to address these issues that affect them in a major way, and I think society has silenced the voice of the generation to come. This organization has given them a platform to address what it needed and stand and say enough is enough.
What are your thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement and what they stand for in comparison to what you do?
Overall, I stand by the sentiment of saying “black lives matter” because I know that BLM is aligning themselves with history and facts and statistics, and no matter what somebody is trying to say, if they’d just pick up a book and read it, they’d realize it. We say “black lives matter” because poor, young African American children were bombed in a church years ago in Alabama and many people tell us to just get over it. No, that wound is still here. We say that because in 2016 — not even a couple months ago — nine people were killed inside of a church just trying to pray. We say these things because Sandra Bland lived. We say these things because Malcolm X lived. We say these things because Dr. King lived. We say these things continuously because of what we see as a historical beacon and a historical fact, so I stand fully with them, one hundred percent, on saying “black lives matter.” I tell my friends, my brothers and sisters that say “all lives matter,” that’s the point. We say “black lives matter” to get you to the knowledge of saying “all lives matter.” But what I don’t understand is that when you say “all lives matter,” why do you say it back to me out of anger? Why don’t you say “all lives matter” back to me in love? We’re trying to get you to the knowledge of saying “all lives matter,” but now the rhetoric of the people that say this with so much anger, saying this, that and the third. But it stops you from getting to the point of why we’re saying “black lives matter.” We say this to get you to say, “Yes, I believe black lives matter and I believe all lives matter and I believe that black lives matter is not trying to alienate anyone, that they’re just trying to say, ‘Hey, look…we’re tired of what’s going on, we’re tired of being the bottom of the bottom, we’re tired of being ran over, we’re tired of being forgotten, we’re tired of being ignored and [told] our feelings and compassion doesn’t matter and we don’t matter in society and our communities don’t matter. We’re tired of being ran over when every community in this country gets a tax incentive and the black community don’t get nothing, we’re tired of it.'” So that’s the reason we say “black lives matter.” Not to alienate, but to ask people to stand with us and take heed to a historical fact and a historical backing.”
A lot of people have come out in response to some of the things our president-elect Donald Trump has said. Where do you see the state of African Americans, Muslim Americans, Hispanic Americans and those in the LGBTQ community in our nation heading forward?
I believe there are a lot of things that tend to be an open assassination and organizations like this — like ACLU, and NGAN — we’re going to be a beacon of making sure people’s rights are being protected. But I tell you, I am very well-prepared to take on what is needed. But I also am here to tell people that we are in for a very rude awakening.
What do you mean by “taking on what is needed”?
What I mean is talking about all of the different people that Donald Trump is appointing to his cabinet. We’re talking about the housing secretary being Ben Carson. What does Ben Carson know about being housing secretary? Clearly, he forgot that he was on Section 8. Clearly, he forgot his mom was on food stamps when he was raised. So what is he going to do for the millions of Americans that need housing assistance — because he clearly forgot that in this election. We talk about the Health and Human Services person that he appointed… oh my God, beyond scary. We talk about the defense secretary. What I’m saying is, all these candidates, these people he’s putting in place, I already know where they come from. There’s no new trick. The problem is people don’t realize they’re not about to do anything [newer] than what they did in the 1950s and the ’60s, because they’re not that smart. They’re going to bring the same stuff and do the same things they did before. But since we’ve went so silent and sat back so long instead of getting rid of this contamination in our country, now we’re about to be brought back to where we were before.
I saw that you recently had a bit of bout with Pastor Jeffrees of First Baptist on Fox News. He referred to you as a “thug,” and I wanted to know what your thoughts are about that word and what it means to you as a black male?
I feel it’s a very disrespectful term because Pator Jeffrees don’t know me, he’s never had a conversation with me. I’ve never met pastor Jeffrees personally. He has yet to respond to my letter that I opened to him. I want to know what the definition of a “thug” is to him, in his terms. Because I can’t see nothing but him calling me a 21st century nigga, you know what I’m saying? My problem with this is that, you are a man of the cloth. I started this interview by saying I am a believer, I am a Christian, but the bible tells us not to judge, the bible tells us to love thy neighbor as we love ourselves. The bible tells us that all have fallen short of the glory of God, the bible tells us that when Jesus Christ came to the 12 disciples, these weren’t the religious leaders or those that had it all together. He got the fishermen, the tax collectors, he got the lowest of the low in the present sense of that time. At the same time, when Pastor Jeffrees openly rebuked me, he also quoted an epistle. An epistle is a letter that is in the bible. Many people think the book of Romans, Corinthians, Timothy… those are letters, not books. Those are open letters by the apostle Paul. But the problem is that the apostle Paul was a murderer; he had a past but he brought some of the most pure, truthful, eloquent scriptures ever — that people have been quoting for years. But I tell him: You call me a thug, but sit in your pulpit and quote a murderer; you contradict yourself, my brother. You contradict yourself on what your statement is. I tell people all the time that I’ve traveled across this country and I show people love. And I might not agree with everything that person does, but I’m going to show them love and compassion because that’s what the bible tells me to do. I might have a personal preference in my life, but my personal preference shouldn’t be everybody else’s choice. Although I am not a gay man, I stand with the LGBTQ community, and I stand by them because the bible tells us that everybody has the power to choose whatever they so desire. So, overall, I hate that statement. I hate the open assassination that the church is doing to the minority community and all of these different things. And they’re misquoting God and what the bible truly means. Pastor Jeffress represents the hate that has been set in our historical churches for years. First Baptist of Dallas has been historically a hate church — a church of racist bigotry — and if any man can go on national TV and lie and say he never said anything about Donald Trump inside his pulpit and I can go on Youtube and pull up about five videos of him preaching? See, people have to question exactly what they’re saying because, when we come to them, we got our facts straight. So when he opens his mouth and lies like that… The problem was when the pastor openly tried to assassinate my character, the people that came to his aid and the people that flooded my social media when he was on Fox News were those hateful people. So, here you are — a man, a Christian — and the people that come to take on your banner are hateful people that put comments on my children’s pictures on Facebook, saying they’re going to be deplorable like their father. But they came when this pastor went on national TV. So I tell them he’s a representation of his fruit, and his fruit flooded my timeline with despicable comments, and that’s what Pastor Jeffrees stands for — because that’s what I saw. Pastor Jeffrees had an opportunity to meet with me, and he did not accept it.
Looking toward 2017, what are yours and NGAN’s plans moving forward?
NGAN is trying to grow and stretch out in a major way. We have a couple of standardized chapters in New York, Washington D.C., L.A., Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio. So we’re trying to spread out in a major way to address the needs of our people and the needs of our members. We’re trying to collect all the different things needed to make an impact in a major way. That’s what we’re doing. And hopefully we can bring major impact.
How can like-minded individuals get involved?
You can go on the website and join to get involved and be briefed. Our staff is working diligently and very hard every day to build the infrastructure to take on what is going on.