East Dallas shows mixed emotions as Ebola hits close to home

Photo by Danny Fulgencio
Photo by Danny Fulgencio

If Facebook is any indication, many neighbors are increasingly concerned about Dallas’ second confirmed Ebola patient living right here in the neighborhood.

Although many are nervous about what this means for their own safety, the East Dallas community has also shown great concern for Nina Pham, the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas nurse who cared for the first Ebola patient, and the wellbeing of officials and medical staff who are currently working in the thick of the outbreak.

Photo by Brittany Nunn
Photo by Brittany Nunn

All this was highlighted last night during a prayer meeting hosted by Munger Place Church, where dozens of neighbors gathered to pray for safety and strength. The service was open to all community members, regardless of belief, so Rev. Andrew Forrest, who led the service, noted that some of the participants were not regular members of the church.

Throughout the meeting, Forrest stressed the need to show love in the midst of fear. During the service, there was no discussion regarding neighbors’ thoughts or fears about the situation. Rather, the service centered around prayer and worship led by music director Kate Miner.

With so many unanswered questions, any new information regarding Ebola is vital, and the pursuit of new information has brought local, state and national media to our doorsteps.

Even the prayer service last night drew at least a dozen reporters. As neighbors gathered inside, news crews lined up on the sidewalk out front, ready to shoot video of the crowd leaving the sanctuary and maybe catch a comment or two.

Photo by Danny Fulgencio
Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Although many neighbors want as much correct information about Ebola as they can get, Philip Kingston, The Dallas City Council member who represents East Dallas, pointed out that the city’s communication strategy to alert East Dallas neighbors “has been flawed,” according to a story by the Dallas Morning News.

The article reports that Kingston particularly criticized Sunday’s effort. After the second case was confirmed, the effort to alert the surrounding community included phone calls to neighbors, informational pamphlets being left on doorsteps and police officers knocking on doors during the early hours of the morning. Due to how many phone calls he received, Kingston thinks the effort probably did more to stir up fear than to dispel it.

On the Lakewood, Dallas Facebook page, neighbors discussed ways to show “love, support, and encouragement” for Pham.

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