An HIV testing clinic and LGBT center operated by Abounding Prosperity, Inc in South Dallas now faces a daunting rebuilding effort after their facilities were destroyed by a fire started by an arsonist on the morning of July 7. No one was inside at the time.
According to a spokesperson of Dallas Fire-Rescue, “the fire was determined to be incendiary in nature, and was set at some point at the rear of the building.”
Meanwhile, the community center is seeking to raise funds for their rehabilitation effort with a GoFundMe that has accumulated just over $8,000 of its $50,000 goal.
“This community center is an important operation in AP, Inc.’s mission to assist individuals living with HIV/AIDS and other communities that are at risk for contracting the virus,” states Abounding Prosperity’s founder Kirk Myers. “The Community Center is also a place where members of the LGBT community gain access to computers for a variety of needs including employment, educational, and insurance; in addition to those who use the safe space [for] fellowship.”
Because the two-story center was rendered unusable by the fire, Abounding Prosperity will set up a mobile HIV testing facility outside—though, as employees point out, this offers less privacy to those needing their services.
“[The fire is] an attack on us. It’s an attack on the community. It’s an attack on humanity,” employee Jacoby Wright tells NBC DFW. “Whoever did this: You didn’t just destroy a building.”
Located in a predominantly African American and low-income neighborhood, the center, as Assistant Director Tamara Stephnie reminds us, was bringing safe and reliable healthcare to an otherwise underserved community.
“These services are not easily accessible to a lot of people and for someone to come and destroy it—it does, it makes me very angry,” Stephnie responds.
Those with information about the attack on the center are asked to contact the Fire Investigation Office at 214-670-4319.