Five Things Known About Mysterious Sender of ‘College Pledge’ Letter

Whether any Park Cities Democrats have signed that Dallas Justice Now pledge remains unknown so far.

DJN’s letter, which in at least one case arrived by FedEx, chastens recipients not to let their children apply to Ivy League and other top schools, thereby creating opportunities for people of color.

I knew it was fake and designed to cause a rise the first time I saw this nonsense

Casie Tomlin

With or without signatures, DJN has achieved this much: It stirred up social media chatter, drew national and international headlines, and got suspicious editors and other residents to dig into its origins.

“I knew it was fake and designed to cause a rise the first time I saw this nonsense,” University Park resident Casie Tomlin tweeted.

DJN representatives in emails, web posts, and press releases have labeled as racists those who question the organization’s social justice bonafides.

They have yet to grant interview requests from People Newspapers.

“I understand that our historic College Pledge created quite a stir so much so that I was forced to go into hiding due to racist threats against me and my kids,” came one reply to the email address for a Jamila Nall listed on the DJN letter.

Here’s what else we know about DJN:

  1. It’s new. DJN was incorporated July 22 in Delaware, according to the state’s website. A certificate of incorporation’ lists Nall as a “director of the company.”
  2. Early claims of having 501c4 nonprofit status aren’t supported by searches of the Internal Revenue Service database for Dallas Justice, Dallas Justice Now, and DJN. Nall later clarified that DJN is applying for 501c4 status.
  3. Its website’s creation links back to Arena, a political consulting firm with a host of GOP clients across the country. Dallas Antifascists found the connection by researching through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. “We were working with a client, and when we learned what their objective was, the project was terminated,” Arena COO Clint Brown said. “Unfortunately, it appears someone from the group copied the original code containing a linto the abandoned ‘under construction’ website, which linked to our server.” Brown didn’t identify the “client.”
  4. The Dallas address listed on the DJN letter belongs to a seventh-floor suite at the Spaces co-working space at The Epic in Deep Ellum. Tim Rogers, editor of our sister publication D Magazine, tried to drop off a letter there for Michele Washington, described as a spokesperson or founder of DJN. Employees at Spaces were unfamiliar with the organization. After checking the office, they accepted the letter but would only confirm that a “real person” was in the office, not the identity of the person or the organization.
  5. Early news coverage of DJN came from Dallas City Wire. An April story on that Metric Media News network website claimed eighth-graders in Highland Park ISD were asked to complete a survey about their gender identities. Highland Park Middle School principal Christopher Miller called that “factually incorrect.”

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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