Change was on Charles Workman's
mind, as the affable community activist drove into Columbus Village on a Sunday afternoon this past February.He
waved to residents, and the young men standing around greeted him warmly, a few even teasingly punching the 56-year-old's arm.Workman, a coordinator for the Texas Justice Network, a non-profit group advocating criminal justice reform, was attempting to gin up attendance for a March bus ride at $25 a head from Hearne to the state Capitol.
...Workman, a Baptist minister, grew up in Hearne.
"We got a lot of work to do.I've never seen this many young men say 'I want to help to do something,'" he
said."We got to teach our young men, teach them to stop doing things."Workman
reminded a couple of men who said they didn't have the money for the bus trip about an upcoming local hip-hop function focused on education.Later, driving through Hearne, he
offered a sobering assessment.
Only one drug sting defendant ever went to trial, Corvian Workman, stepson of Charles
case ended with a deadlocked jury in early 2001.
understands the dynamic of Hearne-style justice as well as anyone.
new job helping the community has reenergized him.He
has become the point person in a local civil rights crusade in Hearne.
recently organized town hall style meetings on voter education, enlisted clergy for help, and led weekend brainstorming sessions."We've got to get something for the kids to do because they're just idle," he
said."We want to build an infrastructure, and get jobs." At the urging of Workman
and others, Texas lawmakers have come to the hamlet over the last several months.Rep.
For Charles Workman
, it would just be great for the government to put its resources toward helping the community rather than kicking in its doors."There's a lot of a need," Workman