In 2013, a serial rapist terrorized women in Lake Highlands, assaulting three women in their own homes. But, as often happens in our community, Lake Highlands friends came together to turn heartbreak into healing and fear into fun. They created White Rock Que, a barbecue cook off for charity, and that first year’s 40 attendees had a great time and raised money for a great organization – the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center.
Elizabeth Pierce, one of the event’s original founders, shares how it all happened.
“We are fortunate to have a terrific group of neighbors in our area that bonded instantly over a variety of things, including smoking meat. Night after night, rotating homes and sharing BBQ led to a friendly debate over who could smoke the best brisket. We knew if everyone cooked a brisket, we would need some help eating it, so we reached out to neighbors and friends to join for a friendly get together and brisket competition. Each year the event has grown bigger and better. In 2015, we introduced a ribs division and realized that we could use this fun event to do some good.”
The group unanimously chose to give the proceeds to the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center.
“One of our founders is one of those survivors [of the LH rapist],” says Elizabeth. “As a group of neighbors, we came together, supported each other and endured some scary times side-by-side prior to the arrest. We witnessed first-hand the incredible support DARCC provides survivors, their families, their friends and their community. The work that they do makes such a difference in bringing a sense of empowerment and wholeness back to a survivor’s life and providing understanding and guidance to their support network. Additionally, we felt compelled to support the education and provide awareness surrounding sexual assault, helping people understand its pervasiveness and getting this important conversation started. DARCC will be on-site at the 2016 Caucus to answer any questions.”
This year’s White Rock Que, the 4th annual, will be held June 4th from 5-9 p.m. at Oak Highlands Brewery.
“This is our first year at OHB,” says Elizabeth. “They have been such great partners. Last year we blocked off Kitridge Drive at Ferndale. Because of the growth, we really maxed out our space in the neighborhood and decided to move it to a local business to further engage the community.”
Tickets, $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12 and available online here, get you all the BBQ you can eat, all the water and lemonade you can drink, plus a vote in the BBQ competition. Six pitmaster teams, including several old pros and a few first-time competitors, are preparing their secret formulas and methodologies now. Oak Highlands Brewery and Lake Highlands Creamery will be selling their beer and ice cream, with both donating a percentage of profits.
“The sense of community in Lake Highlands is irreplaceable,” adds Elizabeth, praising her White Rock Que partners Amber and Nate Kotschi, Cassandra and Eric Jenkins, Tricia and Dustin McCoy and husband John Pierce. “We are so fortunate to live in a neighborhood that truly embodies the spirit of community. Seeing the neighborhood come together in 2013 and support one another – strangers and friends – was really something to be proud of. Challenging situations bring out the worst or best in people, and it certainly seemed to bring out the best in Lake Highlands.”