FORT WORTH, Texas — Many of you have a choice about where you are living right now. You might be living in your hometown, or a new job brought you to the area.
Wherever you are, a ZIP code is more than just numbers or where you lay your head at night.
You can point out where Fort Worth is on a map. What you may not know is 76104 is reported to have the lowest life expectancy rate in the state, according to 2019 research from UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Shawn Lassiter is someone who knows the Fort Worth community of 76104 like the back of her hand, even though she is not a tour guide.
"This was the first Black funeral home," she said while driving by Baker Funeral Home at 301 E. Rosedale Street.
Her knowledge does not come from familiarity. It come from intention.
“To do the work, you have to know the place,” Lassiter said of her mission.
The work she’s talking about is promoted on her license plate, which reads "Braver." It's short for Braver Together, an organization she’s founded. The mission is to uplift the people in the Fort Worth community by giving them access, resources and a fighting chance to be greater than what statistics show.
“Health care, food insecurities, housing and employment or business," Lassiter said of the list of issues that 76104 faces.
A Black community filled with beautiful history gets overshadowed by a disproportionate reality. Numbers show 66.7 years is how long scientists say you'll have living there, compared to 78.5 years for the entire state.
"It's really startling. I mean, it's pretty ironic that in the hospital district, Black people have the lowest life expectancy in the state of Texas," she continued.
Lassiter is not in this fight alone. Katrina Carpenter is the co-owner of Carpenter’s Cafe, where soul and comfort food collide.
"We wanted to change the narrative. We wanted to show people that soul food means anything that makes your soul happy," said Carpenter.
A shorter time on Earth isn’t the only problem this community faces. Business owners, especially ones of color, struggle to breathe life into their operations.
"It's sickening," Carpenter said.
Together these ladies work to play "catch up" and meet basic needs, which they call "non-negotiables." If you think 76104’s issues are not your own, Lassiter says at least consider one thing.
"Any part of your city, any part of your body that isn't healthy, it will ultimately make the entire body or the entire city unhealthy," she said.