"Love One Another."
The message was in large, 2-foot block pink letters at the Dallas Police Association Vigil shortly following the Dallas Ambush. Hundreds of people saw the message, but not everyone knew who the people holding it were: the North Texas Light Brigade.
In essence, the NTLB promotes messages — typically in reaction to national or worldwide events — by having volunteers hold messages of lighted letters in public spaces, such as overpasses, government buildings, monuments and other highly visible locations.
After a few members of the NTLB witnessed the shooting at the Dallas Ambush, NTLB chose to display the simple message "Love One Another" at the vigil.
"That's the crux of most of the issues we deal with. If we just deal with each other with love, we could solve so many issues," NTLB Organizer Leslie Harris said.
The Light Brigade originated from with the Overpass Light Brigade in Wisconsin. When its first message was well-received, light brigades began popping up all over the country, including Dallas, where Mandalay Trudeau led the charge with blue lights. Harris was among one of the most dedicated members, and when Trudeau headed to Denver to start a new brigade there, Harris began crafting new, pink letters to continue the light brigade in Dallas.
While local brigades are under the national umbrella, they still have the freedom to choose their own messages. The Dallas division typically preaches progressive messages of peace and social justice, according to Harris.
"We try to reach out to the public with messages that they may not normally hear because often those messages are not readily available in the mainstream media," Harris said. "We either do things that are timely, or sometimes there are just messages we've always wanted to put out there that we put out when we feel it's important."
NTLB also held a message following the Orlando shooting, and they marched with the LGBTQ community holding a message.
"One of the great things about the light brigade messages is that they're exponential," Harris said. "We make beautiful photos, not just beautiful messages."
NTLB has a core group of about a dozen members, but some messages inspire a more passionate response, bringing up to 100 people to hold the letters. Harris hopes to have at least one person per every letter board (they're a bit heavy to hold) at each event.
"We try to remember to always put some joy into our gatherings, and I think it gives us a sense of empowerment to be able to share collectively in spreading a message that we think is important," Harris said.
A full-time activist volunteering with a number of organizations, Harris is in charge of making new letters when the messages require them, a very time consuming process that's difficult on the hands. She begins with plastic panels, punches holes in them, and then inserts the holiday string of lights into the holes. The hour-long process is never quite over, however, as she is constantly recharging and changing batteries.
"Sometimes I get really tired and it takes a really long time to get everything prepared, but then I get there and I see faces of all these smiling friends who are all gathering for a cause we think is important. I always come home feeling great.