The group's mission, says organizer Sendolo Diaminah, is to "further the agenda of justice in Durham," particularly southeast-central Durham, which has not benefited from the downtown renaissance and the bio-tech distinction of Research Triangle Park.
"We're here to increase the power and influence of the working class in Durham, particularly in black and Latino communities, the people who have the least amount of voice in the city," says Lauren Merin of People's Durham.
The group formed in 2009, when Diaminah, Raymond Eurquhart (a previous Citizen Award winner) and several volunteer activists and community organizers met inside the cramped conference room at Southside Neighborhood Association Outreach Center at Enterprise and South streets.
Since then, organizers have worked to coordinate community projects and build membership at McDougald Terrace and other public housing developments. But the group's work goes beyond redevelopment and tenants' rights. In 2010, the group's organizers helped lobby the Durham County Board of Commissioners and the City Council to fully fund the public schools budget. Budget cuts had put 185 teaching positions on the chopping block. The group convinced the commissioners to approve a new property tax to compensate for the financial shortfall.
The local debate over school funding revealed a greater truth about Durham, says Diaminah. "Durham has become increasingly polarized," he says. "It's great that good things are happening. But that's being used as cover as black Durham and other disadvantaged communities are being segregated from that growth."
Merin says the Lincoln situation dovetails with another of the organization's goals: A $300,000 redevelopment grant won by the Durham Housing Authority could mean that McDougald Terrace, one of the city's largest public housing communities, will eventually be torn down. People's Durham wants to ensure that residents in that neighborhood have a "real voice in the revitalization and redevelopment process," says Merin.
- Sendolo Diaminah is a black, queer communist living and organizing in Durham, North Carolina. Sendolo is a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization and an organizer with People’s Durham, a new organization committed to building a participatory democracy led by low-income people and people of color.
- Bryan Proffitt
- Holly Jordan
- Cameron Hall
McDougald Terrace resident's council team
Sendolo Diaminah May 1, 2014 ·
Sendolo Diaminah tomorrow (friday 5/2) is election day for McDougald Terrace resident's council. People’s Durham members Tina Overby and Sharon Nelson are running for treasurer and asst. treasurer. so proud of them and their vision of community transformation from the inside out!
May 1, 2014 at 9:33pm
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- Indyweek, People's Durham: Giving residents a say in their destiny By Vernal Coleman January 30, 2013 Special Issues » Citizen Awards
- Center for political Education, Where is the Left At?A Discussion with Cindy Weisner, Sendolo Diaminah, and Carl Bloice Monday, January 10th, 7:00pm
- The Hillside Chronicle, October 8, 2012, People's Durham reaches out to Voters
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