From Kelsey Dawson, she/her. Queer Activist and Durham Service Industry Laborer.
I #chooseDurham because the changes I’ve watched happen in Durham over the last decade plus have increasingly made me worried for Durham's future as a diverse and affordable city. Durham needs smart and creative problem solving within our leadership structures to create change that leads us away from gentrification, housing inequality, and police brutality. I believe Marion is dedicated to growing and supporting all citizens of Durham’s needs, not just the super wealthy and white. We would all benefit from the accountability, brilliance, and care Marion would bring to the role of City council member. Her professional and lived experiences make her uniquely qualified to address our cities complex issues with strength and gusto.
From Marcus Morrow, he/him. Former PA board member.
I'm excited for Marion to represent Durham because I've seen her tirelessly work to understand the needs of the underserved in our community. Marion is the rare type of leader who not only advocates for the powerless in our community, but also has the experience and knowledge of how policy can affect change. I love Durham and I want a council with leaders who care about creating a community that embraces equality and fairness for Durham residents of different classes and race. I believe that Marion is that type of leader and I'm glad she will be representing Durham.
From Brian Kennedy, he/him. Former Human Relations Commission member.
When I first met Marion Johnson we were working at the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center. There Marion worked as a policy advocate, leading coalitions both locally and statewide. Marion contains the rare combination of a wonk and an advocate. She deeply understands the ends and outs of local policy. She has the training and skill set to crunch the numbers, analyze the econometrics, and write the policy briefs.
But much more importantly, Marion cares. She cares about equity. She cares about justice. She cares about fairness. Marion served as MY Union Chair, UAW Local 2320. She fought for a fair and transparent salary structure because she knew that was key in ensuring pay equity. Marion took the role of union chair not because it was glorious and easy (spoiler: it was neither). She took on the role because she saw a need and knew she could fight to make a difference. And she did fight. And she did make a difference. Because that’s who Marion T. Johnson is. Marion sees inequity and does the hard work to address it. She sees injustice, and she speaks up. Durham deserves Marion T. Johnson on city council.
Early voting in the 2021 Durham Municipal Primary begins on September 16, and continues every day through October 2. Election Day in the Durham Municipal Primary is Tuesday, October 5.
We need your help getting the word out to voters about the People's Alliance PAC-endorsed slate of candidates. Sign up to volunteer for our progressive slate of candidates! Donate to help defray the cost of our mailer and paid poll workers!
The very helpful information provided by the Durham County Board of Elections about early voting in the Municipal Primary appears below.
From People's Alliance PAC member Millicent Rogers
I first met Councilwoman Caballero at a meeting at E.K. Powe Elementary School. We came together to develop the Bull City Community Schools initiative in our local elementary schools - a vision for transforming schools to serve Durham holistically. Javiera lit up the room and it was clear that she was a natural leader. Javiera worked to bring together diverse groups of people, from several different schools to make them all -- parents, principals, educators, and even some other current elected officials -- understand that there was a sense of urgency to activate the Community Schools Model to address the needs of the whole child.
Javiera has a unique perspective that really brings people together. I would later learn that most of this extends from her story of resilience, and her ability to recognize how the trauma of homelessness, violence, gentrification, and racism can be alleviated by listening to all voices and making policy decisions that are measured, effective and grounded in community needs. As a Councilwoman, she has used her experiences to develop programming that makes Durham a place where immigrants, like herself, and longtime residents such as myself, can all live and thrive. Javiera has been an advocate for so many of the policies that PA has stood for and I am thrilled that we have chosen to stand with her for this election
**AJ Williams will not appear on your ballot in the Primary Election. The Ward 3 race does not have a primary. Look for AJ Williams on your ballot in the General Election.**
From People's Alliance PAC member Mab Segrest
Javiera Caballero, Marion T. Johnson, Mark-Anthony Middleton, AJ Williams, and Dorothy Hairston Mitchell Endorsed!
On Wednesday evening, September 1, members of the People’s Alliance PAC in Durham met to debate and decide which candidates running for municipal office in 2021 would get the group’s endorsement. Over four hundred people attended the virtual meeting.
PA PAC is a political action committee that shares a common vision and membership with the progressive People’s Alliance in Durham. In recent years membership in the People’s Alliance has swelled and the PAC’s influence in elections has grown. Nearly every currently-serving official elected by Durham voters was endorsed by PA PAC. In advance of this year’s endorsement meeting, the PAC solicited responses to questionnaires from candidates running for mayor and city council and those seeking the governor’s judicial appointment to the open District Court seat. PAC volunteers also interviewed the vast majority of the candidates and shared their recommendations at the endorsement meeting.
Endorsement decisions are made by the PAC membership at a meeting in advance of elections every year. At the meeting, PAC committees who have studied the candidates make recommendations, but ultimately the endorsement is decided by a vote of the members after rigorous debate. During Wednesday’s meeting, hundreds of people rose virtually to speak during the debate over these endorsements. The meeting ran late into the night, with over 300 members staying until the very last endorsement decision was made. Candidates value the PA PAC endorsement and work hard within transparent PAC rules to make sure their supporters in the organization get to the meeting. PAC members attend to persuade and be persuaded.
The People’s Alliance endorsements are as follows:
Councilmember Javiera Caballero is the first Latina member of Durham City Council, and we are proud to endorse her to be the first Latina mayor in the Southeast (outside FL). Since her appointment and subsequent election to her seat, she has centered collaboration with community and immigrant justice in her work. She is policy centric and detail oriented, making her every move rooted in racial equity and environmental justice while staying grounded in political reality. In a rapidly changing Durham, Javiera Caballero is the person we need as the next Mayor of Durham.
As a daughter of Nigerian immigrants, and as a fierce advocate for justice for our LGBT communities and for the participation of community in government, Marion T. Johnson is an essential voice in Durham. From her work opposing Amendment One to her chairing of Durham’s experiment in radical and inclusive democracy through Participatory Budgeting, Marion T. Johnson is a necessary leader for our time. We are extremely proud to endorse her for Durham City Council, Ward 1.
Councilmember Mark-Anthony Middleton has been a steadfast voice for community engagement throughout his time on City Council. His championing of Guaranteed Basic Income, his work with immigrant communities, and his willingness to listen to various perspectives and make connections with citizens on a grassroots level are so very necessary as we recover from COVID-19. The People’s Alliance believes that Mark-Anthony Middleton is the best candidate for Durham City Council, Ward 2.
AJ Williams’s extensive work with the Durham Black Mamas’ Bailout, Southerners on New Ground, Durham Beyond Policing, and the We Are the Ones Fund demonstrates a depth of rootedness in community organizing that few others can claim. His unique insights into alternative models of community safety at a time when our city struggles with violence are truly essential. As a fresh voice bringing new ideas, AJ Williams is truly a superb candidate for Durham City Council, Ward 3.
Attorney Dorothy Hairston Mitchell’s long and distinguished career in public service as well as private practice shows a deep and abiding commitment to the application of progressive principles in the judicial system. She is highly qualified and strongly committed to the application of law as true justice. Attorney Hairston Mitchell would be a true champion of those in most need if she is appointed to District Court Judge by Governor Roy Cooper.
These progressive candidates are the most qualified and best prepared to serve the people of Durham, North Carolina, and the nation. PA PAC is dedicated to helping them win.
The PAC’s support of its slate of candidates only begins with the endorsement. PA PAC campaigns for its candidates with organizing, events, mailings, social media, canvassing and poll work. This work is managed by a committee of volunteer PAC coordinators elected by the membership. Members donate money to support the PAC campaign and volunteer for poll work and the many other tasks that are necessary to win elections.
PA PAC will prepare and distribute more information about the candidates as the elections draw nearer. Watch www.peoplesalliancepac.org for more information.
For more information about People’s Alliance and its vision, visit www.durhampa.org.
Each election, PA PAC develops a candidate questionnaire to better understand the candidates' positions on important issues facing Durham. The questionnaires and resumes received to date from candidates for mayor and city council are available below.
People's Alliance members will consider questionnaires, the recommendation of our interview committee, and the testimony of People's Alliance members when voting on endorsements at the People's Alliance PAC endorsement meeting on September 1. Only those registered for the meeting by August 27 at 5 pm who are current members of People's Alliance at that time will receive the link to join the endorsement meeting.
Candidates for Mayor:
Rebecca Harvard Barnes - Questionnaire
Bree Davis - No questionnaire received
Jahnmaud Lane - No questionnaire received
Daryl Quick - No questionnaire received
Candidates for City Council Ward 1
Waldo Fenner - Questionnaire pending
Elizabeth Takla - Questionnaire
Candidates for City Council Ward 2
Robert L. Curtis, Jr. - No questionnaire received
Candidates for City Council Ward 3
AJ Williams - Questionnaire
Leonardo Williams - Questionnaire
People's Alliance PAC will host a virtual endorsement meeting on September 1, 2021. Only current members of the People's Alliance may attend the meeting. Only current members of the People's Alliance who have been members for at least 60 days may vote at the meeting.
View the meeting agenda here.
To participate, your memberships must be current and you must be registered to attend the Zoom meeting by Friday, August 27, 2021 at 5 p.m.
The People's Alliance PAC will decide whether and whom to endorse in the following races:
- Durham City Council Ward 1
- Durham City Council Ward 2
- Durham City Council Ward 3
- Durham Mayor
The People's Alliance PAC will also select a candidate to recommend to Governor Cooper to fill the vacant District Court seat formerly held by The Honorable Brian C Wilks, who was recently appointed to Superior Court.
Questionnaire responses in all races will be made available on the People's Alliance PAC's website.