On Monday January 8, nearly 200 members of the People's Alliance convened to endorse a candidate for appointment to vacant City Council seat. After nearly three hours of debate, PA members voted to recommend Javiera Caballero. PA PAC thanks the remaining six finalists currently being considered for their commitment to Durham--they have dedicated their time and effort to putting forth a strong progressive vision for Durham.
The at-Large seat, vacated by Mayor Steve Schewel will be filled by the currrent members of City Council. Following the endorsement of Caballero, PA PAC coordinators sent the letter below to Mayor Steve Schewel and City Council members DeDreana Freeman, Vernetta Alston, Mark-Anthony Middleton, Jillian Johnson and Charlie Reece.
Mayor Steve Schewel and Members of the Durham City Council
101 City Hall Plaza
Durham, North Carolina 27701 January 10, 2018
Dear Mayor Schewel and Members of the City Council,
We are at a time when, more than ever, it is important to ensure that Durham is truly a Durham for all and that the voices of those who have been marginalized in our city are heard. In this city council appointment we have a rare opportunity to bring Durham one step closer to actualizing the vision that Durham will become a place where those who have not had a seat at the table, including immigrant and Latinx communities, are no longer excluded. We have a rare opportunity to offer a council seat to a highly qualified candidate who can ably represent the interests of the large but under-represented Latinx community here in Durham. The People’s Alliance Political Action Committee urges you to appoint Javiera Caballero to fill the City Council seat made vacant by the election of Steve Schewel as our new mayor.
In her profession and her active community service, Javiera Caballero has demonstrated herself to be a passionate and effective advocate for those struggling to share fully in the life of our community. Her story is compelling. She came to this country as a child with her family fleeing a dangerous and totalitarian regime in Chile. Here, her family struggled to begin anew and build a better life. And while her personal experience provides her with a special sensitivity and insight into the problems and aspirations of the Latinx community, her interests in the welfare of Durham’s people is not limited by that experience. We believe
she will be an advocate for all.
In her interview with us and in her responses to our questionnaire, Javiera demonstrates her strong progressive values and a nuanced insight into problems relating to affordable housing, wealth disparity, neighborhoods, gentrification, and policing. We are impressed when she cautions that the wrong kind of city intervention in vulnerable neighborhoods may stimulate the displacement from gentrification we want to resist. On policing she is less concerned about how much we spend, but whether the money we spend makes our police better guardians of the community. She stresses training and job development. Javiera’s professional expertise is the development of systems and leaders that serve better and more responsively. Her activism has focused on public schools and the success of children of all backgrounds.
Through her work and her service to Durham, she has consistently displayed the necessary ability to dig deeper and analyze problems and their solutions beyond the surface. We believe that with Javiera as a member, our city council will be more representative, more sensitive, and more effective. We urge the city council to seize the opportunity this appointment represents. We urge the council to broaden its base by appointing Javiera Caballero to the council and demonstrate thereby that Durham really is a welcoming place – a city for all.
for PA PAC