March 27, 2020
District Attorney, Durham County
Dear Ms. Deberry,
As our community prepares for the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we at Durham CAN want to add our voice to the growing cry for help for one of our most vulnerable populations: our incarcerated brothers and sisters. As closed environments, jails and prisons present the highest risk of illness from a virus. Outbreaks in our detention and correctional facilities are inevitable. In explaining his stay-at-home order, Mayor Schewel declared that the window for keeping ourselves safe is now. Similarly, the window for releasing our community members from prisons to spare them, and other incarcerated people and the staff that secure them, from this dangerous disease is now.
Over the past week, I've spent some time thinking about the implications of this moment for a practice of organizing that is deeply relational -- eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul.
I shared some thoughts this morning with our Clergy Caucus members and thought I'd share with ya'll:
Durham CAN held its first Metro Council Meeting of 2020 at Abundant Hope Christian Church on Thursday, March 5th. After a welcome and invocation from Rev. Mark-Anthony Middleton, Strategy Team members Rev. Timothy Conder and Ms. Ketty Thelemaque led a formal evaluation of our recent McDougald Terrace action and conducted a "fishbowl" exercise with our new lead organizer, Ms. Tinu Diver. We set a collective vision for 2020 as a year of "dis-organizing and reorganizing" and a time to prioritize training, rebuilding core teams and running another cycle of listening campaigns.
“…Now, we got to get this thing right. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and that love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love….” -Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."