Durham CAN News & Updates | August 2020

Durham CAN News & Updates | August 2020



2020 Listening Campaign - Ends August 15th!

At our March 2020 Metro Council Meeting, 50 leaders from 18 Durham CAN institutions pledged to engage 835 individuals through a listening campaign both within and outside of their institutions.  Please submit your Listening Session Evaluation Sheet by Monday, August 15th.

Criminal Justice Reform Action Team Update: COVID-19 Detention Center Testing Data Transparency, Testing Funding & Reentry Support

On Sunday August, 9th, Sheriff Clarence F. Birkhead announced that eight (8) detainees housed at the Durham County Detention Facility tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

In addition to our March 27th letter to Durham District Attorney Deberry asking her office to use every effort to reduct the population of the Durham County Detention Center in response to COVID-19, we implored Sheriff Birkhead in our letters on April 3rd, May 20th, and June 18th to make testing and screening available to all staff and residents and to make all testing data results publicly available.

After our June 8th meeting with Sheriff Birkhead, we understood the barrier to universal testing for all Detention Center residents and staff to be a lack of available funding from the County. In response to our June 30th letter, Durham County Public Health Director Rodney Jenkins committed to providing tests and/or advocating or arranging to designate a portion of the CARES Act money that Durham County receives to fund COVID-19 testing for all residents of the Durham County Detention Facility.

We hope, as requested in our August 7th follow up letter, that Director Jenkins will make those results (the number of tests given along with the number of positive and negative even if the numbers is ‘0’) publicly available on Durham County Coronavirus Datahub.

Affordable Housing Action Team Update: Evictions & Repairs

(Photos from a Hoover Road DHA unit taken Monday, August 3, 2020.  Shared with the resident's consent.)

Members of the Affordable Housing Action Team attended the July 1st Special Virtual Durham City Council to address our continued concerns about the state of disrepair in DHA communities: 

On July 16th, the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis (HACA) announced an extension to the moratorium on evictions due to unpaid rent until November 2, 2020. Earlier this month, WinnCompanies, a major affordable housing landlord in Massachusetts (and the future landlord of 505 W Chapel Hill Street), halted evictions through the end of the year.  On July 24th, we wrote the Durham Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and CEO, urging for an extension on the eviction moratorium for nonpayment of rent. DHA announced a COVID-19 Housing Stability Program which fails to do so.


Affordable Housing Implementation Committee

Durham City Council is seeking fourteen (14) Durham City residents to serve on the Durham Affordable Housing Implementation Committee with the purpose of advising the Community Development Department on the implementation of the Affordable Housing Investment Plan (including the $95 million Affordable Housing Bond). Electronic applications are due by midnight on Friday, August 14, 2020. Apply by August 14th.

Durham Housing Authority Board of Commissioners

The Durham Housing Authority Board of Commissioners determine where unsafe or unsanitary dwelling conditions exist; investigate and devise methods to improve living, dwelling and housing conditions; provides for the accommodations of low income persons; and recommends plans to counteract clearing, re-planning and reconstruction in areas of unsafe or unsanitary dwelling conditions. Apply by August 14th.

Durham City Council - Ward 3

The Durham City Council is accepting applications to fill the Ward 3 Council Seat for the unexpired term of former City Council Member Vernetta Alston, who has resigned from the Durham City Council to accept an appointment to the North Carolina House of Representatives to complete the term of the late NC State Representative MaryAnn Black. The Ward 3 vacancy expires in November 2021. Apply here.

Read. Watch. Listen. Reflect.

Hey ya'll -- Tinu here. About once a week someone asks me about what I'm reading that's informing my organizing.  I thought I'd start some of my answers with you.

With appreciation and care,


A Book: Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation Through Anger by Lama Rod Owens. I am so grateful to Lama Rod for writing this book -- couldn't have come at a better time!  I appreciate his nuanced and expansive exploration of anger including how it intersects with race, gender and all the ways we are socially located.


An Article: With weekly $600 gone, NC unemployment benefits alone are not enough, workers say by Ben Sessoms, Sophie Kasakove and Brian Murphy for the News and Observer/Durham Herald.  My personal belief is that narrative is the most powerful force in this world and if you don't tell your own story, someone else will tell it for you (and usually get it wrong). I appreciate this article offering dimensionality to folks who are navigating the impact of Covid-19 on their employment and teaching me how little I really know about the realities of North Carolina's unemployment system.


A Movie: Trouble The Water. Crazy to realize that this month marks 20 years since Hurricane Katrina.  I had the honor of meeting Ms. Kimberly Rivers Roberts --whose first-hand footage comprises most of the film-- at the 2019 BlackStar Film Festival. To see how so many of the issues that Hurricane Katrina amplified that still remain resonant is...infuriating.


A Podcast: Scene on Radio Season 4 Episode 7: Freedom SummerThe most important podcast I've listened to all summer and probably in my top 3 of 2020 thus far. I think a lot about the legacies I've inherited as a Black woman organizing in the Southeastern United States, and constantly look to leaders like Ms. Ella Josephine Baker and Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer as inspiration for how I organize and lead. When I heard about Congressman John Lewis' death, the first thing I did was find this episode and listen to it again.


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