Durham CAN News & Updates | September 2020

Durham CAN News & Updates | September 2020

Durham mother faces eviction by Durham Housing Authority | Raleigh News &  Observer

"It really seems like we have forgotten to prioritize...is how we belong to each other. Like not as a question that we have to know the answer to right now, but as a really important inquiry. It's easy to say, you know, I know my family belongs to me. I'll take care of them, I'll stick my neck out for them, perhaps I'll even die for them.  But is that true for all human beings and why not, If it's not true? So why is it okay for us as white people to stay silent about some of the atrocities in our culture, in our systems. If I really understand that you belong to me --like even right now in this conversation, if I really understand that you belong to me and I belong to you, then I'm going to be willing to say hard things or ask hard questions or make mistakes and hope that you will feel the same way--that I belong to you. And you'll challenge me back and then we'll learn and grow. It's really a difference of prioritizing our learning instead of being humans that are just going to get it right all the time."

from White People, Drop the Shame and Get Curious | Shelly Graf, Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris


September Clergy Caucus. September 8 at 9-10:30 AM

September Metro Council. September 17 at 6-7:30 PM

Durham Housing Authority Annual Plan Public Comments. September 15 at 5:30-6:30 PM


9/14 - Intro to Durham CAN & Broad-Based Organizing

9/21 - Building Relational Power

10/5 - Listening Sessions

10/19 - Effective Core Teams


Cost of Evictions on Durham - September Research Action

Over the past 12 weeks, Durham CAN along with the City of Durham's Neighborhood Improvement Services and the City's Community Development Department formed a cohort for the What Works Cities Sprint: Partnership for Quality Housing & Eviction Prevention.

During the month of September, CAN will research the cost of eviction to Durham, including costs to the tenants, the landlord, and the community.

This research action will start and finish during the month of September. To sign up contact Ms. Bobi Gallagher.


COVID-19 Rent and Utility Assistance

On August 12th, CAN leaders met with representatives from Legal Aid and the City's Community Development Department to understand more about the current environment and resources for eviction assistance work, especially at Durham Housing Authority properties.

In addition to Durham County's Emergency Rental Assistance Project, we discussed the experiences and frustrations faced by residents attempting to access rental assistance from DSS and from the experiences of First Presbyterian Church which has distributed $37,532.06 to assist 263 families affected by COVID-19, with their rent and utilities.

If you or someone your institution is in need of assistance or if you or your institution is interested in supporting First Presbyterian's rental and utility assistance fund, contact Ms. Jane Williams.


Hoover Road Community Garden Project

In July 2020, in response to a year-long effort by CAN leaders who live in the Hoover Road community, the Durham Housing Authority removed rusted playground equipment behind the Hoover Road Community Center to make way for a food sustenance and education garden.

Read more about the project here.  To get involved, contact Ms. Ruth Petrea


2020 Listening Campaign - EXTENDED

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.  After caucusing during last week's Metro Council meeting, we will extend the Listening Campaign an additional 60 days.

Please submit your Listening Session Evaluation Sheet by Saturday October 31st. We will offer another training on Listening Sessions on Monday October 5th from 5-6:30 PM via Zoom. If you're unable to attend and would like to schedule Listening Session Training for your institution let us know.


"All Durham Detention Center residents are now going to be tested. We regret that an outbreak had to occur before this step was taken." Our follow up letter to Durham Public Health Jenkins

Forty-eight hours after CAN's Criminal Justice Reform Action Team sent a follow up letter to Durham Public Health Director Jenkins, we learned of the COVID-19 outbreak at the Durham Detention Center. 

In response, this week we wrote to Director Jenkins to a) express our disappointment (we've called for City and County officials to prioritize funding and universal testing at the Detention Center since May); and b) to ask:

1) Will his department now mandate and fund testing for all new admittees into the Durham Detention Facility before they are moved into the general residential pods? 

2) Will he publish the data provided to him by Sheriff Birkhead about the number of tests performed, positive results, and negative results on the Durham County Coronavirus Datahub?

Read the latest letter in its entirety.

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.  So I've started sharing some of my answers with you.

With appreciation and care,


Our Separate Ways

A Book: Our Separate Ways Women and the Black Freedom Movement in Durham, North Carolina by Christina Greene. A CAN leader was kind enough to gift me this book for my birthday (note: I do accept birthday gifts year-round) and I immediately flipped to Chapter 4, The Uninhibited Voice of the Poor: African American Women and Neighborhood Organizing. The chapter's opening scene from September 1965 would serve as the beginning of a four year campaign against the Durham Housing Authority, resulting in a landmark US Supreme Court decision prohibiting landlords from evicting public housing residents without just cause.

I also smiled at this excerpt in the epilogue:

"Several years ago, a new multiracial coalition formed in Durham: Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods (CAN). Affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation, CAN has revived some of the concerns and tactics of 1960s groups such as United Organizations for Community Improvement and ACT; starting with small, winnable issues, CAN hopes to build a citywide movement."


Durham mother faces eviction by Durham Housing Authority | Raleigh News &  Observer

An Article: This week is a tie between two separate but related articles: Thousands of NC residents at risk of eviction as rent payment protections expire by Ben Sessoms of the Raleigh News and Observer/Durham Herald; and An Annapolis woman was sued over rent she didn’t owe. It took seven court dates to prove she was right by Danielle Ohl, Talia Buford and Beena Raghavendran for the Annapolis Capital Gazette and ProPublica.


I'll just leave you with these words:

"Black women are the canary in the coal-mine of the social structure of America, and as the canaries, they seek the air that is most clear, because they know what it's like to suffocate.  They know what it's like to suffocate as women, people in female-gender bodies; they know what it's like to suffocate as people in Black-skinned bodies, and so, as people that have touched the liberatory teachings--when they seek liberation, when they seek a clear space to breathe--they create that space around everyone because they know what it's like to suffer, to suffocate." -Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Sensei from an interview with Professor Feleica Sy as quoted in Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation.


Hillbilly movie review & film summary (2018) | Roger Ebert

A Movie: Hillbilly.  Recently someone asked me, "What does it mean to be Southern?" And I responded: "It means to be misunderstood. The South is a complex place, and we have a way of flattening it." What I appreciate about this film is the parallel it draws in how the construction of the "hillbilly" stereotype feeds into the history of America's racial caste system and the universal struggle of folks to live freely as the person they were created to be.


A Podcast: OnBeing with Krista Tippett: This History Is Long; This History Is Deep | Isabel Wilkerson:

"Our country is like a really old house. But old houses need a lot of work & the work is never done. You may not want to go into that basement, but if you really don’t, it’s at your own peril. Whatever you’re ignoring will be there to be reckoned with until you reckon with it."


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