Boost the Budget 2023


We are fighting for an equitable and just Durham where everybody feels secure, safe, and cared for. In this fight, budgets have the most immediate impact in shaping people’s lives and determining who can access what. 

But too many Durham residents feel left out of the city budget process, believing that being engaged in this process requires some sort of expertise that they don’t have.

In our rapidly growing city, we have many new housing developments, yet more people are housing insecure. More jobs are coming to the city, yet wages remain low for too many families. Additionally, because high food and gas prices are eating into the pockets of Durhamites, our vision of equity, justice, security, and care seem even less attainable. 

Through the Boost the Budget campaign, we will:

  • collectively learn about the city budget process 
  • organize towards a sustainable movement that brings about real change through consistent unified action in our local politics
  • mobilize Durham to vote for a City Council that’s capable of offering unprecedented solutions in these unprecedented times.

Together, all races of working people can use the power of local government through budgets and elections to bring to Durham good paying jobs with benefits, more affordable housing, more safe places for our kids to play, and so much more.

Will you join us? RSVP to our first Budget Talk meeting to get involved in the decision making for how our hard earned public dollars should be distributed in the city budget.

D4A Statement on the Budget Vote

On Tuesday, June 20th, the City Council voted on the 2023-2024 budget. Durham for All used the Boost the Budget campaign to increase working and middle class people’s, especially working class people of color’s, knowledge of the city budget and its process, uplifting their voices about and participation in the city budget, identifying budget allocations that Durham residents wanted to see more money for, and spread the word on thoughts that D4A and our base have about the budget. We are proud of our efforts to meet these goals. 

Over the course of Boost the Budget, our staff and campaign teams (made up of our organizer and leaders from our membership) engaged Durhamites in a few different ways:

Canvassing: 2300 doors and 350 conversations. Community events: 150 attendees to Budget Talk 1-3, Phonebanking: 1000 calls and 100 conversations, Budget emails: 4,569 emails read (Politics Watch 1-4)

Over 20 community members attended house meetings and discussed the budget with their friends and neighbors. We continued those conversations at Budget Talk meetings with Council Members Johnson and Caballero—together, we learned about and generated solutions for Durham’s city budget.

We support the votes of Council Members Jillian Johnson, Javiera Caballero, Mark-Anthony Middleton, and Leonardo Williams to pass this budget. Although not perfect, we believe that the budget takes significant steps to address both long standing and newer issues in Durham, and addresses a diverse range of our communities’ needs.

Overall there were nine budget allocations that we thought best exemplified Durham for All’s values and were inline with the demands of working and middle class communities in Durham that joined us:

Sanctuary For All

Everyone deserves to feel safe and secure in their homes, bodies, and communities

H.E.A.R.T. program: funding to go city-wide with 27 additional staff positions
A program launched by the City of Durham’s Community Safety Department to send unarmed trained professionals to nonviolent calls.

Bull City United: continued funding
A program aiming to disrupt violence through interventions by  people from the impacted communities before violence takes place.

Vision Zero program: funding for a full-time coordinator position
A program approved by City Council in 2017 to reduce and eventually eliminate traffic deaths and severe injuries. 

Immigrant and Refugee Department: funding for a full-time coordinator position
provides services and assistance to the diverse community of people who have immigrated to the US and call Durham home. (City pays 50% of the funds needed for an Immigrant and Refugee Coordinator that is housed with the County, the County pays the other %50)

Immigrant Defense Fund: one-time funding
provides legal defense for Durhamites that have immigrated here.

Homes for All

Everyone has a right to live in a safe and affordable home

In the 2023-24 Budget – $160 million to go towards updating existing housing, building new housing for those in the low to moderate income range, building housing with wrap-around services for the unhoused population, and assisting homeowners with their property taxes.

Economy for All

Everyone has the right to the resources they need to sustain themselves and their families and to live on a healthy planet.

Hayti Reinvestment Initiative: An initiative to reinvest $10 million in Durham’s most historic Black community following decades of it being starved of the resources it needs for the area to thrive.

What we like: Investing in a Black neighborhood that has been disinvested from for far too long.
What we’re monitoring and will stay engaged around: 
Who gets to benefit and how from the economic opportunities that this influx of funds will create?

Convention Center Feasibility Study:  A study to find ways for Durham to get more tax dollars through a more optimal use of the convention center. This would then increase the amount of money the city would have to spend in the budget annually.

What we like: Investing in a Black neighborhood that has been disinvested from for far too long.
What we’re monitoring and will stay engaged around: 
Who gets to benefit and how from the economic opportunities that this influx of funds will create?

Democracy for All

Durham belongs to all who live here: Native, refugee and migrant, Black, Brown, Latino/a, Muslim, white, and Jewish, documented and undocumented, and LGBTQ.

Regular Community Meetings/Engagement: An initiative for the city to do regular meetings with the community to talk to and work with electeds to get certain priorities for the community accomplished. Funding will be used to host the meeting and compensate the time of community members that participate in the meetings

While we see positive steps taken by the City Council with the 2023-24 budget, some of the most pressing and contentious issues lie both within and beyond the budget. Two of the biggest areas that illustrate this are affordable housing and public safety.

Affordable Housing:

Having more affordable housing includes the city approving projects from developers for updating and creating more affordable homes; and ensuring that city infrastructure (road upkeep, road expansions, making more walkable neighborhoods with sidewalks and pedestrian bridges, improving public transit, etc.) is keeping up with the influx of people moving to the city. Especially since over the past several years the Durham area is one of the fastest growing places in the country.

Public Safety:

There are three dominant trends, nationally and in Durham, that are keeping the issue of public safety at the fore of Durham politics:

  1. the continued momentum and growth of the Black Lives Matter movement and the multiracial movement to end police involved killings and harassment of unarmed Black and Brown people.
  2. the uptick in gun violence for community and mass shootings.
  3. the ongoing police officer shortages and the increasing use of police surveillance technology, especially in working class Black and Brown communities.

These officer shortages represent an opportunity to look at alternatives to policing (including surveillance) that reduce the scope, size, and scale of the police force. Great examples of alternatives to policing and alternatives to increased police surveillance are H.E.A.R.T. and Bull City United that both provide ways to disrupt cycles of violence and socioeconomic instability that our most marginalized communities have been systemically subject to for decades.

Budgets are places of competing and converging interests between community, organizations, institutions, and government. Much of the Boost the Budget campaign was focused on what is in the FY 2023-24 city budget. Given that the city council makes the final decision on what the budget will be, who is making that decision is just as, if not more, important than what’s in it. Municipal elections are where we elect council members that can set the political possibilities for how city budgets can facilitate even more equity, care, and justice that benefits all. As D4A closes the chapter on the final 2023-24 city budget, stay tuned for how to keep building our multiracial and multigendered movement in the pivotal upcoming election.

In the meantime, click here to join us for the continuation of this work in the Fall, as we work to choose, endorse, and elect council members who share these visions and have plans to make them the reality of Durham.

Budget Items that We Support

The draft of Durham’s 2023-24 budget was presented by City Manager Wanda Page at the May 15th City Council meeting.

Durham for All strongly supports the following budget items which address some of our communities’ most urgent needs:

Affordable Housing

  • $160 million in funding for affordable housing

Public Safety

  • Increased funding for H.E.A.R.T: city wide – 12 hours
  • Allocated funding for a Vision Zero coordinator

Economic Development and Investment

  • Convention Center Feasibility Study (increasing revenue without increasing population and thus services the population needs)
  • $10 million Hayti Reinvestment Initiative

Immigrant and Refugee Support

  • Providing full funding for Immigrant Defense Fund
  • Adding positions to the Immigrant and Refugee Department (City funds 50% and other 50% comes from county)

Democratic Participation

  • Regular Community Meeting/Engagement Funding: Funds for an initiative for the city to do regular meetings with the community to talk to and work with electeds to get certain priorities for the community done.

We believe that these budget items are crucial in moving us closer to a Durham where people from all backgrounds can call it home and feel safe; where everybody has access to good jobs, housing, and resources that ensure a life with dignity; and where all residents can meaningfully participate in the governing of their city.

Budget Talk Meetings

Conversations with community and City Councilmembers about the budget

RSVP for the next meeting!

Leading up to the June 5th public hearing on the budget, we will hold Budget Talk meetings monthly. In conversation with Durham community members and council members Jillian Johnson and Javiera Caballero, we continue to build power in the streets, in the halls of power, and towards the ballot box in November.

Budget Talks: In conversation with Durham City Council members: Jillian Johnson and Javiera Caballero. March 30th, April 27th, May 25th. 6-8 pm, dinner at 5pm, People's Solidarity Hub (1805 Chapel Hill Rd.)

At the monthly Budget Talk meetings, you’ll meet like-minded Durham residents, build relationships around the issues we care about as a community, learn together about the budget, and how we can be involved in the budget decision making process. We will also talk to City councilmembers Jillian Johnson and Javiera Caballero about this year’s city budget. 

By solidifying our unity across a diverse set of Durhamites who share an interest in making change, we practice taking concentrated and coordinated actions that harness the power of our collectivity and win change in the streets, halls of power, and at the ballot box. 

RSVP for monthly budget talk meetings. On all three days, you can join us at 5pm for dinner and some fun! 

Budget talk #1: Thursday March 30th, 6-8pm, People’s Solidarity Hub: an introduction to the strategic importance of local budgets, the Durham city budget process, and some of the items proposed in this year’s budget.

Budget talk #2: Thursday April 27th, 6-8pm, People’s Solidarity Hub: the relationship between budgets and elections

Budget talk #2: Thursday May 25th, 6-8pm, People’s Solidarity Hub: collectively preparation for showing up at the June 5th public hearing for the budget

Politics Watch

City Budget Edition: Our Pockets, Our Politics

The city budget is a crucial way our communities can get the care, justice, and security Durhamites need to thrive regardless of job status, race, gender, or faith.

How much do you know about Durham’s budget process? Do you know which services are prioritized to receive more money (from the city taxes that we pay) and how? Do you know what our City Council members are discussing right now as they work on the next budget?

Too many of us, especially working communities, have been made to think that the budget is too complicated for us to understand or have an opinion about.

The Politics Watch: City Budget Edition is a monthly email we send out with a breakdown of the budget process, summary of what’s being discussed in city council meetings, what community members are saying about those issues, and our analysis on the politics of the budget. As we learn together about what the city budget can pay for, we will collectively apply that knowledge to determine what needs more money and how we can advocate for it. 

Each month, we will be focusing on one issue:

D4A Politics Watch: City Budget Edition - H.E.A.R.T. Program, Land and Housing, Democratic Processes, Immigrant Services

To receive our monthly “Politics Watch: City Budget Edition” emails in your inbox:

House Parties

Strengthening community bonds, collective learning, and realizing our people power

Our greatest potential  lies in activating our closest relationships to take decisive and collective steps towards transformation. We grow our ability to change the circumstances in our community by utilizing people power and bringing together these networks of substantive intimate relationships for change making.

The Boost the Budget house parties are opportunities to do exactly that. With support from D4A organizers, Durham community members who joined our organization last year or earlier will plan a house party, invite their friends, neighbors, and loved ones to talk about what we can do together to affect positive change on the current and future city budget. 

If you want to host a house party, contact our community organizer, Cedric Craig (he/him) at cedric[at]

Primary Election Endorsements

Find your polling location!

For the 2022 midterms Durham for All, in collaboration with the Carolina Federation, has endorsed Cheri Beasley for U.S. Senate and Nida Allam for US Congressional District 4. Additionally, Durham for All voted to re-endorse Satana Deberry for District Attorney.

Individually and collectively we believe they will carry on the work and vision that Durham for All and its partner organizations have for people in North Carolina to have more equity, inclusivity, and justice in all facets of their lives. 

Cheri Beasley for US Senate, Nida Allam for US House: CD4

Cheri Beasley and Nida Allam share a commitment to fighting for the interests of all North Carolinians. Especially people of color and working people who have been systematically left out and left behind. If they win, Nida would be the first Muslim elected from a Southern state and Cheri would be North Carolina’s first Black Senator.

We endorse their platforms because:

  • Both candidates are committed to raising the minimum wage to at least $15 per hour and providing more protections and rights for employees.
  • They will work to further the fight for a person’s reproductive freedom by supporting the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify Roe v. Wade into federal law.
  • North Carolina has over 13% of its population uninsured (one of the highest in the country). Cheri and Nida will work hard to expand access to quality, affordable healthcare to the millions in this country who are uninsured or underinsured.
  • They are committed to investing in children and their futures. They would push for higher teacher pay and more funding for schools in the poorest neighborhoods as a way to invest in North Carolina’s public schools which are the heart of our communities.
  • They both understand the existential threats of the climate crisis and threats to this country’s democracy and will work towards solutions that can begin to save our planet and our democracy.


Satana Deberry for District Attorney

District Attorney Satana Deberry also shares our vision of equity, inclusion, and justice for all. In 2018, Durham for All endorsed her and joined a coalition of organizations to help power her to victory.

Here’s a few of initiatives DA Satana Deberry has taken towards ending mass incarceration, advancing justice, and advancing equity in the past four years:

  • In 2019, her office implemented a pretrial release policy that discourages money bail and pretrial detention in non-violent cases.
  • District Attorney Deberry has led the effort to dismiss, or have alternatives to incarceration for, low-level charges in cases involving substance use, poverty, homelessness, or involving individuals with little to no prior criminal history.
  • The DA’s office has worked with the Criminal Justice Resource Center (CJRC) to utilize diversion tools and programs (e.g., restorative justice, cognitive behavioral therapy, and addiction treatment) that can address root causes of certain offenses. There are a total of 27 people with lower-level felony cases that are going or have gone through this diversion program.
  • Since 2020 the District Attorney’s office has certified over 500 temporary visas (sometimes up to 4 years) that provide benefits and protections for immigrants.
  • In the midst of Durham County’s rise in gun violence, her office is working hard to stem the impacts on our communities.

If re-elected, DA Deberry will continue to change the conditions that disproportionately increase Black and Brown communities’ interactions with the criminal justice system. She will reallocate resources from punitive tools and processes to preventative measures and care-focused solutions that address the root causes of violence.

Through Durham for All’s Swing the State 2022 we will be working with partner organizations to go all out for the bold and exciting candidates we have endorsed or re-endorsed. In the next few months, we  will be talking with thousands of Durhamites about the issues they care most about and the importance of voting for candidates like the ones we are supporting.

Join us for a phonebank shift as we talk to Durham voters about these bold candidates. 

Endorsement Processes

Federal-level Endorsements:
U.S. House & U.S. Senate

For federal- and state-level races, Durham For All joins the endorsement process of our statewide partner, the Carolina Federation (CF). Durham For All is a local affiliate of CF, a statewide grassroots political organization that brings local people together across race and the rural-urban divide to build political and electoral power in our communities across North Carolina.

In December of 2021, CF held an online endorsement process for all active members of CF chapters and affiliate organizations, like D4A. Through that process, D4A and CF members voted to endorse Nida Allam in U.S. House for NC’s 4th Congressional District, and Cheri Beasley for U.S. Senate in North Carolina.

Local-level Endorsements:
Durham District Attorney

This year marks that first time that somebody D4A endorsed in the past is running for re-election. In 2018, D4A endorsed Satana Deberry for Durham District Attorney, and she won! D4A implemented a re-endorsement process, in which D4A staff made a recommendation to D4A members to re-endorse DA Deberry, and active members voted via e-ballot.

The Process

We repeated the voting set-up from last year, in which we had three voting bodies: 1) general members, 2) member leaders, and 3) staff and board.  Votes were tallied from each of the three bodies to determine Durham For All’s decision to re-endorse or not.

Our weighted voting model gives each voting body ⅓ of the total vote in any local race we make an endorsement. Each of these bodies determines their candidate in a race through a majority vote, and each body’s candidate will signify 1 vote for that candidate. Durham For All will endorse the candidate who receives 2 out of 3 votes from the voting bodies. If a 3-way tie occurs, rank-choice voting within each body will attempt to break the tie or no endorsement will be made.

Why Weighted Votes for Local Elections?

As our membership-based organization grows, we want all members to be able to make decisions in the organization so that they can experience greater ownership in the work, beyond paying member dues and volunteering. The weighted voting model makes this possible while also giving those who have higher levels of responsibility and commitment to the organization—such as member leaders, staff, and board—greater voting power in the endorsement process.

Take Action!

Each election cycle is a crucial opportunity to realize our vision of a North Carolina for all. Join us in our electoral organizing in 2022.

RSVP to our next community meeting