Below is the 10K Strong Pledge, written by Durham For All, with the support of a range of progressive community leaders across Durham.
It’s time to win back our government and put it to work for all of us. Corporations and right-wing politicians have rigged the political system, and we’ve had enough. Together, we are building a cross-class, multiracial movement in Durham that is 10,000 people strong.
This rigged system only works when the majority of people aren’t taking action together. When democratic participation is small and people are divided, the wealthy and powerful win. To be successful, our movement needs to be massive and stand up for all of us. Our goal is to bring 10,000 people into action, because 10,000 is the number of people we need to elect or un-elect local elected officials. With 10,000 people, we can create a new, powerful majority in Durham. 10,000 people gives us a mandate for change.
When this new majority unites at the ballot box and in the streets, we will defeat the politics of division and greed. Together, we will address our biggest problems — the need for affordable homes, quality education, good jobs, and real safety. Together, we will elect people that will use our tax dollars to meet each person’s basic needs and fight for a Durham where everyone can thrive. Together, we will demand that our local, state, and federal representatives serve all of our interests, not just the interests of the wealthy and powerful.
Our movement is guided by our deepest beliefs and a vision of the future we’re building together:
Everyone has the right to live in a safe and affordable home. Right now in Durham, decent homes are a privilege of the wealthy rather than a right for all. We know that the rents are too high and that landlords have too much power over our lives. We know that many people — especially Black and Brown people, low-income people, and disabled people are being forced out of their homes and their neighborhoods. This makes it hard to build community and a stable life. We demand policies that support permanent affordable housing as well as food, clean energy, clean water, and internet that everyone can afford.
Everyone has the right to a high-quality public education that fully develops their potential. This includes poor children, children of color, immigrant and refugee children, and children with disabilities. However, the reality is that our public schools are segregated and deeply unequal. Education has become more focused on test scores than supporting our children’s growth. Our schools don’t have the resources they need, and it is our kids who suffer. We oppose cutting the arts, physical education, recess, and services for children with special needs. We demand well-funded public schools that educate whole people from preschool to college/trade school and help children develop into happy, healthy and thriving adults.
Everyone has the right to the resources they need to sustain themselves and their families and to live on a healthy planet. Big corporations make a lot of money in Durham, but many keep workers in poverty-wage jobs, harm the environment, and don’t pay their fair share of taxes. Our elders, disabled people, and people with criminal records are often left out of the economy. We need more access to safe, green, living-wage jobs with good benefits for our community to thrive. We want policies that spread wealth more equally by raising wages, creating job opportunities, and keeping money in our community. We want the right to organize unions and fight together for dignity and safety at work.
Everyone deserves to feel safe and secure in their bodies, homes, and communities. Too many people in Durham live in fear of violence at the hands of law enforcement. Too many live in fear of laws and politicians who promote hate and discrimination. Too many live in fear of violence in their homes or neighborhoods. We want an end to police violence, surveillance of Muslims, ICE raids, and policies that harm women and LGBTQ people. We call for policies that promote real community safety by divesting from criminalization and mass incarceration and investing in jobs, housing, healthcare, education, and community-based justice solutions outside of the police & prison system.
Durham belongs to all who live here: Native, refugee and migrant, Black, Brown, Latino/a, Muslim, white, and Jewish, documented and undocumented, and LGBTQ. We need all these voices at the table to create a Durham for All. Right-wing politicians in North Carolina have used voter suppression to limit whose voice counts, turned hate into law, and made policies that benefit only the wealthy. We must end this attack on the people of North Carolina, and Durham must be a leader in a revolution for real democracy in our state.
Power comes from thousands of people speaking up and deciding to take action. That’s why our plan is based on building people power from the ground up. The plan has three stages:
Stage 1: Build a Mandate (2017). We will train 100+ people to ask their family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to sign our pledge and join the movement for a Durham for All. Our goal is to get 5,000 pledges in 2017. These signatures will be a mandate for a new political vision of the city rooted in the principles of a Durham for All. We will use these principles to elect a progressive majority to Durham’s City Council and hold them accountable.
Stage 2: Build a Model (2018). In the second stage, we will engage residents in a series of public forums. Our goal is to dive deeper into each issue, create a set of policy demands, and reach 10,000 pledges. We will hold neighborhood meetings, people’s assemblies, demonstrations, and other events to build support for our platform and take our demands to the streets. We will also train new leaders to expand the movement. Our focus will be on leaders who are working people, people of color, and women.
Stage 3: Build a Movement (2019-2020). In the third stage, we will pass the policies outlined in the platform. We will also bring fresh ideas, skilled leaders, and thousands of voters into the critical state and federal elections in 2020. Working with groups in rural areas, towns, and other cities, we will be part of unleashing millions of engaged residents and leaders in a movement to win back North Carolina.