DAE 2021 City Council + Mayor Endorsements

For Mayor, DAE endorses Javiera Caballero

We endorse Javiera Caballero for Mayor based on her strong vision for Durham and her concrete, actionable policies and ability to advocate for those policies at the local level while navigating roadblocks from the state government. As educators, we know the value of writing SMART goals, and she was the only candidate who presented her vision in this detailed manner. She has shown herself to be dedicated to the minutiae of city policy, including in zoning, which heavily affects affordable housing. She has been a crucial voice in organizing and collaborating with others in elected leadership to enact multiple progressive measures in Durham. She is also the best mayoral candidate for DAE to partner with because she has been involved in the development of the Community Schools movement from the ground up, and has actionable ideas on improving and expanding the model going forward.

For City Council Ward 1, DAE endorses Marion T. Johnson

We endorse Marion T. Johnson based on her strong support of public schools. We also appreciate her deep understanding of how white supremacy drives the educational outcome gap, while still recognizing that collective action in the public school community is the best way to defend and transform public schools. We can foresee a strong relationship with her in an education justice coalition centered around the community schools model. She has also demonstrated through her words and actions that she trusts on-the-ground educators to be the experts in local and state education policy and decision making.

For City Council Ward 2, DAE makes no endorsement.

Of the three candidates in this race, two of them – Mark-Anthony Middleton and Robert L. Curtis, Jr. – did not complete questionnaires or respond to requests for an interview. We did not feel there were any candidates available for endorsement that would adequately represent DAE’s values.

For City Council Ward 3, DAE endorses AJ Williams

We endorse AJ Williams for his strong support of public schools and dedication to finding public solutions to increase resources for them. His experience in community organizing around increasing local investments in public safety alternatives will be invaluable on the City Council. We know how important it is for a council member to be willing to read the individual line items of budgets and consider the impact of their decisions, and we believe AJ is up to the challenge.

While DAE will work hard to elect our endorsed slate of municipal candidates, we also want to recognize the strengths that many of the candidates we did not endorse bring to the table. Some of the candidates we did not endorse share our values and would, if elected, be valuable partners and reliable allies. We thank the following non-endorsed candidates for participating in our interview process (listed in alphabetical order). 

  • Rebecca Harvard Barnes (Mayor) – Ms. Barnes has a deep passion for climate justice. We appreciate her longstanding relationship with the Durham community and ties to many DPS schools.
  • Sabrina (Bree) Davis (Mayor) – We were impressed by Ms. Davis’s vision for affordable housing and deep understanding of the issues with local housing policy, including how unstable housing affects our DPS students. She also emphasized community health as we deal with the next year under COVID. 
  • DeDreana Freeman (City Council Ward 1) – We appreciate Council Member Freeman’s sharp racial analysis and sense of social and economic justice. She wants all students in Durham to have access to excellent education.
  • Elaine O’Neal (Mayor) – We appreciate Judge O’Neal’s message of unity, and her emphatic support of educators in Durham Public Schools, as well as her deep ties to the Durham community. We know that win or lose, she will continue working in the Durham community to improve the lives of all residents.
  • Sylvester Williams (City Council Ward 2) – Pastor Williams has a longtime, deep commitment to his community and loves the city of Durham.
  • Leonardo Williams (City Council Ward 3) – Mr. Williams is an outstanding member of the Durham community who believes in public schools and served as a DPS teacher for many years. He lives his values every day. The decision in this race was difficult, because both candidates were excellent and we believe both would use their position on the City Council to support public schools in whatever way they can.

The following candidates did not participate in our interview process or complete questionnaires. We wish them the best. 

  • Mayor: Charlitta Burruss, Jahmaud Lane, Daryl Quick
  • City Council Ward 1: Waldo Fenner
  • City Council Ward 2: Robert L. Curtis, Jr., Mark-Anthony Middleton

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