Democratic Community Engagement


We believe in an inclusive and equitable government that trusts residents to be the experts on their own experiences. Social, economic and political elites have an outsized voice in our politics, resulting in inequitable outcomes. Robust community engagement creates space for communities to advocate for themselves and to ensure that government is responsive to their concerns. When all voices are heard, public policy benefits everyone.

Here's what we're proposing for the next four years:

  • Continue to implement biannual participatory budgeting cycles with changes based on successes and lessons learned from our inaugural year.

  • Continue to implement biannual “community conversations” during budget season in partnership with Durham County and Durham Public Schools.

  • Expand racial equity work & partnerships and implement policies based on recommendations and training from our Racial Equity Task Force, Government Alliance on Race Equity, and city staff.

  • Implement a citywide race equity tool to evaluate the equity and impact of all city programs and processes.

  • Create a community assembly process to provide regular and structured community engagement in neighborhoods, increase community understanding of city activities, and create additional opportunities for community involvement.

  • Increase language accessibility in Spanish by hiring a language access coordinator, providing interpretation at council meetings, professionally translating the website, press releases, agendas/minutes, and other city printed materials, and providing subtitles on city produced videos.

  • Create a process to increase language accessibility for other immigrant communities when they require more robust language access services.

  • Develop a formal recruitment and retention plan for bilingual/bicultural employees.

  • Focus community engagement efforts on those most likely to be left out of decision-making, including immigrants, youth, low-income residents, and justice-involved residents

  • Expand capacity to do inclusive and equitable community engagement by providing additional resources and staff to Neighborhood Improvement Services’ community engagement office and/or other city departments tasked with community engagement work.

  • Create a “front door” for immigrants to Durham, a centralized place to help new residents understand and navigate our private and public institutions, in order to operationalize our commitment to being a welcoming city.

  • Implement an equity scorecard for city incentive payments and public/private partnerships to ensure that broad community benefits are received in exchange for public money.

  • Expand access to the successful Durham City/County Neighborhood College and Durham Planning Academy programs.

  • Engage in regular meetings with the Durham Youth Commission so that the ideas of our city's young people are front and center in our policy conversations.