DURHAM, N.C. — The Durham City Council has authored an open letter to its citizens in the wake of Donald Trump becoming president-elect and the reports of instances of harassment, intimidation and violence on the rise across the country. The letter ensures that they will keep fighting for the safety of every individual and to defend progressive values.
“The city of Durham will always stand strong to protect the safety of the people of this city and to defend our progressive values – whatever the character of the president of the United States, and whatever the policies he or she may choose to pursue,” the letter reads. “We will never back down from our shared belief that the city of Durham is and must remain a place where all people are valued, where all people are respected, and where all people are protected.”
Durham has not been immune from hateful post-election actions, as noted in the letter, with “Black lives don’t matter and neither do your votes” found spray painted across two walls after the election.
The letter also mentions an incident that occurred to a member of city council, likely referring to City Councilwoman Cora Cole-McFadden, who removed her Clinton-Kaine sticker after a motorist pulled up on her vehicle twice while she was on the way to a meeting.
They report that people have reached out since the election expressing concern for what it will mean for their daily lives.
“We denounce these hate crimes completely and without reservation,” the letter continues. “Such actions have no place in our city. We must all come together to repudiate the behavior of those who would seek to vent their bigotry onto the people of Durham.”
They highlighted their efforts to uphold the rights and dignity of all those living in the city.
“Over the last year, we have repeatedly reaffirmed the city of Durham’s commitment to opposing discrimination and upholding the dignity of all people. In February of this year, we unanimously endorsed a resolution from our Human Relations Commission urging federal immigration officials to release Durham youth being detained in immigration facilities and to suspend raids in Durham targeting immigrant youth. In April of this year, we passed a unanimous resolution opposing the discriminatory and anti-LGBTQ House Bill 2 and calling for its repeal…
“And just two weeks ago, we passed a unanimous resolution ‘condemning violence and hate speech and expressing solidarity with Durham’s Muslim community and all those targeted for their ethnicity, race or religion.'”
They sought to confirm that they will not abandon these efforts no matter who is in the White House.
“These are the values of the city of Durham. They are as true today as they were before the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, and they will be just as true on the day he vacates that high office. Regardless of the policy agenda that our new president-elect decides to pursue, the city of Durham will remain as committed as ever to combating hatred and bigotry in all forms, and to protecting and advancing the civil and human rights of all of the people of this city.”
Similarly, Durham Public Schools Superintendent Bert L’Homme responded to anecdotal reports of attendance dropping the day after the election for students who speak English as a second language. DPS spokesman Chip Sudderth said L’Homme posted a message on the system’s website and social media, as well as sending it out families via robocall.
“Our school counselors are ready and able to support any student who has concerns following our recent elections,” the statement said. “Also, our district policies are firmly against harassment and intimidation of any kind; any student experiencing them for any reason should let a teacher or principal know immediately.”