Let's unite Durham together!

My love for Durham has called me to serve, to lead, and to heal. Durham, this is our call to action. 
This is our time to build bridges that connect us, not walls that divide us. Now is the time to truly embrace a vision that will #uniteDurham.
While the city has benefited from a boost in our economy over the last ten years, many communities around the city have been suffering, silenced, and even ignored. I grew up in a Durham where we all cared for one another, a Durham where we were our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. We can do that again. We need to prioritize caring for one another. There will be no one-size-fits-all approach to fixing our problems in Durham. It will take a community effort across neighborhoods, and finding public and private partnerships that are mutually beneficial. Durham needs a leader who will represent all Durhamites: young and old and in-between, multigenerational Durhamites and newcomers, immigrants and refugees. No matter who you are or who you love,  where your family is from or the language you speak, welcome to the Bull City! I’m so glad you’re here. 
When Mayor Steve Schewel appointed me Chair of the City’s first-ever racial equity task force, I united a diverse cross-section of Durhamites, where we worked to create recommendations as a love letter to Durham— it is a path forward to operationalize racial equity. In this moment, Durham needs a leader who can unite, who can operationalize racial equity, and who understands how to build relationships to drive change to make Durham healthier.
I’m Elaine O’Neal, and I want to be your next mayor of Durham.


Neighborhood Safety and Well-Being

  • Equitably engage Durham residents as to what “community safety” means in a cross-cultural and socio-economic context
  • Use a trauma-informed approach to addressing community safety
  • Establish an  Office of Gun Violence Prevention to resource and engage impacted communities in solving this problem from a pro-active, rather than reactive position
  • Work with our culturally diverse immigrant communities to specifically and meaningfully address experiences of immigration and fears of national and local law enforcement 
  • Prioritize the shortage of 911 call center staff by addressing employee stress, dedicating financial incentives, and hiring with a  trauma-informed perspective.
  • Establish a system of neighborhood and area planning so that residents co-lead planning projects with the City-County Planning Department
  • Work towards making civic engagement accessible and equitable to all; for example, operationalizing NIS Equitable Engagement Blueprint
  • Form a community leadership network to encourage participation and empower voices from all neighborhoods
  • Declare racism a public health crisis 
  • Include health as a central piece of the City’s strategic plan and dedicate resources to improve the health and wellbeing of all Durham residents
  • Support public health priorities for vulnerable groups including mental health for our veterans, justice-connected youth, and immigrant communities
  • Address Covid-19 as it continues to adversely impact Durham across the City, prioritizing mental health, school communities, businesses, and economy
  • Combat the growing epidemic of health misinformation
  • Create a Covid-19 Task Force to specifically address impact and solutions, developing an apparatus to address critical problems in real-time

Housing & Transit

  • Expand and fund the City’s Eviction Diversion Program
  • Support universal basic income to alleviate the inability to pay for rent and other necessities
  • Prioritize veterans and military-connected families in terms of housing stability and security
  • Work to keep Durhamites middle and low income residents in their homes
  • Seek public-private partnerships to supplement transit options and improve access by engaging with ride-share companies to leverage existing community assets like religious organization vehicles to form a community-based expansion of transit services
  • Ensure residents receive training and transit to reach the new jobs coming to Durham.
  • Prioritize and allocate funds to ensure safe streets, sidewalks, bus stops, and bus shelters that are also. ADA compliant

Youth Engagement & Education

  • Expand Durham Youth Commission and remove barriers to ensure equitable and representative participation
  • Collaborate directly with Durham youth and community partners at a neighborhood level to create a healthy youth ecosystem, including recreational activities and youth-driven solutions
  • Ensure that programming and parks/rec are accessible to all, regardless of gender, race, socioeconomic status, faith, ability, or immigration status. 
  • Improve mental health services and counseling, addiction services, relationship building, and opportunities to build youth resilience
  • Invite youth to be part of solutions, including addressing the impact of Covid-19
  • Establish a hotline that immediately connects young people to the services they need
  • Foster community connection and sense of belonging through youth job opportunities, job fairs, summer camps, and other opportunities
  • Parental Autonomy-what works best for families
  • Increased mental health resources, especially for low-income and Black and Brown youth and their families
  • Job training and entrepreneurship support that creates a pipeline for youth opportunities
  • Increased resources (including language and disability access) to reduce barriers for immigrant and refugee families

Economic Relief & Recovery

  • Address economic impacts of twin pandemics of racial injustice and Covid-19
  • Establish a community-based, paid workforce to gather information about the lived experiences of our residents rather than paying outside vendors 
  • Establish a job pipeline that leverages connections between high schools, Durham Tech Community College, NCCU, and Duke to expand opportunities for well-paying jobs, particularly for youth
  • Support efforts to remove barriers from Black, Latinx, and other underrepresented communities to receive funding, mentorship, and other resources for their business.
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