statements

why i chose not to seek the endorsements of the people's alliance and Durham association of educators

APril 1, 2022 

Over the last decade, I have watched many politicians and political groups use my hometown of Durham, North Carolina, as a pawn in their efforts to build national profiles and push agendas that do not include the very communities and individuals who they claim their advocacy efforts support.

 

This desire to use Durham to build and push a national agenda could not be truer than the actions of the Durham People’s Alliance and Durham Association of Educators. In 2014, the Durham People’s Alliance endorsed Sendolo Diaminah, a candidate for Durham School Board – District 2, who had only voted in three elections in Durham (2008, 2012, and 2013) in the six years before his run for the school board seat. After winning the election, Sendolo resigned from the Durham School Board after only two years in office and devoted his efforts to pushing an agenda with ties to the national Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO). Read more about this coordinated effort to take control of Durham in a post by writer Carl Kenney (https://rev-elution.blogspot.com/2021/03/the-plan-to-control-durham-is-supported.html).

 

This group of FRSO-trained organizers, connected to Durham City Council member Jillian Johnson, former Durham Association of Educators President Bryan Profitt, former Durham School Board member Sendolo Diaminah, and members of the People’s Alliance, set out on a mission to infiltrate numerous Durham organizations and give the appearance that these organizations represented different individuals when in reality they were being controlled by the same small group of people. Unfortunately, this movement is heavily funded by individuals and organizations outside of Durham with no connections to the people of Durham and our community's unique challenges and needs.

 

Fast forward to last year’s municipal elections that saw Durham elect former Superior Court Judge and Interim Dean of the North Carolina Central University School of Law Elaine O’Neal as our first Black woman mayor, and former Durham Public Schools educator and teacher of the year, Leonardo Williams, to the Durham City Council. To no surprise, neither the People’s Alliance nor the Durham Association of Educators endorsed these two highly qualified candidates who happen to be respected educators and public servants.

 

It is evident to many, including myself, that the People’s Alliance and Durham Association of Educators have placed winning [at any cost] above the progressive values that they espouse. For this reason, and out of a deep and abiding love for my hometown and the most marginalized among us, I could not in good conscience participate in the endorsement processes of these two organizations.

 

I will continue to listen to and talk with students, parents, school staff, teachers, and voters across District 2 about the challenges faced by Durham Public Schools. In a school system where 75% of the student population is Black and Hispanic, and Black students perform at 35% proficiency on average compared to 78% for white students, we must put our students above politics. To learn more about me and our campaign, visit www.donaldahughes.com.

Early Voting: April 28 - May 14