WELCOME TO COMMUNITIES IN PARTNERSHIP
Communities in Partnership (CIP) cultivates grassroots leadership and builds community resilience through collective action and transformational organizing. We envision Old East Durham and the surrounding area as a vibrant place where all residents have an exceptional quality of life with the economic and political power to impact decision making that affects their community.
The impetus for our group began in 2011 after a neighborhood shooting that injured two young children. Thankfully, the children walked away with only minor injuries but as residents we were unhappy with what felt like an inadequate response by city officials. We decided that instead of just talking about the problems, we had to actively work to create the safe, diverse, and vibrant community that we wanted to live in.
We knew that bringing about change would require collective effort on the part of many people living and working in East Durham. We wanted to move quickly but recognized that before people can begin working together they have to get to know each other. Towards that aim we hosted our first community dinner in February 2012; and out of that dinner grew a monthly potluck. Since then our efforts have expanded throughout East Durham and across communities with residents taking action and working towards positive community driven change.
WHAT WE DO
We seek to develop authentic relationships across community members that all residents to uplift each other and work together towards collective dignity and empowerment. Through our community building efforts (monthly potlucks, family holiday celebrations and block parties, town halls, and planned listening sessions) we provide residents opportunities to build intentional relationships across class, race and privilege. These engagements also give opportunities to those living in East Durham to share their thoughts, ideas and concerns so that they can speak for themselves rather than having others speak for them.
As we create a vision for our community we are also building a collective understanding of how power is always in play and making that power and who has it visible and holding them accountable for the lack of equity that always falls along race, gender and socio-economic lines and how we can use our collective voice in that narrative for the most positive impact for our community.
We believe local residents are the experts in how to best transform their quality of life. Our mission is to organize and develop local members of our community to work towards racial, social, and economic liberation. To do so we work to equip community based leaders with the knowledge and skills required to be effective at working towards our overall mission. We do this through the following:
Increased awareness and learning about historical and current institutional and systemic racism and bias.
Education on the history and the power of organizing within communities of color while building concrete relationships to mobilize more broadly and effectively.
Further development of leadership capacity within the residents of our community through proactive engagement on the issues affecting us as a community.
East Durham is a community in which the residents are mostly low-income or working class and predominantly people of color. We give voice to community members by cultivating leadership among people working and living in East Durham, identifying and employing neighborhood resources and gifts, utilizing a decision-making process that includes all community voices, and holding agencies and organizations that operate or enter into the community accountable to listening to the community first before implementing programs. As a community we are collectively organizing around inequality and level the playing field to divert resources to our community. We are attempting to do so in a variety of ways which include,
Building a pipeline to mentor and develop entrepreneurs of color to create and develop and participate in equitable and cooperatively based business development within East Durham.
Establishing a community food co-op to address the injustices of systemic racism in our food system. Our response to the need for access to fresh, healthy food in East Durham is centered on on principles of local ownership, community accountability, and individual dignity. As the store grows to serve more community members, it will not only provide access to fresh food, but also access to leadership opportunities and work opportunities for community members.
Partnering as members of the FADE Coalition (Fostering Alternative Drug Enforcement) to address disproportionate contact from law enforcement that target communities of color and of low material wealth.
Creating learning spaces focusing on issues such as, gentrification (housing and business displacement) and lack of sustainable living wage jobs.
"If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time; but if you are here because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together."