Campaigns and Direct Action
"We support a vision of justice that comes from within the community without the need for law enforcement, the court system, or the prison industry."
Durham Beyond Policing Community-led Safety and Wellness Task Force.
In 2019 SpiritHouse began working in collaboration alongside other grassroots members of Durham Beyond Policing on a Community-Led Safety and Wellness Task Force proposal to be incorporated into our city and county budgets. This task force would be empowered to research and propose viable, cost-effective, long term solutions to violence and harm, that does not involve the use of the police.
1. Mandate written consent forms for all vehicle consent searches
2. Make misdemeanor marijuana enforcement the department’s lowest law enforcement priority
3. Implement a policy requiring mandatory periodic review of officer stop data
4. Reform and strengthen the Durham Civilian Police Review board
5. Mandate that the department participate in formal racial equity training
Fostering Alternatives to Drug Enforcement (FADE)
Since the start of the War on Drugs there have been 45 million drug arrests at a total cost of 1 trillion dollars.
In 2013 SpiritHouse began anchoring the “Fostering Alternatives to Drug Enforcement” (FADE) coalition. The coalition consists of a growing group of Durham residents concerned about the interrelated issues of non-violent drug arrests, racial profiling, selective enforcement, excessive force, and police harassment in our city. We are comprised of residents of the city’s most highly-policed neighborhoods, as well as various religious groups and civil rights advocates from the greater Durham community.
Our aim is to bring an end to the counterproductive and racially discriminatory aspects of the Durham Police Department’s anti-crime efforts, through the adoption and implementation of 5 community derrived recommendations.
Public Transportation/Bull City Connector
In 2016, representatives from SpiritHouse along with low-income public transportation riders addressed Durham's Human Relations Commission (HRC) about bus route changes that had been made to Durham’s free Bull City Connector (BCC), bus. Among other things, the new route cut service to the Durham hub. This stop was particularly important for residents making transfers to other locations including the clinics at Duke Hospital.
Further research completed by the an ad hoc committee of the commission found that “In 2015, before the change, over half (52%) of BCC ridership earn less than $15,000 a year. By comparison, after the change Go Durham, featured riders utilizing the BCC, with larger incomes, living in neighborhoods whose rents were over $13,000 a year.” Because of this impact to Durham's low-income residents, the commissioners recommended that the Bull City Connector return to its original route. Members of SpiritHouse continue to work with Go Durham to ensure that Durham’s public transportation system remains equitable for all.
Ban The Box
The Ban the Box campaign was started by All of Us or None, a national civil rights movement of formerly-incarcerated people and our families. We started the campaign in 2004, after a series of Peace and Justice Community Summits identified job and housing discrimination as huge barriers to our successfully returning to our communities after jail or prison. The campaign challenges the stereotypes of people with conviction histories by asking employers to choose their best candidates based on job skills and qualifications, not past convictions. Since 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. has a conviction history, the impact of this discrimination is widespread and affects other aspects of life in addition to employment opportunity.