Our Challenge
If the 2019 election in Durham is like any other municipal election, we know that less than 15% of residents will vote. That means most of our neighbors are not having their voices heard, especially in majority-Black neighborhoods. Because of this, elected officials are less likely to act in the interests of our communities. Even in years with big elections, like 2012 and 2016, over 35% of this block’s residents didn’t join the block in voting -- this is untapped block power.
Our Opportunity
Great challenges mean great opportunities. In cities like Durham, there is massive untapped Black political power. In fact, if significantly more eligible Black voters in just six cities in North Carolina voted, it would fundamentally shift the balance of power in local, state, and federal government -- and ensure that we had accountable elected officials who advance policy proposals that can help our neighborhoods be healthier and wealthier.
Our Insight
We have data. LOTS of data. And that data shows that many Black voters are concentrated in a relatively few number of small neighborhoods in these critically important cities. In Durham, for example, there are 150 majority-Black “blocks” with 50-100 Black households. We also know from research that repeated interactions with trusted sources is the best way to not only get people to the polls but to also build other forms of civic engagement. In other words, building neighbor-neighbor connections = building real block power.
Our Idea
  • Build a Block Team made up of the residents who want to build block power, starting with neighbors who are already very consistent voters
  • Support that Block Team with data, tools, and resources to connect with non-voting neighbors by gathering their input on what matters to them and taking action on a block issue by sending a petition to local government
  • Empower Block team to increase voter turnout through relationship building with non-voting neighbors, and engaging these neighbors in neighborhood advocacy
  • Provide tools to help sustain and build Block Team’s power after elections
Your Chance
If you’re fed up with the status quo and you’re willing to invest a few hours a week to build your block’s power by engaging your neighbors, email info@14cities.org to get involved. We have resources, tools, and a step-by-step guide to get started making an impact!

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