Durham City Council Passed Ceasefire Resolution after months of organizing

Durham City Council Passed Ceasefire Resolution after months of organizing

by | Mar 20, 2024 | Movement Building

After months of city council speakouts, rallies, and meetings with council members, hundreds of people gathered outside of City Hall on February 19, the night that Durham City Council voted on the ceasefire resolution. The city barred hundreds of people from entering, likely in reaction to a prior demonstration that interrupted business as usual in the city council chambers in early February. This was despite the fact that many seats remained empty both in and outside the chambers. In front of City Hall, hundreds of community members protested this exclusion as they sang and chanted for a free Palestine and led a people’s council for hours outside in the cold. 

Inside the chambers, over 30 people gave public comments in support of a free Palestine and a permanent ceasefire resolution. At the end of the six hour city council meeting, it came time to vote on the resolution. With a 4-2 vote, Durham city council members passed the resolution that calls for 1)  a permanent ceasefire, and 2) an end to U.S. military aid for Israel, making Durham the largest city in North Carolina to call for a ceasefire. Durham joins over 50 cities in the U.S. who have called for a ceasefire, aligning with its legacy as the first city in the United States to ban police collaboration with the Israeli Defense Forces in 2018. 

In the 2 months leading up to the ceasefire resolution, six organizations hosted nine events with the explicit purpose of educating, organizing, or mobilizing around Palestinian liberation at People’s Solidarity Hub. Some of the public events included a “Palestine & Workers in the US” forum and discussion led by Durham Workers Assembly, and a Black & Palestinian Liberation Open Mic hosted by the Carolina chapter of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL). Both events brought out a crowd, with over 100 attendees between just these two events. 

PSH’s Lending Library also provided support to a majority of the ceasefire rallies held in both Durham and Raleigh. Two examples include the Fly for a Free Palestine event and several rallies at Moore Square. PSH coordinated with organizers to provide megaphones, mics, speakers, projectors, portable battery packs, folding tables, pop-up tents, medic supplies, and more to over half a dozen events in the months leading up to the city council vote. With each Lending Library request, organizers were relieved of costs that can easily climb into the hundreds. 

Of the 30+ organizations that collaborated to draft the Ceasefire resolution, recruit community members and other organizations into the coalition, and/or educate the public around the history of the Palestinian liberation struggle, five of these organizations are fiscally sponsored by SVA. With SVA’s support as a fiscal sponsor, these groups and organizations have been able to spend more time organizing, instead of navigating the administrative and legal obstacles that grassroots organizations face when trying to secure and maintain c(3)  funding. 

While the growing number of city councils passing ceasefire resolutions cannot force Biden to demand a ceasefire, they place significant political pressure on him and other U.S. representatives to do so, particularly ahead of the November general election. SVA and PSH remain committed to supporting grassroots organizations as they organize for Palestinian liberation, and the liberation of all nations from neo-colonialist forces. Consistent meeting spaces and fiscal sponsorship allows organizers to stay focused on the many other challenges of organizing. As we recognize the pivotal role that the South can play in the national political landscape this fall, we recognize that our movement leaders deserve long term access to the resources that will bolster their ability to win liberatory campaigns, at home and abroad.

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