In these downright scary times it’s more important than ever that we double down on our efforts to build a multi-racial movement for justice. At Kilombo we have been laying the groundwork to do exactly this for over a decade and only have plans to grow in the years to come. Please join us with a donation that will go towards strengthening our existing efforts in build cooperative employment, affordable housing, food production, and the construction of community spaces for collective learning and self-organization.
We believe that to fight against the rampant inequity and injustice of our times, we have to build the solutions we need, from the ground up. In Kilombo, we are forming community-run institutions to answer basic needs, to cultivate spaces for an alternate sociality based on equality and cooperation, and to foster our imagination and capacity for self-determination.
Who we are:
El Kilombo is a community organization made up of migrants, students, working class residents, and people of color in Durham, NC. We opened the doors of our community center on May 1st, 2006 as a neighborhood social space and center for free community programming (youth and adult education programs, health and legal clinics, a weekly dinner, neighborhood festivals and more)–proposed and created by residents to support our community’s general well-being.
Over the past ten years we have grown beyond our space to create community institutions that address our basic survival needs, including employment, housing, and food. We launched a worker-owned cleaning cooperative with stable and dignified work. We created an affordable housing program, through which we as a community have acquired, renovated, and now collectively manage several housing units. We seeded an organic garden, which facilitates access to nutritious produce for our community members. Through thousands of hours of community labor, we are working together to build a community based on a foundation of equality and cooperation.
As our community grew and thrived, we became vulnerable to the effects of ‘urban revitalization’ and the consequent displacement of neighborhood residents. The financial crisis has also disproportionately affected our community, with cuts in social services, rising unemployment, and the defunding or privatization of public housing and public schools. These issues are accompanied by a rise in criminalization and policing that often target our youth.
Why we need your support:
Since our displacement from our community center just over a year ago due to rising rents, we have been repurposing a large residential building as a hub of offices/progamming space, while continuing our various institution-building initiatives (For more background, please read our statement regarding the closure of our center on Geer St.). Your support is needed for:
- The Justice Project: This past year, we have launched a community run legal office that provides quality, bilingual legal services at affordable prices, with expertise in immigration law. In addition to providing legal counsel The Justice Project hosts educational workshops about crucial information, such as your rights under the law, how to protect yourself in encounters with the police, and about the effects of policy changes on our communities. Even more importantly though, through The Justice Project, we are creating spaces where we as a community can define justice and ensure that it is upheld.
- Worker Cooperatives: We continue to advise the worker-owned cleaning cooperative, as they add more women as worker-owners. We are also facilitating the launch of a construction cooperative. For our existing cooperatives and those cooperatives yet to come, Kilombo provides regular consultations, financial guidance, and assistance in troubleshooting various issues. We have facilitated numerous workshops on topics such as business finances and conflict resolution, as well as broader conversations about the role of worker-owned cooperatives in the struggle for social justice. Through our worker cooperatives, it is possible for community members to have dignified work and living wages.
- Curriculum for Youth Education and Empowerment: From the very beginning, Kilombo has worked to design programs that educate and empower the youth in our community. We realize the particularly vulnerable position of youth of color, especially with the increased policing and violence directed against them. From after school programs, to field trips, to a summer camp, we have worked tirelessly to guide and mentor our youth. With your support, our youth commission can continue to fund these vital activities and programming.
- Community Garden and Chicken Coop: Through our community garden and chicken coop, our community can cultivate the knowledge and skills needed for healthy living. We also are able to ensure access to organic produce and eggs. The garden and chicken coop provide space for multigenerational learning and socializing while increase our community’s capacity to produce our own sustenance. With your support, our garden and chicken coop can grow in scope and feed even more of our community members.
- Affordable Cooperative Housing: Through thousands of hours of community labor and utilizing all the skills and capacities within our community, we continue to create and maintain affordable cooperative housing whereby those with the least access to stable, safe, quality housing are directly involved in building, maintaining, and managing housing as a community of residents. With your support, our housing initiative can continue to expand affordable quality units, as well as maintain existing dwellings.
We are setting our donor drive goal at $10,000 to help meet some of our most basic costs, though exceeding that goal would allow us to reach our greatest potential in advancing these important initiatives.
Donate today by becoming a Monthly Sustainer or by making a single donation. To donate via check, checks made payable to “Building from Below” can be mailed to PO Box 2103, Durham, NC 27702.
As a 501c3 organization, donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowable under the law.
Become a “Kilombo Sustainer” (Recurring Donations):
Become a “Sustainer” by committing to a monthly donation. Select the level of your monthly contribution and click the “Subscribe” button above. After clicking the “Subscribe” button above, you can choose to pay with a Paypal account OR a debit/credit card. To pay by debit/credit card, look toward the bottom of the page and click on “No Paypal account? Pay using your credit or debit card.” Please note that the Paypal site will require that you provide a valid email address. Your Sustaining donation will be automatically deducted each month. You can choose to modify your giving level at any time.
Note: If you prefer, you can also setup recurring monthly donations through your bank (whereby your bank 1. automatically mails a check to Kilombo monthly, or 2. your bank makes an automatic direct transfer monthly. Checks should be made payable to “Building from Below.” In the case of direct transfer, email email@example.com and we can provide you our bank routing and account information.).
Make a One-time Donation:
Online via Paypal or debit/credit card: Make a one-time donation by clicking the “Donate” button above. If you do not have a PayPal account: After clicking the button to the left, ignore the PayPal login box, and instead click “continue” under the phrase “Don’t have a PayPal account?” at the bottom of the page. Enter the amount you would like to donate, and remember to click “Update Total.”
Via Check: To make a donation in support of El Kilombo, please mail a check made out to “Building from Below” subject line “El Kilombo Donation” to P.O. Box 2103, Durham, NC, 27702. Donations to El Kilombo are 501(c)3 tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.