Sherri Zann Rosenthal is running for an At-Large City Council seat. With Durham’s creativity and grounded grittiness, Sherri believes we will have a vibrant, inclusive future if we protect Durham’s history and character amid development, demand that citizen participation be woven into our systems of government, and center solutions on Our Durham Values.
Sherri retired in 2020 as Durham’s Deputy City Attorney after 25 years of service. Before that, she was a Legal Aid attorney specializing in representing low-income tenants, fighting for better housing and against evictions.
Sherri was active in the community reinvestment movement, successfully challenging big banks using the Community Reinvestment Act, and was a founding board member of the NC Fair Housing Center.
In the 1990s, Sherri created Eno Commons, a 22-home green community that remains the most energy-efficient neighborhood in North Carolina. Because of her varied housing experience, Sherri was recruited to create the legal side of the City’s affordable housing program.
After Sherri's father left the family when she was a teenager, her family was plunged into poverty. This was before the Uniform Child Support Enforcement Act was passed. Men could move across state lines and virtually no sheriff would enforce child support orders. Sherri attended Duke University through a combination of scholarships, loans, grants and working three jobs through most of school. It was her family's experience with DSS and other poverty support programs that motivated Sherri to pursue a job with legal aid when she graduated from law school.
I dedicate this campaign to the spirit and memory of
Dr. Charles “Chuck" Davis (1937-2017), founder and principal choreographer of DanceAfrica and the African-American Dance Ensemble, who had great influence on me. Chuck’s love for Durham and all of us was contagious. He embodied deep learning about one’s own tradition in order to share it so authentically that it becomes universal. I believe in unity through diversity.
Many of us have vivid memories of being in downtown Durham, part of large crowds, as Chuck would lead us in chanting his mantra, "Peace, love, respect for everybody."
“We need reminders of our history,” Chuck, told The New York Times in 2001. “It adds meaning to our lives.” While he was talking about DanceAfrica, he also believed it about our cities.
Chuck had a dream to create a Sacred Urban Forest in Durham, and enlisted me to help him. He hoped to create a place with beautiful trees of many kinds surrounding a dance and ceremonial space. His illness stopped us from moving forward.
I hope some of you will work with me to establish a Sacred Urban Forest in Durham dedicated to Chuck, perhaps in a city park. - Sherri
~Peace, Love, Respect for Everybody~