Community organizer Sendolo Diaminah will resign from Durham Public Schools Board of Education this month to focus on social justice issues and helping to defeat presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“As each of you know, this has not been an easy decision,” he wrote in an email to school board members Saturday. “However, after extensive discussion with the groups and individuals who supported my campaign and presence on the board, I feel clear that this is the right decision.”
Diaminah has missed four of nine meetings of the full board in 2016. He attended four meetings in person and a fifth by phone.
Diaminah, who couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday, was elected in May 2014 to represent District 2.
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“What I did not know when I ran for office was that during my term the Movement for Black Lives would erupt and that Donald Trump would run for president,” he wrote. “Over the course of the last two years, my paid work as a trainer of Black social justice organizers around the country and my unpaid work building up organizations to defeat Trump have taken on incredible proportions.”
Ultimately, Diaminah wrote, he came to the conclusion that best contribution to the movement for social justice right now is as an organizer.
Diaminah encouraged the board to fill his seat with someone from the Hispanic community, a “gaping absence” on Durham’s elected bodies, he wrote.
Remaining members of the school board must appoint a replacement within 60 days of Diaminah’s official resignation, which will likely come at the Aug. 25 board meeting. If they are unable to agree on a replacement, county commissioners will have 60 days to fill the seat.
If commissioners are unable to agree, the clerk of court can appoint a candidate to fill the seat.
School board Chair Mike Lee described Diaminah as a passionate voice for Durham Public Schools and social issues.
“Losing his voice, losing his passion is definitely a tough one,” Lee said. “I think it is a huge loss for the board.”