Durrel Douglas, Co-Founder
Durrel, 28, grew up in South Park on Selinsky Street. In 2005 he took a job as a correctional officer with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) for five years eventually rising to the rank of Lieutenant. After seeing the trend of hallways filled with young men of color coming from marginalized communities like his, he resigned in 2010 determined to balance the scales of justice through advocacy, grassroots organizing and community empowerment that would lead more from his community on a path to success.
Durrel moved to Austin in 2010 to advise State Rep. Dr. Alma Allen, Vice-Chair of the Texas House Corrections Committee, on issues related to prison reform for the 2011 Texas Legislature. Durrel is proud to have worked on HB 2649 which encourages non-violent state jail offenders to complete educational/rehabilitative courses by awarding "good time" for their successful completion, thereby reducing the chances they'll return to a life of crime.
After the legislative session, Durrel moved to Dallas working with Texas Organizing Project (TOP) to spearhead a campaign to end the school-to-prison pipeline at Dallas schools through both statewide policy advocacy and fighting for community inclusion in the decision-making process of student discipline locally.
When Gov. Perry signaled his intent to turn away billions in healthcare expansion, Durrel was among those organizing for hard working Texans.
In 2013, he organized around the issue of downtown commercial property owners not paying their fair share of taxes at the Harris County Appraisal District affecting the revenue streams of local infrastructure, schools and the Harris County Hospital District.
Most recently, Durrel worked as Texas State Director for Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO and organizing with Equality Texas on marriage equality for all Texans.
"From the success of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) to our momentum on criminal justice reform locally, our city works best when everyone has a seat at the table," said Douglas.
In 2012, while working with TOP, Durrel advocated for community inclusion in the decision-making process around Hobby Airport expansion that would change the lives of Houstonians living around the airport. In 2013, he was part of a campaign to make downtown commercial office building owners to pay their fair share of taxes contributing to our city, county and school district budgets.