Leonardo Williams for City Council



Through my activism and advocacy as an educator in Durham Public Schools, I became chair of the NC Foundation for Public School Children – NC’s largest nonprofit for public school children. I led the organization in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to provide necessary funds for educators and students. I was a member of the NC Association of Educators and served as an executive board member of the Durham Association of Educators. I founded the PHASE 3 Group geared toward community, school, and family support; I also worked with mental health agencies to support local public schools. I was an educational consultant for Governor Roy Cooper’s administration, contributing expert strategies and solutions for supporting the North Carolina School System. During the pandemic, I established a formal relationship between Durham Public Schools and Ottendorf Labs to ensure DPS students had access to free, accurate COVID-19 testing. I also lobbied the NC General Assembly for the right to collective bargaining for educators and worked on a statewide bi-partisan committee for NC School Principals.

In the business sector, I served on the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce – activating coalition-building for those who weren’t often at the table and supporting small businesses across Durham. When our city was not able to adequately support our small businesses during the pandemic, I worked across the city to establish the Durham Small Business Coalition. We organized $3 million for the Small Business Fund during COVID-19 to support folks in Durham.

In community advocacy, I am deeply committed to mentorship and supporting our black and brown communities. Though we were on the brink of losing our restaurant, I led the efforts of local restaurant owners and volunteers to feed our displaced neighbors from McDougald Terrace. I co-founded the 1000 Black Men mentorship program, am a part of alumni mentoring programs at NCCU, and I’m currently working on a citywide apprenticeship program for Durham youth. I co-founded Bank Black in Durham and started Activate Durham which is a mutual aid network. I serve on the Board of the Emily K Center, and I am a candidate for the Biden/Harris White House Small Business Council

All of my activism and advocacy have been in partnership with resilient community members seeking support and resources to live and thrive here in Durham.

I’m a grassroots practitioner who understands that we are greater when we work together. Relationships are key to successful and democratic governance. In my career as an educator, administrator, and small business owner, I have developed relationships across Durham and the greater Triangle area. We need perspectives and ideas from different sectors of our community, not more of the same. And we, of course, need to be in touch with those who have been most affected, exploited, and marginalized. There are experts throughout our community. I value all of them. The most engaging and equitable way of solving issues is to solve them with people. I understand, honor, and appreciate the power of relationships. I look forward to working with you too.

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