Steve Schewel for Durham

Why I ran for Mayor

It’s simple. I love this city, I want to help it flourish and I want to ensure that everyone benefits from this prosperity.

I believe that Durham can become a model progressive city in the South that works for everyone - but that will only be possible when we work together to realize a shared vision. My 40+ years of experience immersed in Durham’s civic and political life have prepared me to lead us towards realizing  a shared vision—a vision of a prosperous, innovative, green and welcoming city that thrives on diversity and difference, that puts racial and economic justice at the top of our civic agenda, that defends the vulnerable among us, that cherishes robust, respectful debate on difficult questions, that embodies the belief that all residents get an opportunity to share in our newfound prosperity.



Where Steve's been... a timeline

A life dedicated to public service & Durham.

Civic Engagement

  • Member, Durham City Council, 2011-present

  • Member, Durham Board of Education, 2004-2008; Vice-chair, 2006-2008

  • Founder and former board member, Crayons2Calculators (C2C), non-profit supplying $1 million in free supplies to Durham Public Schools' teachers for the past ten years
  • Past Co-President, E.K. Powe PTA
  • Member, School Merger Issues Task Force (chair of committee that wrote final report)
  • Member, Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of Durham High School (now Durham School of the Arts)
  • Former member (21 years), Board of Directors, Durham Tech Community Foundation (past chair)
  • Former member, Board of Directors, Urban Ministries of Durham
  • Former member, Board of Directors, Durham Arts Council
  • Former member, Board of Directors, Durham Public Education Network
  • Former member, Community Advisory Board, WNCU Radio (N.C. Central)
  • Former member, Community Advisory Board, WUNC Radio (UNC-CH)
  • Former member, Board of Directors, N.C. Museum of Life and Science
  • Youth soccer coach for 18 years at the YMCA, Strikers Club, Brogden Middle School, Riverside High School

Professional Life

  • Founded The Independent (now Indyweek) as president and publisher in 1983 and published it for 30 years until selling the company in 2012
  • Co-founded, owned and produced Hopscotch Music Festival, 2010-2015
  • Teaches about social movements and political change; visiting assistant professor of public policy, Sanford School, Duke University (2000-2017)
  • Former co-director, North Carolina Public Interest Research Group
  • Former Instructor of English, North Carolina Central University
  • Former English teacher, Jordan High School


  • Recognized by the North Carolina Recreation and Parks Association as their 2014 North Carolina “Distinguished Legislator” for his advocacy of the funding, upkeep and safety of Durham’s parks
  • Keeper of the Dream Award from the Martin Luther King Steering Committee
  • The People’s Award: Recognizing Durham’s Progressive Champions, from the People’s Alliance (2016)
  • Reconocimiento from El Centro Hispano (2016)
  • The Human Rights Award from the Durham Human Relations Commission (2016)
  • Paul Harris Fellow Award from the Durham Rotary (2016)

City Council Leadership

  • Council liaison to the Durham Housing Authority
  • Chair, Durham-CHC Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • Chair, Finance Committee, Mayor’s Poverty Reduction Initiative
  • Member, Audit Services Committee
  • Council liaison to the Recreation Advisory Commission
  • Council liaison to the Durham Open Space and Trails Commission
  • Member, City Insurance Committee
  • Member, Council Legislative Affairs Committee