How Khalilah Karim is making an impact on voters in person and online


Holland Bodner

November 5, 2023

General election day is a couple of days away in Durham and the race for city council has intensified. Khalilah Karim is continuing to push for advocacy and voter engagement through her platform, as well as social media. Karim is setting the stage as she proves to herself and Durham that she has what it takes as a city council candidate.

 As a fresh face in Durham politics, Karim has been interesting to watch. She has surpassed her other opponents, coming in fourth place in the Durham municipal primary election for city council. 

“I think as a newcomer, I did well with getting my views across,” said Karim.

“I was excited that over 8,000 people agreed with me. They felt that Durham needed more community, driven by the needs of the Durham residents.”

Karim is connecting to voters both in person and online. By campaigning on social media, she hopes to grow voter engagement. The primary election had a voter turnout of only 11.7 percent. Karim is making sure to connect more with residents to increase voting and get more attention for her platform. 

“Knowing how social media works has helped me reach the younger generation,” said Karim

Social media has been a powerful tool for Karim, as she has been building on her efforts in the race. She has been utilizing platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to showcase her community involvement and highlight her work as an environmental leader. In a recent post on Instagram, you could find Karim door-knocking alongside Equality NC.

“What I’m doing to add to the work I’ve done before is making sure I’m doing more. More canvassing, film events, and social media posts to get my name out there. So people know what it is I’m fighting for,” said Karim

Karim discussed what she wants voters to focus on with her platform moving into the general election. She understands the current issues facing Durham today and wants to expand the work being done to help residents. 

“Right now in Durham, many citizens are focused on affordable housing and crime. Those two issues are real and important. The one issue we forget to add to that is the environment. These issues are all connected,” said Karim

Environmental harm is one of the leading issues in the Durham area that has shown an increase in the city. Conservation serves as an important point for Karim, as she highlights the impact environmental harm can have on residents. 

“Sometimes we don’t think about environmental harm and how it can show up in our black, brown, and low-income communities,” said Karim

“Environmental harm occurs because of climate change. If you don’t have access to resources and funding to help mitigate the issue, then the environment you are in won’t thrive.”

As Durham neighborhoods become more endangered by environmental destruction, Karim has supported organizations such as the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters through her platform. 

Her vision for Durham starts by being “open to communication,” said Karim. 

To increase voter engagement, Karim is also continuing to be open to voters by listening to their needs. 

“I’ve been trying to meet with a lot of different types of people just to get their vision of Durham too, to discuss how it relates to what I would like to see in Durham as well,” said Karim.

“What I want for Durham is for residents to have success.”

Running for city council is a large task for Karim. Over the last months, she has reminded us how important community is and what that looks like to her. Throughout her campaign, Karim has had her community standing behind her with support. 

“I wouldn’t be here without them. They have been supportive by encouraging me to run and helping me fundraise. From door-knocking to phone banking, they have been an integral part of my team that believes and supports me,” said Karim.

“That is what community is about—knowing that there are people around you who support you and see you. They want to make sure that you’ll do well.”

As election season is nearing its end, Karim looks back on her campaign process and the work she has put into the city of Durham. Through every campaign moment, she remains confident in her ability to push through setbacks and achieve success. 

 “You have to look back into yourself and question your purpose,” said Karim.

“For me, it’s realizing that sometimes I make mistakes but, my end goal is for the Durham community to be uplifted and to succeed.”

Edited by Hannah Adams

Holland Bodner is a current writer for the Durham Voice. She is currently obtaining her Bachelor's Degree (Journalism) from UNC-Chapel Hill.


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