Stand up for Durham: A city like no other


“A different city every night” is a common phrase used among music artists when describing touring the world. Most non-celebrities do not imagine themselves ever having such an opportunity, but it is possible.

Brooklynn Cooper, Teen Editor-in-Chief, the Durham VOICE.

Brooklynn Cooper, Teen Editor-in-Chief, the Durham VOICE.

This summer I embarked on the journey of a lifetime through a program called Teens Westward Bound. Approximately 80 students from all over southeast America traveled the country for three weeks. We left from Davidson College and went all the way to California and back on a charter bus, stopping at various cities along the way. Because the trip was only 23 days long, we were literally in a different city every night, with few exceptions.

Everyone on the trip was a stranger to me, aside from one of my school counselors, so I learned how to make friends quickly. Each city I visited gave me a greater appreciation for America, and for my hometown, Durham. It was very easy to write people off by judging them, especially since they were strangers, but being in such close proximity with the same people for so long taught me how to appreciate people’s attributes.

This is a problem that many Durham residents have, judging peers because they might live in a certain neighborhood. The community should focus on the positive citizens of Durham, such as the man who produces “Durm” shirts from his own home in Walltown.

When I introduced myself to other participants on the trip, most people did not think anything of Durham until I said, “Duke University is there.” My TWB peers were deprived of the knowledge of Durham’s diversity, and that is what how I described Durham to them. Like an extra large salad, where one can identify all the different components–the tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, and croutons–yet they exist in harmony.

It is also imperative that the community starts appreciating the unique aspects of Durham rather than its unpleasant features. Every place in the world has cons, but that is not why people choose to live there. Instead of constantly complaining about the crime rates or run-down areas around the city, we should praise our positive counterparts.

We have fabulous restaurants that can only be found in our city, such as Dame’s Chicken and Waffles, Only Burger, The Parlour, Cocoa Cinnamon, and more.

According to News and Observer, Durham’s crime rate is decreasing steadily every year, while it seems like people’s opinions of Durham are steadily increasing.

We have great schools, restaurants, and a rich culture that no other city could replicate.

It is time to shed the falsified reputation that Durham has gained because of small blemishes. Bull City is more than its negative statistics.

Brooklynn is the Durham VOICE editor-in-chief and a senior at Northern High School.