Durrel grew up in a tight knit community where people looked out for each other. The oldest of two in a single parent household, growing up Durrel often pitched in to help keep food on the table. In high school working part time jobs at Taco Bell and the like, he met coworkers who were locked in a cycle of poverty–unable to apply for jobs to make more money because it would disqualify them from government resources like housing or food stamps.

After high school he took a job working for the Prison system to help his mother keep food on the table. While there, Durrel saw firsthand the injustice of the system and vowed to be a change agent. After rising to the rank of Lieutenant, he decided to take the things he observed, the stories he heard, and the realities of the people he met to follow his north star:  creating a world where fewer Black, Brown, and poor people land in prison.

After working a session in the Texas House of Representatives as a Legislative Aide helping to write legislation and maneuver the lawmaking process, Durrel went on to work on various Democratic political campaigns across the country, issue-based campaigns, and with a host of progressive organizations. 

Among the victories he’s most proud of:

  • Winning a campaign to raise the minimum wage to $12.50 in Washington State.
  • Lobbying to pass SEIU 925’s legislative agenda in 2016 at the Washington State Capitol
  • Spearheading legislation make grand jury selections more diverse and inclusive
  • Leading the campaign to bring voting polls to the Harris County Jail for eligible voters who happen to be incarcerated
  • Changing hearts and minds around the freedom to marry leading up to the Supreme Court Decision
  • Founding ID Connect program providing State IDs/Birth Certificates to clients building a new life
  • Helping Oklahoma County officials bring jail-based voting to eligible voters in the jail

Those wins were highpoints in a 10-year career as a community organizer, union organizer, and advocate working with: 

  • Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO
  • Freedom to Marry
  • SEIU
  • The Sentencing Project
  • MoveOn
From union organizer to community organizer, to founder of a non-profit, Durrel has been in the trenches fighting for our future.  With your help, Durrel will add “Elected Official” to the list of roles he’s held in the fight for a more equitable, inclusive Michigan.

Durrel is a proud member of the Michigan Democratic Party, the Detroit NAACP, The Charles Wright Museum of African American History, and the Working Families Party.