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Community Building

WIN Leaders Grab Headlines With Press Conference and Reactions to President’s Photo Stunt

Angela Wilson-Turnbull, WIN Strategy Team member, St. Augustine Catholic Church

In recent weeks, Washington Interfaith Network (WIN), its member institutions, and its leaders have appeared in local and national press in response to police violence, the national uprisings that have followed, and the use of force against protesters outside of the White House last week.
On Friday, June 5th, WIN leaders held a press conference outside the historical Metropolitan AME Church to stand in solidarity with Black families and communities that have lost loved ones to police violence, and with protesters in D.C. and around the country. WIN leaders made clear that racist policing is but one of many manifestations of systemic racism in our city and country's political and economic landscape.

WIN Strategy Team member and pastor of Metropolitan AME Church William H. Lamar IV

The same systems that enabled and encouraged the violent removal of Black protesters from space outside of the White House are those that have enabled and encouraged the violent displacement of over 20,000 Black Washingtonians from their homes over the past 20 years. As Rev. William H. Lamar IV of Metropolitan AME Church said last Friday, "Any flourishing people is inextricable from an understanding of the people’s relationship to the land. For far too long this country has resisted the right of Black and Brown people to live peaceably upon the land." At our press conference, we publicly claimed the 250 acres at Reservation 13 and RFK stadium to create a cornerstone development that will provide space for affordable homes, living wage jobs, and community-owned businesses.
WIN has strove for racial and economic justice since its inception in 1996. To build power behind our demands, WIN is embarking on a Reimagine DC campaign with the goal of building a base of 25,000 people within a year behind a bold agenda that confronts systemic racism in D.C.’s budget and allocation of land, jobs, and housing.
Read more about our press conference and WIN leaders in the media below:

BUILD exceeds turnout quota of 100 to test 111 for soft launch of COVID-19 testing in partnership with University of Maryland

BUILD leaders leveraged relationships with University of Maryland and The Johns Hopkins Hospital to offer community-based testing in Baltimore City hotspots. When it became apparent that residents were unable to easily access the 3 sites and the city health department did not have the capacity to provide community-based testing, we rallied leaders in our member institutions to choose a neighborhood site. Rev Phyllis Felton of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church on the west side of the City volunteered her church, which is near a busy intersection, next to another BUILD church, and beside senior living apartments that were built by the church. Along with four other BUILD member churches, 2 BUILD affiliated schools, and other community organizations connected to BUILD members, we made a turnout commitment of 100.

University of Maryland staff, from medical directors to nurses to IT staff quickly set up the registration equipment, testing tents, and distancing measures. When the line became too long, the IT staff developed the capability for additional registration laptops. Rev Felton provided volunteers, water, juices, and information sheets. The University of Maryland gave a bag with masks, hand sanitizer and an information sheet to each person who had been tested. Results are expected in 48 hours.




BUILD’s Food Delivery Increases to 730 families

As a result of BUILD’s relationship with The Johns Hopkins University and strong member organizations Koinonia Baptist Church, ReBUILD Johnston Square Neighborhood Organization, Mt Sinai Baptist Church, Zion Baptist Church, ReBUILD Metro, and Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, BUILD began delivering food to 550 families in East Baltimore on April 29 for 16 weeks. Organizing for more funding has allowed us to increase the delivery to 730 families and includes PPE.

Two local food distribution services provide fresh food each Wednesday and a local produce co-op provides fresh produce every other Thursday. Our drivers and site coordinators are paid a stipend for their time, and volunteers contact each family prior to every delivery to make sure they are still and need and will be home to receive the food.

Working Together, BUILD and Johns Hopkins University leveraged over $650k to Support a Large Scale Food Delivery System to Feed over 2,000 Residents in East Baltimore

 leadership huddled as soon as the corona virus started appearing in our state. We committ to pivoting to doing everything we could to save lives while building a stronger Baltimore through this pandemic. After weeks of initial listening, BUILD leaders from Zion Baptist, Koinonia Baptist, Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, ReBUILD Johnston Square, ReBUILD Metro, and Turn Around Tuesday kicked off phase one of BUILD's public health initiative. 

On April 29th, 21 drivers were dispatched across East Baltimore delivering essential fresh food to the doorsteps of 550 families. Through donations, our drivers, many of whom have lost employment in the last several weeks, received a living hourly wage and have essential PPE while they work. In partnership with John Hopkins and City Seeds (Humanium), this food delivery will operate for the next 4 months. 

This is more than food. This strategy helps households with senior citizens and the immunocompromised shelter-in-place and reduce their risk of exposure to COVID-19, eliminating the need to stand in long cues at crowded and overstretched food distribution sites. With food in your cupboards, you have more ability to financially survive, putting your income towards other crucial needs.

This is also about dignity.  As the drivers left to make their deliveries, Father Bruce Lewandowski at Sacred Heart of Jesus shared, “I remember the photos during the Great Depression of bread lines and I remember the stories my grandparents would tell me about the humiliation they felt having to wait there to feed their family. This strategy helps folks hold their heads up a little higher, even when in need.”

We build power through relationships.  At a time when people feel cut-off and isolated, when we deliver food door to door, people see a friendly and familiar face. From a safe distance, they are called by their name and asked if they're okay. We are rekindling and reinforcing church and community ties that weeks of social distancing threaten to erode. Congregations are meeting new people and deepening relationships in the communities' greatest time of need. It shows that institutions are not simply houses of worship, but a place of transformation, even when our doors are closed.

This is the first outbreak in this global pandemic, not the last. If we continue to grow our relationships, strengthen our institutions, and expand our power, we will not only help people weather this crisis, but create a new Baltimore in the recovery. BUILD will be ready.

BUILD Unites 50 Citizens in Oliver Neighborhood Cleanup

On April 27th, 2019, over 50 people from three BUILD member institutions—Knox Presbyterian Church, ReBUILD Metro, and the Oliver Action Team—gathered at the Dawson Family Memorial Garden in Oliver to clean key spaces in the neighborhood and share future hopes for local green spaces.