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2024 Bunting Fellows Embrace the Art of Relationship Building and Organizing


The 2024 Bunting Fellows are currently in the seventh week of their leadership program. Throughout the program, they have gained valuable insights into their own identities, the social determinants of health affecting their community, and their individual leadership styles and responsibilities. 

On Wednesday, June 5, 2024, the Bunting Fellows engaged in an insightful discussion led by Rev. George Hopkins from BUILD (Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development), focusing on Building Relationships & Organizing. BUILD is an organization dedicated to empowering leaders in congregations, public schools, and neighborhood associations to collectively address community issues. 

An image of a written diagram on relationships of power: Corporate, Political, and Civic.

An image of a written diagram on relationships of power: Corporate, Political, and Civic.

During the discussion, the fellows explored the intricacies of political, corporate, and civic challenges, and deliberated on strategies for collaboratively navigating these spheres. Members emphasized the importance of garnering support from the political and corporate sectors for community initiatives, despite the prevalent apprehension about addressing power dynamics. They highlighted the significance of embracing discomfort and speaking up to drive meaningful change, even if it entails making others uneasy. 

One fellow, Mama Ngina, noted, "We need to change 'Divide and Conquer' to 'Unite and Conquer,' and work together to build our relationships whenever there is a threat of division." 

2024 Bunting Fellows, Mama Ngina and Curtis Warren.

2024 Bunting Fellows, Mama Ngina and Curtis Warren.

In conclusion, Rev. Hopkins emphasized that “when you are doing the work for the community, it is about respect. It is not about being liked.”

Rev. Hopkins acknowledged Bishop Douglas Miles as a great example of a leader who commanded respect rather than seeking to be liked. Bishop Miles was the Co-Chair Emeritus and Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) for BUILD and an unwavering supporter and instructor of the Bunting Neighborhood Leadership Program until his passing in 2021. Along with Rev. Hopkins, we express gratitude for his enduring leadership and inspirational impact on the Baltimore community. 

Bishop Douglas Miles

Bishop Douglas Miles. Photo Credit by UHI.