On September 18th, 2021 more than 500 BUILD members representing 72 congregations, schools, nonprofits, and other institutions assembled in person and online for BUILD’s first hybrid Citywide Action. They gathered to launch their fall research campaigns after having listened to more than 1800 people over the last 6 months. Baltimore's Mayor Scott joined them, sharing “BUILD has been a steadfast partner for Baltimore City... Iron sharpens iron. Pressure creates diamonds. We can challenge each other to be better.”
With millions of federal dollars destined for Baltimore, BUILD organized the two-hour session to ensure that Baltimore develops priorities that will address the city’s most pressing issues, as identified by its residents. Elizabeth Reichelt, BUILD Co-chair, in tribute to late BUILD Co-chair Bishop Douglas Miles, likened the challenge to a relay race that needs strong relationships between runners passing the baton to one another in order to succeed—a theme picked up by all of the action’s leaders who outlined BUILD’s ongoing efforts to address the city’s needs for better housing, jobs, education and the food and vaccination emergencies caused by the Covid pandemic.
“I want to work in relationship with you,” said Scott, who agreed to attend a minimum of five, 90-minute house meetings with BUILD members; honor BUILD leaders who have delivered over 6.9 million meals in emergency food aid during the pandemic; work with Sacred Heart of Jesus parish and other BUILD institutions to improve healthcare for the uninsured; collaborate with BUILD to identify more neighborhoods ripe for residential and commercial redevelopment with a $2 million dollars investment to begin; and affirmed a commitment to strengthen local hiring mandates with a minimum of 30% local hiring for developments supported with public subsidy.
In response to the session, more than 80 BUILD leaders signed up to work on one of five issues — healthcare for the uninsured, living wages for local workers, housing and community redevelopment, violence and over-policing, and improved city services.