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An Interview with Dorothy Cunningham: President of the Irvington Community Association

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As a 20-year resident, Dorothy Cunningham takes her role as president of the Irvington Community Association very seriously and wishes for continued positive growth. 

At My Brother’s Keeper, we consider ourselves neighborhood caregivers. Providing members of the Irvington community in Baltimore with invaluable resources is something we are proud to do. We want residents in Irvington to understand that we are all working together towards a greater good. That is why we found it essential to highlight Dorothy Cunningham this week. She is a 20-year resident of the Irvington community, a board member at MBK, and the president of the Irvington Community Association. Read on to learn more about her.

How did Dorothy Cunningham become president of the Irvington Community Association?

Dorothy Cunningham began attending community meetings when she first moved to Irvington 20 years ago. She would report community concerns to 311 and to the police department, perform block projects, and attend safety and housing meetings. After awhile, she said she was voted in as vice president because the community noticed her committed attendance. “I’ve held this seat 12 years now,” Cunningham says, “My hopes were to transform the community.”

What changes has she seen during her leadership role?

Dorothy Cunningham admits she has seen both good and bad changes in the community in the last 12 years. Some of the negative changes include more drug dealing in the community and more vacant houses. She says some of the positive changes include, “more residents attending community meetings and participating, new businesses, and the attention that Irvington now receives from the Mayor’s office, police department, and our elected officials.” In 2012, Mayor Rawlings-Blake recognized Dorothy “Dot” Cunningham as one of Baltimore’s Top Neighborhood Moms.

President Dorothy Cunningham’s Responsibilities in Irvington

No one can deny that Dorothy Cunningham’s efforts make a positive difference in the Irvington community. She defines her responsibilities as president of the Irvington Community Association as follows:  

  • Hold a monthly meeting
  • Do community walks with a code enforcement inspector
  • Conduct meetings with the major at Southwest Police Dept.
  • Work with housing to address problem properties
  • Conduct bi-weekly prayer walks
  • Attend liquor board and zoning hearings
  • Attend city council meetings
  • Hold the Irvington elected officials accountable
  • Provide community service hours for young people and men and women with court orders

President Cunningham also attends MBK meetings when she is not busy doing other community work. She says she meets with MBK Director Danise Jones-Dorsey “to discuss community issues, attend fundraisers, provide support letters for funding, and whatever else I can do to help.”

Community Policing Efforts in the Irvington Community

Last week, we shed light on five ways in which average community members can contribute to improving the police climate in Baltimore – community policing being one of them. Last year, when Mayor Rawlings-Blake testified on city policing, president Cunningham was quoted in the WBAL report saying, “People don’t trust the police a lot because of past experience, so what has to happen is we have to break down those barriers and develop a relationship with the police.” President Cunningham believes that mistrusting the force as a whole isn’t effective and that working to weed out the bad seeds is a better solution.

As we mentioned in last week’s blog, president Cunningham is happy to report that after a year of meeting with several community officials, “We now have a full-time foot officer that walks our business district. He’s out talking and getting to know the community needs, not only the police issues.”

Ready to Strengthen Your Community? Talk to My Brother’s Keeper About Helping

To learn more about our youth programs, how to help, or to find out more about our services including hot meal programs, employment assistance, health services and identifying possible emergency shelter, call MBK today at 410-644-3194. You can also follow our official MBK page on Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, to stay up to date on our center’s progress and upcoming events in the community.

Community policing after a year of meeting with Commissioner, Captain and Major and standing firm we now have a full time foot officer that walks our business district he’s out talking and getting to know the community needs not only police issue

 

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