Greater Bor community in USA ‘ready’ to go forward

Category: Diaspora
Published on Saturday, 11 December 2010 21:18
Written by The New Sudan Vision (NSV),
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Deng Lueth Mayom, President of the Greater Dinka Bor Community in USA, unveils his team after his historic election in September. 

(Vermont USA) - In September a group of individuals from the Dinka Bor community got together in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, to form an overall leadership and celebrate one of the community’s biggest festivals: Awak. After a competitive election, Deng Lueth Mayom emerged to be the people’s favourite to head the Greater Bor Community’s top post in the USA.  Then, New Sudan Vision’s Akol Akuek reported extensively on the event. Recently, he did a Q&A with the Greater Bor Community leadership in the USA to find out how the team’s progressing.

NSV (Akol Aguek): “Thank you so much for taking time to touch base with The New Sudan Vision since your victory three months ago. The fact that three of you can make it tonight on a short notice is a clear vindication of your faith in serving your community. I guess I can begin my interview with this simple question. How do you feel about the energy, enthusiasm, and dedication of the team you have put together in carrying out the goals and objectives of the Organization?

Chiengkuach Mabil Majok (Vice President): “I am very very optimistic about what the team will accomplish for our community. These are not just people who were just asked for the sake of naming them but are individuals known for getting things done not for themselves but for their people. These are individuals who have in one way or another stood up for the causes larger than themselves. We took time to talk to every single one of them, and they enthusiastically answered yes to the call to serve their community. This is a clear evidence of their dedications to working hard to achieve the goals and objectives of this organization; this community”.

James Maluak Malou (Secretary): “No doubt in our mind that this team is going to deliver for their community. The question about the success is always going to be about how you measure the success and the success is always in the eye of beholder. Therefore, it is going to be hard to have everyone conclude that we and the team we have assembled have succeeded in all we have wanted to do for our community. But in the end, this team will get the job done for our community”.

Deng Lueth Mayom (President): “Human being has time to sleep and time to wake up. Our people have woken up and are ready to take their community forward.  I do not know if it is because of education or the strong desire to create a cohesive community that seeks to meet the needs of its people that had brought this enthusiasm to this effort. Therefore, in a general term, we have the support of our people, and we have picked the top notch team to get the job done. Every one of us who has answered the call to serve this Bor Community through this organization, the GBCO, is going to do his/her best in ensuring that the goals that our community aspires to achieve get done. This team is going to hit the ground running in the few months to ensure that we get all the priorities aimed at helping our community in place”.

NSV: “Mr. President, you have just mentioned hitting the ground running, what do you exactly mean by that? In other words, what is the first thing that you need to tackle on the fly now that the team has been assembled and the offices supporting the top leadership have been formed?”

Deng Lueth Mayom (President): “Let me make this clear Akol Aguek. We have now begun the role of serving the community has its elected leadership. The first thing to do right away is to begin the communication phase. We need to get out there to our community and make our agendas heard. We need to make sure that all voices are heard and all concerns are raised and addressed.  Soon, the Board of Directors and everybody else whom we have identified on the leadership structure will be sent a copy of the bylaws. The time frame at which people will review them and make recommendations will be a week. After that, all the comments will be forwarded to the Bylaws committee to make editing. The final draft will then be sent to the Board of Directors for approval. The constitution of the community will be passed the same way, too. (At the community meeting; members will review the two; bylaws and constitution; and make recommendations where necessary and amendments can be made). After the board passes the bylaws, we will apply for article of incorporation and proceed to the 501 (C) 3 status [status that will allow the donors to get tax breaks from the US Internal Revenue Service]. The goal is to get these steps done as quickly as possible. The key thing here is that we want the community to be a 501 C 3 status when we hold the reunion in Southern Sudan. In the meantime, we will be reaching out to the community and do the explanation and communication missions that I mentioned to you. The goal is to educate all members of our community of our agenda/plan and how it can be achieved; explaining how each and every individual can contribute”.

Chiengkuach Mabil Majok (Vice President): “If I may add to Deng’s elaboration which he has done very succinctly, we are going to tour almost all the states where members of Bor community are, and talk to each of them and ask for their support because we cannot do this alone. We need the support from all our constituents. The other thing that we have started doing already is to reach out to the state communities to hold referendum rallies in their individual states in order to make American people know what is at stake with Southern Sudanese referendum.  It is all Southern Sudanese role to do just that. But we as elected members of Bor Community have to do our part by ensuring that our constituents make it happen. And it is happening already. After my final exams are over next week, I will leave Brandeis University for the State of Vermont and my goal is to help you folks down there to organize the referendum rally and if we can take it to the Church Street of Downtown Burlington, that is going to be quite something. The assembling of the leadership team was the hardest part; the next phase is really going to be exciting”.

NSV (Akol Aguek): “If I may ask you three to comment on what I think to be the hardest and probably the most controversial question, are you now getting the total support from all your constituencies? I mean from all members of three counties that make up the Bor Community?”

James Maluak Malou (Secretary): “People take time to buy into an idea. Do we have the support of the majority of our people? Of course, we do. Do we have people who are opposed to this or are sitting on the fence? You bet. But in the end, they will all come on board when they see that the idea of having a united and cohesive Bor Community is succeeding. But I may add Akol that we are not going to leave anybody behind because he is very hard to convince or because we think he is not important to our community. Every single person is important to our community, and our job as their elected representatives is to make sure that we make them understand what it is that we intend to do for our community and they will support it”.

Deng Lueth Mayom (President): “Akol, the vast majority of our people overwhelmingly support us. Since we left Michigan on September 6, 2010, we have been communicating with our people. We listened to the ideas and concerned raised by our people as much as we talked to them about our ideas. What we have gotten so far is a tremendous support for the organization. And you can see from the lineup of the leadership team we have assembled. This truly represents our community and its constituents. I tell you, if we didn’t have the support of our community, this team would not have been successfully put together. It was easier to do because people are willing and ready to do something that will make the lives of our people a little bit better than it is now. We have talked to everybody and we listened to each other and this is why we believe we are getting there; in getting full support of our community members”.

NSV (Akol Aguek): “Mr. President, one of the first things you mentioned in your victory speech was the reunion of all members of Greater Bor Community back home in Bor Town. How is that coming? I mean, is it an idea that is moving from talk the talk to walk the walk or was it something said at the political kumbaya moment?”

Deng Lueth Mayom (President): “What do you mean? Do you mean I was saying it for the sake of saying it in order to get applauses? I tell you, if I thought it was something that I won’t do, I would not have said it because it was not a promise to get elected. It was something I said after I won the election and that means I meant it when I said it. Look at the organizational structure. We have formed the reunion committee headed by Simon Gatluak Chop. It is happening and mark your calendar that around this time next year, December 2011, we will have the reunion at home in Bor Town. Part of the unknown though is the referendum outcome. If it goes as we all hope that South will become independent next year, we will have the reunion done next year around this time. So start the countdown 12 months out from now. Of course, it will require some fundraising and the plans to do so are underway”.

NSV (Akol Aguek): “Can three of you comment on what you have learned from the Bor women organization which has proven to be a tremendous success in terms of fundraising and being able to at least secure a land from Jonglei State Governor, Kuol Manyang Juuk, for their women projects in Bor Town? What is the take away from their success story? Is there anything Greater Bor Community Organization of the United States can emulate from Bor women organization success?”

Deng Lueth Mayom (President): “The take away from women success story is nothing but communication; communication; and communication, period. We have not formally consulted with their leadership team but what I have learned anecdotally was their leadership was and is dedicated to knocking on doors and never giving up in persuading those who were opposed to the idea or those who were simply sitting on the fence and it paid off”.

James Maluak Malou (Secretary): “I think Deng has touched on everything that has to do with Bor women success story. But let me mention one thing, Akol. Their organization took a long time to take off because it had issues and it was not until, I think last year, when they overcame those stumbling blocks that they succeeded in moving forward with their goals and objectives. And that success was made possible by nothing but the dedication of their leadership team to work hard to bring their constituents together even when it took long time to do so and that worked really well in the long run. Yes, we can learn from them the fact that we should not give up in persuading people to support this organization”.

Chiengkuach Mabil Majok (Vice President): “Let me correct one thing, Akol. The Greater Bor Community Organization of the United States includes everybody irrespective of gender, age and others. So women are part of this organization and they are going to contribute in many ways to make this organization succeed. We have chosen some ladies to serve in this organization. We will in the near future reach out to their organization leadership team to ensure that we align our priorities appropriately so that we do not commit the limited resources to duplicating services. I think this applies to reaching out to other organizations out there as well as current county and state leaderships on the ground because collaboration is going to be the key in helping our people here and back home”.

NSV (Akol Aguek): “Let’s talk about the biggest elephant in the room. Are your former opponents and I mean specifically Mabior, Dhieu, Ayuen, and Mayol still supporting you as they had promised during their concession speeches? And have you reached out to them in order to recruit them for some positions in your administration?

Deng Lueth Mayom (President): “Yes, they are supporting us and they have committed to doing their parts as members of this organization. But do we know what is in their hearts? Of course not. But we can take them at their words. They are great people and each of them would have gotten our supports had they won. I am confident that they are supporting us and of course they are critical for the success of this organization as well”.

Chiengkuach Mabil (Vice President): “Indeed, we had reached out to them with possible offers to serve in this organization but they all had great excuses to turn down our offers and we took them at their words. They are Bor Community citizens and we will continue to tap their expertise as we move forward with building our united community that supports the growth and prosperity of our people”.

NSV (Akol Aguek): “And Mr. Secretary Maluak, do you have anything to add? Is Maluak on the line? I think we have lost Maluak. Anyway, let’s wrap it up here but I still have one more question. Did you get any encouraging news or support from Bor Community members living in other parts of the world and even back home?

Deng Lueth Mayom (President): “Overwhelmingly! I cannot emphasize enough how many people have congratulated me or asked for my advice in the wake of my election. And this is from around the world Akol. This shows our people need nothing but unity. And by the way, we learned from our elders who visited the US that even the youth groups at home have united and they have formed united body and leadership team like what we have just formed here in the US. So that is another opportunity to collaborate on the projects that we will put in place back home”.

Chiengkuach Mabil Majok (Secretary): “Unbelievable! Our people want us to do nothing but make this organization succeed and all people that I have spoken with from all corners of the world all have great things to say about what we have been able to do here in the US. I think we have a lot of great things to accomplish in the near future”.

NSV (Akol Aguek): “Any concluding remarks?”

Deng Lueth Mayom (President): “Our people have woken up and what we have accomplished so far has exceeded our expectations. You know Akol when we headed to Michigan back then in September 2010, the common wisdom was our people from the three counties would not want to unite but what happened? We had a successful election. We had the widely anticipated Awak ever. And then the cynics said wait a minute. This is a fluke! It is going to end here in Michigan and nobody will talk about it in a few days. And what do we have now? We have formed the top notch and the best ever leadership team in order to serve this organization and move our community forward. And the people who adamantly were opposed to this idea have changed from categorical no to wanting to contribute some ideas on how we can make the organization better. We are humbled by the support our people are giving us and we thank The New Sudan Vision for committing to bringing this great news to the Bor Community members here in the US and the world over”.

Chiengkuach Mabil Majok (Vice President): “Thanks Akol and the entire New Sudan Vision team for allowing us to speak to our people around the globe directly.  We, the three members that make up the elected leadership, are planning on touring the states. We are still walking on the details whether we can do it as a team or maybe divide the country up into probably three regions and have each of us and other members of the leadership team tour their assigned regions and then converge at one spot at the end of the tour to assess where we are with our messaging plan”.

NSV (Akol Aguek): “Thanks for taking the time to talk to the NSV. I know you have busy schedules with work, schools, as well as committing time to building this organization. I congratulate you all and your team for reaching this far. I am sure the NSV as well as other news organizations will continue to write about your accomplishments in the days and months ahead. Have a great night and my apologies to Maluak Malou for losing line connections towards the end of our conversation”.

Chiengkuach Mabil Majok (Vice President): “You are welcome and have a great night”.

Deng Lueth Mayom (President): “You are welcome Akol. Have a great night”.