Volume 169 | August 1, 2022
"A More Equitable and Inclusive Montgomery County"
County Executive Marc Elrich
Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center
New Website Launched
The Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center has a new website —www.montgomerycountymd.gov/gilchrist. In addition to highlighting programs and services offered by the Center, the website features an extensive network of government and nonprofit resources available in the County.

These services are organized by category, such as food, housing, job readiness and more, under the GET HELP section to facilitate navigation. The IMMIGRANT RESOURCES section offers information about immigration legal services, “Know Your Rights” guides, immigration agencies, and more.

The Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center invites visitors to explore the website, and welcomes feedback and comments. If you notice any missing resources, please contact the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center at 240-777-4940 or email gilchristcenter@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Summer Classes

The Gilchrist Center is providing free online Citizenship Preparation classes (register here) and English Conversation classes (no registration required)! Click here for class brochure.

Check out classes and/or clinics offered by our partners at Gilchrist Center sites. Visit or call 240-777-4940 for information and referrals about programs and services.
Volunteer Center
Beat the Heat — Volunteer!
There are still lots of ways to volunteer during the dog days of summer. Find hundreds of ways to serve on the Volunteer Center website. There are a number of great summer events in addition to ongoing opportunities.
Immigration, Citizenship & Legal Services
August Workshops and Info Sessions

The Montgomery County Maryland Bar Foundation Pro Bono Program Legal Clinic is based on a free walk-in/no appointment model. Clients request brief and limited guidance about a specific legal issue and attorneys provide information and basic legal advice without any expectation of long-term representation. Due to the impact of COVID-19, the in-person evening legal clinics continue to be postponed indefinitely. For further information on how to apply and eligibility for a FREE one-on-one telephone consultation please see flyer.

Rita Rosenkrantz Family Law Training Program provides FREE LEGAL TRAINING to attorneys who agree to take a pro bono case. To learn more about the basics of family law training and how to access the webinar, please visit the Bar Foundation CLE page of the BAMC website at www.barmont.org. For additional information, please contact Yesenia at 301-340-2534 or Yesenia@BarFoundationMC.org.

Special Immigration Juvenile Status (SIJ) is avilable in English and Spanish.

Free Citizenship Preparation Classes at the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center

The Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center offers free Citizenship Preparation classes online. Registration for the spring semester is now currently open! Click here for information on how to apply.

Free Citizenship Application Consultations by APALRC

The Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center (APALRC) provides free legal assistance to individuals seeking to become U.S. citizens. You must be a lawful permanent resident to apply. Please call the APALRC Helpline at (202) 393-3572 and request assistance. To learn more about the program, please visit the APALRC website. Assistance is available in many languages including Chinese, Korean, and Urdu. Note: APALRC is also holding in-person meetings at the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center in Gaithersburg on a bi-monthly basis. Click here for details.

Montgomery College Offers Free Citizenship Preparation

Are you a legal, permanent resident preparing for the U.S. citizenship test and interview?
Montgomery College provides FREE citizenship preparation classes online via Zoom.
In partnership, Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services offers help with the N-400 application for naturalization. Upcoming in-person orientation sessions:

  • Tuesday, August 16 at 6:00 pm at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus
  • Saturday, August 20 at 9:00 am at the Rockville Campus

For more details, email citizenshipprogram@montgomerycollege.edu or see the website.
View the flyer here.

Legal Services

HIAS Asylee Outreach Project offers free help connecting Maryland asylees (and T visa holders) with the resettlement resources and benefits available to them in the state of Maryland. Click here for more information.

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) Baltimore

Quick Topics Training – Preparing for your Arlington Asylum Office Interview
Wednesday, August 17, Noon – 1:00 pm
Click here for information and registration.

Introductory Training- Representing Children in Immigration Matters
Wednesday, August 31, 9:00 am -11:00 am
Click here for information and registration.

Sexual Assault Services

MCASA is federally recognized state sexual assault coalition and responsible for certifying comprehensive rape crisis/sexual assault programs to ensure services are survivor centered. MCASA includes the Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI), which provides direct legal services to survivors of all ages across the state of Maryland. For further information please call (301) 565-2277 or visit the website Legal Services for Survivors | Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault | MCASA | Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Language Access Services for Crime Victims

The Language Access Program at Ayuda provides professionally trained, trauma-informed interpreters at no cost. Please email interpreterbank@ayuda.com with "Maryland Victims" in the subject heading to learn more and to add your organization to the list of those that will receive services.

Financial Assistance for Citizenship Application Fees offered by CASA

CASA, in partnership with Montgomery County, is offering financial assistance to those who are eligible to apply for citizenship but cannot afford the application fee. Click here for more information.
Advisory Group Meetings
Upcoming Meetings of County Executive's Ethnic & Faith Advisory Groups
African Affairs Advisory Group will be on recess for the month of August. For more information, please email Harrieta.Shangarai@Montgomerycountymd.gov.

Asian Pacific American Advisory Group will not meet in August and will reconvene in September. If you have any questions, please email Mr. Yi Shen at

Caribbean American Advisory Group will resume monthly meetings virtually on September 6, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. For information about CAAG or to attend the monthly meetings, please contact Rodrigue Vital, Caribbean American Liaison, at Rodrigue.vital@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Faith Community Advisory Group will not meet during the month of August. For more information, email Faith Liaison Kate Chance at kate.chance@montgomerycountymd.gov

Latin American Advisory Group will meet in-person in September at 6:30 pm. The meeting will focus on the County’s Bienvenidos Initiative in Wheaton. For more information, please email

LGBTQ Advisory Group will meet on August 8th from 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm. The meeting will be held on Zoom: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/86801452892. For more information, please contact amena.johnson@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Middle Eastern American Advisory Group will not meet during the month of August. For information about the next public meeting, please contact the OCP Middle Eastern American Community Liaison.
African Community
African Heritage Month
In recognition of African Heritage Month in September, the African Affairs Advisory Group will host the14th annual Montgomery County proclamation event on September 8th at 7:00 pm. To register in advance, please click here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the meeting.
Pan African Festival
The 11th Pan African Festival (PANAFEST) will be held on September 24 in Silver Spring. PANAFEST-USA celebrates African heritage and showcases the cultures of area residents of African descent. The event is organized by a coalition of area African diaspora communities led by the All Cameroonian Cultural and Development Foundation, Inc. (ACCDF) in partnership with the African Affairs Advisory Group of Montgomery County Maryland (AAAG).

This year the festival will be a celebration of life after the pandemic and will be headlined by international recording artist BM from the Democratic Republic of Congo. For more information, vendor and performance opportunities, visit www.panafestusa.org.
Senegal Day Festival
The Senegal Day Festival, an annual event celebrated by the Senegalese community in the DMV promotes culture, education, businesses, health, and inclusiveness within communities. On July 17th, County Executive Elrich joined the celebration and acknowledged the work of the Senegal Covid-19 task force for their effort in mitigating the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
African American Community
Golf Tournament to Benefit Scholarship Fund
Each year, The Alpha Phi Alpha Scholarship & Charitable Foundation awards several deserving Montgomery County high school students with generous scholarships for the upcoming school year as a way to help promote academic excellence within the community they call "home."

To support the scholarship endowment fund, the Silver Spring Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. will host the Golf Open Tournament at Bretton Woods in Germantown on Saturday, September 2nd. Please click here for details and registration.
Asian Pacific American Community
County Responds to Attack on Asian American Resident
Following an attack on an Asian resident in the county in late June, the County Executive's office immediately reached out to the victim and followed up with the Montgomery County Police Department. County Executive Marc Elrich held a press conference shortly after to reiterate that the County does not tolerate hate of any kind. He praised the victim for reporting the incident to the police and also for de-escalating the situation at the scene. Mr. Elrich recognized that hate bias incidents are underreported by the Asian community and urged community members to report incidents. The police will investigate all reported cases. For emergency, please call 911. For non-emergency, please call 301-279-8000.
Asian Pacific Island Desi American (APIDA) Studies Program

During the rise of hate crimes against Asians last year, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) held several dialogues with Asian students. As a result, MCPS will pilot an Asian Pacific Island Desi American (APIDA) Studies program in the 2022 fall semester at Clarksburg, Richard Montgomery and Paint Branch High Schools. READ MORE.
Caribbean American Community
Celebrate Jamaica's 60th Year of Independence
A service at Sligo Seventh Day Adventist Church in Takoma Park was held on Sunday, July 31 to celebrate Jamaica's 60 years of independence, which occurs on August 6. The Caribbean American Liaison attended the service and plans to participate in additional commemorating events slated for August.
Latin American Community
Support Volunteer Efforts to Welcome Migrants

Over the past months, several non-profit organizations have been leading a volunteer effort to welcome, provide temporary respite, and help new arrivals from the southern border reconnect with family at their destination. In Montgomery County, we are supporting this volunteer effort by asking our neighbors for hygiene kit donations. Hygiene kits for males, females, and children should include new socks, undershirts, underpants, and other basics. There are several other ways to help these efforts. Please click here to learn how to become involved.
Middle Eastern American Community
AMSS-MEAAG Partnership
In May, the American Muslim Senior Society (AMSS) invited MEAAG to serve on the AMSS Stakeholders Advisory Council and on the Health and Wellness Subcommittee. MEAAG co-chair Debbie Trent has been attending bi-weekly meetings, which have focused on revamping the AMSS website and organizing a mental health summit in the fall. Details are forthcoming.
Voter Education Initiative (VEI)
MEAAG concluded its VEI campaign by posting 10 videos on its YouTube Channel with one important message – “Don’t Forget to Vote by July 19” – in many of our heritage languages.
Pedestrian Master Plan

In early 2020, the Montgomery County Planning Department organized the volunteer Pedestrian Master Plan Community Advisory Group, on which MEAAG co-chair Debbie Trent has been serving. The group met again on July 26th to discuss the recently issued Draft Pedestrian Master Plan Draft Design, Policy, and Programming Recommendations, accessible here. If you have any input on the recommendations, please contact Debbie.

Author Conversations

The Montgomery County Public Library will be planning a fourth series of free virtual book talks to be held in the first half of 2023. MEAAG invites the community to recommend books of all kinds and topics, not limited to local authors. We have already engaged the translator of a volume of Persian poetry. Please contact the OCP’s Middle Eastern Liaison with your recommendations.

July Meeting

MEAAG held a monthly meeting on July 27 via Zoom. Please contact the OCP’s Middle Eastern Liaison for more information about the meeting.
Faith Community
August Holidays and Days of Interest

Farvardegan, Muktad, Gatha Prayers, August 8-17 | Ashura, August 8-9 |
Raksha Bandhan, August 11 | Ullambama Day, August 12 | Feast of Assumption, August 15 | Parsi New Year, August 17 |  Krishna Janmashtami, August 18 |
Ganesh Chaturthi, August 30
Faith Community Town Hall

On August 23rd at 7:00 pm the Faith Community Advisory Group will host a townhall with HHS' Cancer Program. Register in advance here.

Supporting Newcomers

The Montgomery County Resettlement Working Group will meet on August 30th at 7:00 pm to discuss ways to support Afghan and other newcomers. For more information, email Faith Liaison Kate Chance, kate.chance@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Nonprofit Security Grant Program

Nonprofits, synagogues, churches, mosques, and other houses of worship are eligible for federal support for physical security enhancements and activities to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of terrorist attack through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program. If your organization has questions or would like a letter of recommendation for its application, please contact Bart Kennedy, Grants Coordinator for Senator Van Hollen, at bart_kennedy@vanhollen.senate.gov.

Faith Community Responds to Church Vandalism

The Faith Community Advisory Group is very disturbed to learn about the incidents impacting St. Jane de Chantal Catholic Parish, North Bethesda United Methodist Church, and Wildwood Baptist Church in July. Over 100 houses of worship and organizations signed onto a letter standing in solidarity with the communities impacted. Read the letter here.
County Executive Marc Elrich and Faith Liaison Kate Chance attended the groundbreaking for Second Century Project of the Scotland AME Zion Church on July 9. See photo at left.

On July 10th Faith Liaison Kate Chance and County Executive Marc Elrich attended an Eid festival at the IMAAM center.

On July 12th, a Faith Community Townhall featured Montgomery County Green Bank. Watch a recording of the video here.
Faith Liaison Kate Chance and County Executive Marc Elrich attended an Eid event at the Muslim Community Center on July 15. See photo at left.

On July 15th, Faith Liaison Kate Chance and County Executive Marc Elrich attended an Eid event at the Islamic Society of the Washington Area (ISWA).

A Faith Community Townhall on July 21st featured ways to support Texas and Arizona migrants. For more information, email interfaith@montgomerycountymd.gov.
News & Events Around the Region
Click Links for Details
WorkSource Montgomery (WSM) has awarded $500,000 in COVID-19 financial assistance under its GROW program to small businesses in Montgomery County that were greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. WSM plans to award another $1 million dollars over the next year until funds are exhausted. Click here for details. For more information or to apply, click here.

Participate in Vietnamese American Services' 2022 Mid-Autumn Festival as a vendor, sponsor, volunteer, or performer. Click here for registration forms. Applications are open until August.

Get involved with MANNA's Community Food Rescue Program.

Calling all creative minds! Through the Climate Action Plan, the County is hoping to lower the impact of climate change. Please send us words, phrases or a sentence that will inspire your neighbors to take action on simple climate solutions. Send us your ideas through THIS FORM. These materials are available in other languages; email DEP.contests@montgomerycountymd.gov

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To submit your news and events of interest to those serving Montgomery County's emerging communities and neighbors in need, email complete details and/or a news release to the OCP Newsletter.

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