Volume 174 | January 4, 2023

"A More Equitable and Inclusive Montgomery County"
County Executive Marc Elrich

In this issue

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center

African Community

Latin American Community

Volunteer Center

African American Community

Middle Eastern American Community

Immigration, Citizenship, and Legal Services

Asian Pacific American Community

Faith Community

Advisory Group Meetings

Caribbean American Community

Montgomery Sister Cities

News & Events Around the Region

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center

Citizenship, English and Comptuter Classes Begin This Month

Registration for free citizenship preparation classes is now open. Classes begin the week of January 9, but there is still time to register. Click here for more details and to access the registration form.

Registration for English (ESOL) classes will start on January 9 at noon. View the flyer here.

Computer class registration will start on January 15 at noon. Visit the website for details.

Many classes fill up quickly, so anyone who is interested is encouraged to sign up for updates from the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center to receive notifications about upcoming class registration. 

For information about programs and services available in the County, please visit https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/gilchrist/. To navigate local resources (housing, food, health, legal, employment, and more), visit the GET HELP section of the website. 

The Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center team wishes you a Happy New Year! 

Volunteer Center

MLK Day of Service

This year the Volunteer Center is excited to continue the tradition of honoring Dr. King through service. 2023 marks the first in-person event since 2020. A virtual option for service will still be available for those who are not able to join the in-person event. To learn more about opportunities to join an MLK Day of Service event, click here!

Montgomery County's main service event will take place at the Bethesda North Marriott Conference Center. The event will include service projects from noon to 3:00 pm. Service projects include the following family friendly activities:

  • Packaging food with U.S. Hunger for community members in need
  • Constructing fleece blankets with Montgomery Hospice for hospice patients
  • Assembling "Snow Day" boxes with Meals on Wheels for homebound seniors
  • Decorating an MLK mural with the Volunteer Center
  • Decorating reusable bags with the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights and Interfaith Works

Registration is required to participate. To register or to learn more, click here!

After serving, we encourage you to join the annual MLK Day Tribute and Celebration at the Music Center at Strathmore, which will include performances by the M. Sparks Matsunga Children’s Choir; NAACP ACTSO program, Black Broadway on U; and special performances from the Jeremy Winston Chorale and Akhmedova Ballet Academy.

If your organization is interested in leading a service project at your own site and wants to recruit volunteers, please log in at www.montgomeryserves.org to create an opportunity under your organization or contact [email protected] for assistance.

Immigration, Citizenship & Legal Services

January Workshops and Information Sessions

The Montgomery County Maryland Bar Foundation Pro Bono Program Legal Clinic

is resuming free in-person consultations twice per month at the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center's Gaithersburg and Wheaton sites! Visit the website for details.

For further information about pro bono services, please see the brochure and 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 [email protected].

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

Free Citizenship Application Consultations by APALRC

The Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center (APALRC) will hold in-person appointments for those seeking assistance with applying for Citizenship and Naturalization at the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center in Gaithersburg at the Gaithersburg Library, 18330 Montgomery Village Ave, 2nd floor. Clinics are held every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Click here for details.

Assistance is available at no cost in many languages including Chinese, Korean, and Urdu. You must be a lawful permanent resident to apply. Please click here to request assistance or call the APALRC Helpline at (202) 393-3572. For additional information, visit the APALRC website.

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 on Zoom and in-person. In partnership, Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services offers help with the N-400 application for naturalization. Upcoming in-person orientation sessions:

  • Thursday, February 16 at 6:00 pm at the Rockville Campus
  • Saturday, February 18 at 9:00 am at the Rockville Campus

Classes will run for 10 weeks from April to June.

For more details, email [email protected] or see the website. View the flyer here.

Legal Services

HIAS provides legal services to asylum seekers, asylees, and others who are seeking humanitarian relief. All clients must fear returning to country of origin, and must reside within Maryland, DC, or Virginia. To receive a free immigration consultation, please contact the legal intake line at (301) 844-7248 on the first Friday of every month between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. Interpreters are available. Walk-ins are not accepted.

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) Baltimore

Introductory Training - Representing Children in Immigration Matters  

January 19, 2023, 9:00 am - 11:00 am.

Click here for information and registration.

Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA)

MCASA provides direct legal services to survivors of all ages across the state of Maryland. For more information, visit their website or call 301-565-2277.

Language Access Services for Crime Victims

The Language Access Program at Ayuda provides professionally trained, trauma-informed interpreters at no cost. Please email [email protected] 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 meets every second Thursday of the month. The next meeting will take place on January 12 at 7:00 pm. During 2022-2023, the meetings will be held in different locations around the county to better connect with communities across the region. For more details, please email [email protected].

African American Advisory Group -- For more information, contact

[email protected].

Asian Pacific American Advisory Group will meet on January 17. If you are interested in attending, please email Mr. Yi Shen at [email protected].  

Caribbean American Advisory Group will meet virtually on Tuesday, January 10 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. For more information, please email Rodrigue Vital, Caribbean American Liaison at [email protected].

Faith Advisory Group will meet on Monday, January 16 at 6:00 pm. For more information, reach out to [email protected].

Latin American Advisory Group will meet on January 17 in preparation for its February All-Advisory Groups Meeting with the County Executive. The LAAG will also be planning its 2023 benchmarks and goals. For more information, please email Jessy Mejia Terry, Latino Liaison at [email protected].

LGBTQ Advisory Group will meet on Monday, January 16 from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Please click here for Zoom link. For more information, contact [email protected].

Middle Eastern American Advisory Group will meet on Tuesday, January 10, 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. All are welcome. Please contact OCP Middle Eastern Liaison [email protected] for the Zoom link or in-person location.

African Community

2022 Recap

The past year was filled with resource sharing, advocacy, and community engagement. The African Affairs Advisory Group held 10 monthly meetings and met with local businesses, community leaders, and County representatives to discuss important topics, including improving food security in Montgomery County, women's empowerment, mental health, immigration, funding resources for entrepreneurs, and civic engagement. Click here for a complete 2022 recap.

Strengthening the Local Community and Economy

FAs Marketplace is a Montgomery County based community and arts incubator that uses the arts as a tool for fostering economic growth and community development, especially among historically marginalized groups. Learn more here. Fall into Fashion, an annual project of FAsMarketplace, spotlights different communities while providing tangible support for small and micro businesses in those communities. In 2022, FAsMarketplace partnered with the Montgomery County Up County Regional Service Center to feature the Germantown community and some of its amazing businesses and organizations. Watch the Fall into Fashion documentary on YouTube.

African American Community

Martin Luther King Day Events

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Breakfast will be held on Monday, January 16, 2023 at Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

The Montgomery County Volunteer Center will oversee its annual MLK Day of Service immediately following the MLK Breakfast at the North Bethesda Marriott.

The MLK Commemorative Committee and the County Executive will host its annual MLK Tribute & Celebration at The Music Center at Strathmore.

Asian Pacific American Community

County Holds First Budget Forum in Chinese

County Executive Marc Elrich attended the Chinese American Community Health Services (CACHS) 2022 Annual Meeting and Appreciation Reception and spoke about the importance of partnerships with community organizations. CACHS, like many community organizations, was instrumental during the pandemic in disseminating COVID-19 information and vaccines to the Chinese community. Community organizations helped to keep the County's cases down and the vaccination rates up.

Korean American Day

Korean American Day is January 13, commemorating the arrival of the first 102 Korean immigrants to the United States in 1903 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Since then, Korean Americans have contributed to every facet of American society, from serving in the American military during World War I and World War II, to scientific discoveries, to winning Olympic gold medals and countless other achievements. To learn more about Korean American Day, please click here.

Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year 2023 falls on Sunday, January 22, 2023. Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays in Asian countries. It is a time of family togetherness, delicious food, and good spirits. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

Caribbean American Community

Black History Month

The Caribbean American Advisory Group’s chair, co-chair, and the Caribbean liaison will join the other black advisory group chairs and liaisons to make 2023 Black History Month in February a unified and memorable event that celebrates all Black residents of the County and their respective cultures. The event will take place in the Great Hall of the Silver Spring Civic Building in early February. More details will follow.

Middle Eastern American Community

December Meeting Update

On December 12, MEAAG held its hybrid monthly meeting at the Rockville Library and online. The Middle Eastern Liaison provided updates, and community members shared information about previous and upcoming community matters. Topics included antisemitism, affordable housing, local job creation, and the 2023 Middle Eastern American Heritage Month in March. The theme will focus on local humanitarian efforts, with the main celebration taking place on Saturday, March 11 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Check for updates next month and on MEAAG's Facebook page.

Author Conversations

MEAAG and the Montgomery County Public Libraries will host the fourth series of free meet-the-author book talks from February-April 2023.

  • February 7 - Children's author Reem Faruqi, Milloo’s Mind
  • March 7 - Mojdeh Bahar, poet and translator, Milkvetch & Violets
  • April 11 - Diana Abu Jaber, Fencing with the King

Please watch this space next month for free registration information. All three books are available at bookshop.org, where you can choose to have sales benefit Friends of the Library, Montgomery County (FOLMC).  

Inaugural Celebration

MEAAG members Debbie Trent, Shahrzad Nakhostin, and Farideh Jahanbin (pictured left to right) attended the December 5th inauguration of the County Executive and the most diverse County Council ever.

American Muslim Senior Society (AMSS) Summit

The AMSS Summit, "Addressing the Mental Health Crisis Within Communities of Color," was held on December 4. More than 100 stakeholders and County officials participated in the diverse stakeholder summit to dialogue and develop policy recommendations for raising the quality of mental healthcare to elderly County residents of color. READ MORE.

County Budget Forum

The final community conversation on the 2024 County operating budget and services was held on December 14. MEAAG member Karim Chaibi raised several issues on behalf of the group. READ MORE.

Faith Community

January Holidays and Days of Interest

New Year’s Day, 1/1 | Shogatsu matsuri, 1/1 | Birth of Guru Gobind Singh, 1/5

Three Kings Day, 1/6 | Orthodox Christmas, 1/7 | Korean American Day, 1/13

Makar Sankranti, (Hindu),1/14 | Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 1/16 | Saadeh, 1/20

Asian Lunar New Year, 1/22 | Tet Nguyen Dan, 1/22 | Vasant Panchami (Hindu), 1/25

Upcoming Events

The Montgomery County Resettlement Working Group will meet on January 17 at 7:00 pm. For more information, reach out to [email protected].

December Activities

The faith community came together on December 5 to celebrate the inauguration of the County Executive and County Council during an Interfaith Inauguration Breakfast at Strathmore mansion. You can view a recording here.

Faith Liaison Kate Chance and County Executive Marc Elrich attended the Jewish Community Relations Council’s Legislator Breakfast on December 9. Other speakers included incoming Governor Wes Moore and Congressman Jamie Raskin.

Montgomery Sister Cities

Sister Cities Plans Africa Summit in Cape Town, South Africa

Join Montgomery Sister Cities (MSC) on its trip to Cape Town, South Africa for the Sister Cities International (SCI) US-Africa Summit, Transforming SCI Africa: Honoring Traditions, Creating New Partnerships, February 19-25, 2023! See details here.

Morazan Sister City

For more information about the next meeting (date TBD), please contact [email protected]. T

News & Events Around the Region
Click Links for Details

Governor Hogan Announces $20 Million Water Assistance Relief Program that will support residents with water bill debt related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for details.

Montgomery County Partners with Silver Spring Cares and CHEER to Bring Coats to the Long Branch Community. See news release and flyer.

Welcoming America has a new position open on its Certified Welcoming team. The role includes administrative support work, conducting background research, and some travel.

Montgomery County MD Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Scholarship Committee is currently accepting applications for the 2023 Scholarship program. Scholarships are available to both male and female high school students. Click here to learn more.

Free Center Passes - Department of Recreation -- Montgomery County Recreation fitness passes for exercise enthusiasts will be free for County residents in 2023. The free pass provides access to fully-equipped fitness rooms, open gym (drop-in) activities, and game rooms at any Community Recreation Center during regularly scheduled hours. Click here for details.

Montgomery County Continues to Distribute COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits and N95 Masks to Community Organizations, Childcare Providers, and Private Schools

COVID Vaccinations

Free COVID Tests

Share Your News
We Want to Hear From You!

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.

This newsletter is published by the Office of Community Partnerships. Click to subscribe.
Subscribe to our partner newsletters:

Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center | East County Regional Services Center | Mid-County Regional Services Center | Silver Spring Regional Services Center | Upcounty Regional Services Center