June 12, 2020 - Issue 144
NEWS & EVENTS AROUND THE REGION
Policing Advisory Commission Seeks Members
Each Councilmember will be nominating one representative. To apply for one of these positions, click here. The County Executive will be nominating four individuals to serve on the commission including at least one individual between 18-25 years old and one between 26-35 years old. The application for these positions is available here.
Virtual Taste of Wheaton
Enjoy food, music and more -- remotely! Save the date -- June 7 to 13. Click here for flyer.
Do You Need Health Insurance?
Enroll in the Maryland Health Connection until June 15. In light of the COVID-19 emergency,
Maryland Health Connection has opened a special enrollment for uninsured Marylanders. Online application is live everyday starting at 6 a.m. Click here for details.
The Great American Take-Out
More than 50 restaurants in the eastern area of Montgomery County are open for the "Great American Takeout" that is being organized with the support of County Executive Marc Elrich and the Maryland State elected officials from Districts 14 and 20.
Annual LGBTQ + Pride Month Events
Councilmember Evan Glass (At-Large) has announced a series of LGBTQ+ Pride Month events that will be hosted virtually throughout the month of June. From a family singalong and a panel conversation evaluating LGBTQ+ rights, to storytelling and a youth poetry slam, there will be events for residents of all ages
Business Resources During Covid-19
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is intended to assist individuals and businesses with their COVID-19 related needs.The Senate Committee on Small Businesses & Entrepreneurship created The Small Business Owner's Guide to the CARES Act.
The SBA offers continuing guidance, which is available here. More business resources are available from the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation's COVID-19 update.
The Maryland Department of Commerce in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Labor, the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation, and several other state agencies launched a
dedicated to business resources during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Click here for more information.
Latino Economic Development Center also offers updates, information, and resources for small businesses. READ MORE>>>
Lifelong Learning Institute on Zoom
Virtual Face-to-Face in Real-Time! Montgomery College Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) is offering all summer courses online via Zoom. Zoom allows students to hear and see the instructor as they present their class using videos, powerpoints, and lectures. Zoom also offers students the opportunity to interact with the instructor and other students - asking questions and joining in discussions.
Help Habitat for Humanity at Home
Build simple projects that you can do from the safety of your own home. Project materials will be shipped to your door. Donate your project to
a Habitat Repair Partner or keep for your home.
Stay Home and Learn
Nonprofit Learning Lab is offering daily online trainings as a resource for nonprofits who are responding to the evolving changes and needs in their community and within their organizations as a result of COVID. Click here for more information.
Empowered Women International and LEDC present free webinars in English and Spanish. Click here for information.
Primary Election Voters' Guide 2020
The League of Women's Voters of Montgomery County's Voters' Guide is here. For information on how to access the Guide in English and Spanish, click here.
Election Judges Needed
Election judges with basic IT and customer service skills are needed for the administration of the primary and general elections. The Board also needs judges who are bilingual in Spanish and English, as well as those who speak other languages. To serve as an election judge, you must be a United States citizen, a registered voter in Maryland, and you must attend training. Please contact the Board of Elections, visit the website www.777vote.org or visit the Election Judge page for more information about the community service opportunity. For the application, click here.
Read the latest news from the Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County.
STATEMENT ON THE NATIONAL CRISIS
Working to Create a New Normal
The Montgomery County Office of Community Partnerships exists to strengthen relationships between all entities of the County government and the people it serves.
Our primary vision is to increase engagement and build partnerships with underserved and emerging communities and to support all our neighbors in need.
Our staff liaisons mirror those we serve by our diversity in race, ethnicity, and faith, yet united in our mission.
Our hearts have been broken as we struggle with the deadly impact of COVID-19 that has impacted people of color far out of proportion to their numbers. Now, yet again, our nation is convulsed with grief and anger due to the senseless loss of a black man's life at the hands of those who are here to protect us. This is not new...it began in 1619, even before the founding of America. We are witnessing our national brokenness that has caused unnecessary deaths by COVID-19 and even more tragically the deaths of Black Americans by police.
We stand with those shouting, "Black Lives Matter," and "Enough is Enough." In
Montgomery County, we are fortunate to work with police departments committed to
understanding the cultural, mental, and emotional challenges
many in our communities face. Our liaisons serve the African Community, African American Community, Asian Community, Caribbean Community, Latino Community, Middle Eastern Community, and Faith Community. Our team includes the Gilchrist Immigration Resource Center and the Montgomery County Volunteer Center.
We are working today not to return to normal, but to create a new normal. We are doing it by working collaboratively with our Advisory Groups, County officials, nonprofit partners, and volunteers leading interfaith services of mourning and solidarity; translating resources, including food, health, emergency assistance, housing and employment opportunities, into multiple languages; coordinating volunteers serving their neighbors; coordinating and personally delivering food; working towards a full and accurate count of everyone in Montgomery County; facilitating youth sharing their stories across lines of faith, race, and ethnicity; planning follow-up dialogues on Facing Our Racism; and working hard to ensure our county systems are able to respond and serve our multicultural and multilingual communities.
The Office of Community Partnerships believes there is opportunity in crisis and we meet every morning, six or seven days of the week, to identify where and how we may have a greater impact and to strengthen our resolve in creating a more just, compassionate, equitable, inclusive, healthy, and resilient community. The cries from across America today remind us of the preciousness of every life, and the importance of working together for a new normal in which the words "liberty and justice for all" ring true.
you to contact us personally if you think we can be of assistance. Please also call the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center at 240-777-4940 if you or someone you know needs referrals to services, and if you want to help or get involved, contact the Volunteer Center. May we be united in celebrating our common goals and aspirations, while we mourn the dead and honor them through recommitted human service.
COVID-19 RESOURCES IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY
Community Resources Available
Please click here for a comprehensive list of COVID-19 resources, including healthcare, food access, housing, financial assistance, senior care, mental health, and more.
Infographics in multiple languages related to Phase 1 of reopening Montgomery County can be found here.
Montgomery County Surveys Parents About Child Care Needs During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how Montgomery County families, especially those with children under the age of 13, will live for the foreseeable future. Questions remain about child care, and what programs and services will look like in the coming months.
As the County begins working toward reopening and parents start going back to work, the Early Childhood Coordinating Council (ECCC) wants to hear from parents about their child care situations. Parents of children, especially those under the age of 13, are asked to complete a new 5-minute
to help learn more about child care arrangements-what they were before COVID-19 and what arrangements parents are looking for now.
Montgomery County's 2020 Census Social Media Accounts
We continue to post informative 2020 Census content daily, including our Represent Your Neighborhood - Stand Up and Be Counted 2020 Census Challenge. If you haven't already, please like and follow our 2020 Census Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages and invite your networks to do the same:
Re-Post, Like, and Share it Now!
Please visit our social media accounts and like, retweet, or share any of the existing content. To share today's message, you can cut and paste the information below and include the graphic below when you post to your accounts.
Represent Your Neighborhood - Stand Up and Be Counted! 2020 Census Challenge
To learn how to participate in the challenge and post to all of your social media accounts, click
Check out the
Response Rates Map
to see how your hometown is doing and encourage your stakeholders, family and friends to participate. It's a great way to track the progress of the nation's self-response. The map is updated every afternoon to reflect the self-response rate of the country and of each state, county, city, census tract, congressional district and tribal area.
The U.S. Census Bureau, in coordination with Federal, state, and local health officials, will begin a phased restart of some 2020 Census field operations in 10 additional states the week of May 25. The Hagerstown Area Census Office, responsible for managing field operations in Montgomery County, began a phased restart of operations this week. Read more
U.S. Census Bureau Releases Update to COVID-19 Interactive Data Hub
The Census Bureau has released an updated version of the
interactive data hub
COVID-19 resource page
.The resource page is designed to help federal agencies, businesses and communities make decisions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Census Bureau provides access to this and all of its resources in support of the coronavirus response effort at
The U.S. Census Bureau provides translated webpages and
in 59 non-English languages, including the ones listed below and American Sign Language.
Resources for the Top 7 Languages Spoken in Montgomery County
f you or anyone you know needs language support to respond to the 2020 Census, the questionnaire can be completed by phone in the following languages:
Haitian Creole: 844-477-2020
We Can Connect You With Community Resou
rces - Call 240-7
- Where to find food assistance
- How to find health care
- Help with housing and eviction concerns
- Who can answer your questions about Public Charge
- How to complete your Census form
- Free Virtual English Conversation Classes
- Free Online Basic Computer Classes
We welcome your calls and will help you in your language. All staff speak Spanish and will use interpreters for any language.
Call 240-777-4940, Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Please leave a message and we will call you back.
Online Conversation Class at the Gilchrist Center
Conversation classes are starting again - on Zoom! You can participate on your phone or your computer. We hope you will join us again, or for the first time, to practice English in a fun and welcoming environment. You can come as often as you like!
Don't worry if you've never used Zoom! It's easy, and we will help you.
to join one of our classes.
Online Computer Classes
The Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center's online computer classes are up and running successfully. Adult community members with limited computer skills are learning the basics of using Microsoft Office, the internet and Google Docs. Visiting our virtual classrooms has been inspiring, and it has been great to see the classes benefit students as much as the actual classroom. We continue to slowly increase class sizes and expand our online platform to add more helpful online computer classes, including classes taught in Spanish. To inquire about future classes, please call 240-777-4940.
Immigration-Related Changes Due to COVID-19
The unprecedented situation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has raised many questions and concerns for immigrants who may require testing or treatment and those who have pending immigration ca
ses. For information about some of the main immigration-relate
d updates regarding COVID-19 with respect to U.S. CItizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), please click here.
June Workshops and Info Sessions
> Free Citizenship Application Consultations by APALRC
Due to concerns about the coronavirus, the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center is not scheduling any citizenship application workshops currently. However, APALRC has access to a safe and secure web platform,
, that applicants can use and get free help from an experienced attorney at the APALRC in reviewing and drafting their citizenship application.
is secure and private, and it allows attorneys to remotely review, edit, ask questions, and provide feedback on the draft N-400 form. The website exists in three languages: English, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese. The website allows applicants to start and stop their application at any time and saves their work each step of the way.
Please note, CitizenshipWorks is not connected to USCIS or the US government, it is a private website. This is not the same as filing online through the USCIS website. To start drafting your application today, please go to
Even though the APALRC office is closed to in-person meetings, they can still answer questions about the 2020 Census (immigration law related or otherwise) by phone and email. They can also assist persons with limited English to obtain Census information in the language of their choice. For more information, please contact APALRC at
> Free Legal Service provided by the Pro Bono Program
The Pro Bono Program provides FREE LEGAL SERVICES to low-income county residents in civil cases.
The Pro Bono Program provides two means for residents to receive free services - at a legal advice clinic or through the client intake line for a referral to an attorney volunteer for direct representation. See the brochures in English or Spanish.
The Pro Bono Program is committed to helping the residents of Montgomery County, MD.
Individual circumstances may vary and in some cases we may not be able to assist everyone.
For further information please make sure to read the brochure or call the Pro Bono Program at 301-424-7651 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Monday - Thursday.
> Free immigration consultations by HIAS by phone
HIAS works with a generous network of pro bono attorneys - both locally through their headquarters in NY and Silver Spring, MD, and across the country - to provide legal services to asylum seekers, asylees, and others who are seeking humanitarian relief.
Given the evolving situation regarding COVID-19, for the safety of staff and volunteers, HIAS has suspended all in-person client meetings and all non-essential travel, including pro bono legal delegations to the border. However, they are now providing free telephonic immigration consultations for Montgomery County residents. If interested in receiving a consultation, please email
or call 240-668-4053
and leave a message. You must note in your email or your voicemail that you are a Montgomery County resident to get a callback.
For all other Maryland residents, please call HIAS's intake line the first Friday of every month at 301-844-7248 to receive a free immigration consultation.
> Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
Baltimore offers a variety of virtual webinars and training sessions. For more information, please click
> Citizenship Information Sessions Presented by Montgomery College and Catholic Charities
Are you a legal, permanent resident preparing for the U.S. citizenship test and interview? Come to an
information session and discover how Montgomery College and Catholic Charities may be able to help
you for free! See the
for more information.
> Free Citizenship Preparation Classes in Montgomery County
Montgomery College (MC) provides FREE citizenship preparation classes throughout Montgomery
County, including locations in Rockville, Silver Spring, and Wheaton. Multi-level classes are funded
through a grant from the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) at various schedules
to meet the needs of learners. Please check the
MC Citizenship Website
for more information or call
Language Services and Financial Assistance
> Language Access Services by Ayuda
Do you provide services to Maryland victims of crime? Do you ever need a spoken or sign
interpreter to communicate with the victims whom you serve? The Language Access Program at
Ayuda can provide you with professionally trained, trauma-informed interpreters at no cost
(because of funding from the Maryland Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention).
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 to pay the application fee. Residents of Montgomery County
who earn less than 300% of the federal poverty guideline may qualify for a scholarship of $150 or $300
to help pay the application filing fee. Interested applicants should call (240) 560-2272 for more
information. Flyers are available in
. Note: Low-income individuals seeking to apply
for citizenship may also be eligible for a
Upcoming Meetings of County Executive's Ethnic & Faith Advisory Groups
|All ethnic advisory groups are currently meeting virtually. For more information or concerns, please feel free to reach out to the liaisons listed below:
African Affairs Advisory Group Liaison: Harrieta.Shangarai@montgomerycountymd.gov
African American Advisory Group Liaison: email@example.com
Asian Pacific American Advisory Group
will meet virtually on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Click here
for the link to join the virtual meeting. Please contact Mr. Yi Shen at
if you would like to be added to the agenda.
Caribbean American Advisory Group is meeting virtually on first Tuesday of the month.
Latin American Advisory Group will continue to meet virtually on the second Tuesday of each month. The next Advisory Group meeting will be held on June 9, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. The virtual meetings can be accessed by emailing Jessy.MejiaTerry@montgomerycountymd.gov, and requesting a link before June 9th. The meeting will focus on continued support to the most vulnerable during the pandemic.
Middle Eastern American Advisory Group Liaison: firstname.lastname@example.org
Interfaith Community Advisory Group Meetings:
- Thursday, June 11 -- Executive Committee Meeting, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m., virtual meeting
- Monday, June 15 -- Education Committee Meeting, 6:15 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., virtual meeting
- Wednesday, June 24 -- Religious Land Use Group Meeting, 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., virtual meeting
Find Ways to Help During COVID-19
County Names Top Volunteers
County has named six individuals and organizations as recipients of the 2020
Montgomery Serves Awards
, the county's highest honor for volunteerism. They are:
- Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award (for lifetime service by residents age 60 and up): Robert Marques and Wolfgang Mergner
- Volunteer of the Year: John Frizzell
- Youth Volunteer of the Year: Nick Casertano
- Volunteer Group of the Year: Montgomery County Students for Change
- Business Volunteer of the Year: GEICO
Click here to learn more about the honorees.
COVID-19 and the African Community
COVID-19 has set such an unprecedented tone and changed the way communities live their lives. Across the County, its no longer business as usual. People have had to learn and adjust quickly to new realities. The African community and many others have had their share of anxieties and concerns on how to keep their families and communities safe as they continue to report for work and struggle to obtain adequate protective equipment.
The African community includes a considerable number of healthcare professionals who are at the front line in the fight against the coronavirus. Significant concerns also exist in business communities, who are uncertain of the actual economic impact the pandemic is causing. Small businesses and NGOs are encouraged to tap into available resources and learn more about the Public Health Emergency Grant Program offered by Montgomery County.
For more information or concerns, please feel free to reach out to the African liaison:
ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN COMMUNITY
Hate and Bias Incidents
Across the country, there is an increase of anti-Asian sentiments which sometimes lead to violence. Although Montgomery County has not seen any hate motivated crimes, Montgomery County Police would like to urge the community to stay vigilant and report incidents. If you feel you need the police or observe anything concerning, please call 911 and make a report. If the incident is not an emergency please report the incident to the police at the non-emergency line at 301-279-8000. It is
extremely important that you report all such incidents to the police; only then can police investigate and address any trends or behaviors of potential suspects in areas throughout the county.
On the evening of Monday, May 11, 2020, County Executive Marc Elrich along with Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County Police Department, Montgomery County Business Liaison Officer Daniel Koroma, and Heather Bruskin, Executive Director of the Montgomery County Food Council, met with Asian community leaders to talk about issues relating to COVID-19, community safety, food resources, and emergency grants. The panelists also answered questions from the community. To view the conversation, please click here.
The Asian Pacific American Student Achievement Action Group (APASAAG) held a K-12 Poster Contest to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Winning entries were presented and celebrated at a virtual awards ceremony on the evening of Wednesday, May 20, 2020. To see the winning art pieces and view the award ceremony, please click here.
CARIBBEAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY
The Montgomery County Executive's 2020 Caribbean American Heritage Month Proclamation and Celebration will be a virtual Zoom event on Tuesday, June 16th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. The link and agenda will be provided on a date closer to the event.
The Caribbean Political Action Committee's (C-PAC) annual Caribbean American Heritage Month Ecumenical Church Service will be a virtual celebration on Facebook and YouTube on Sunday, June 28th at 10:00 a.m. More information will follow closer to the event.
The CAAG liaison continues to connect with the Caribbean Community through email, text messages and tele-conferencing to share information, answer questions, and encourage the community to complete their 2020 Census questionnaire.
CAAG: Working to Serve the Caribbean Community in Montgomery County.
Mrs. Venice Mundle-Harvey, Chair
Mrs. Derrice Deane, Co-Chair
Mrs. Yvonne Stephens, Liaison
County's Innovative Efforts to Facilitate Access to County Resources in Spanish
As the County continues to proactively mitigate the infection rate of COVID-19, a parallel effort to reach all communities with information and resources in multiple languages also continues to be a top priority. Highlights of this effort include coordinating government and partner organization information to share with the Spanish-speaking community.
Among the most innovative access points to this information is the recently created Spanish WhatsApp line that provides updates in-language regarding food distribution events, County resources and services, MCPS' updates and Executive guidelines and orders. You can opt into the WhatsApp line to receive these updates in Spanish by texting the word "hola" via the WhatsApp application to 240-447-1862
A similar effort has been made in hosting virtual town halls and briefings in Spanish, providing a platform for continued bilateral communication between County leaders and the Latino community. These virtual events feature the County Executive, Council Members, and other community stakeholders, and enable community members to have their questions answered in real-time. These virtual events are live streamed on the County's Facebook page for greater public consumption, reaching thousands of views within 24 hours. You can tune in to all virtual events by following the County's Facebook page, or visiting the County's official website.
MIDDLE EASTERN AMERICAN COMMUNITY
commits to the unprecedented movement that has emerged in the wake of these tragedies. We stand with the African American community to continue the fight against racism, police brutality, and inequality. African Americans for generations have continued to face police brutality.
These murders, results of systemic racism, echo the black community's longstanding call for accountability, reform, and lasting change.
MEAAG joins the call for change with a pledge to actively fight against racism and inequality and to continue supporting Montgomery County's efforts to achieve
Bait-ur-Rehman Mosque Food Pantry
Humanity First USA is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that is offering a food pantry at Bait-ur-Rehman Mosque. Click
to place an order and to see pick up details.
The sixth annual Middle Eastern American Heritage Month Celebration previously scheduled for Sunday, March 15th was cancelled.
Watch this space or click
here for updates
The Baltimore Luxor Alexandria Sister City Committee's "Culinary Health & Egyptian Cuisine" program on March 25th was cancelled. Stay tuned for updates or click
Egypt Day at the KID Museum will be re-scheduled in the fall. Contact kid-museum.org.
Mrs. Mona Negm, President of the American Muslim Senior Society (AMSS), has been selected to receive the first annual Middle Eastern American Advisory Group Distinguished Community Service Award. This non-monetary award will be presented as soon as feasible, or at MEAAG's annual heritage celebration (date TBD).
Since January, Chair Debbie Trent has represented MEAAG on the county's Pedestrian Master Plan Advisory Group. This group includes community and organizational stakeholders and was convened by the
Montgomery County Planning Department
in conjunction with the Department of Transportation. At the most recent (virtual) meeting on June 11th, she raised mid- and up-county
pedestrian safety, health and access issues around the continuing effort to implement the
project for designing streets countywide.
National Day of Mourning
Montgomery County faith communities joined hundreds more on June 1 to observe a National Day of Mourning. The event began by mourning the horrifying milestone of 100,000 American deaths to the coronavirus, and then the grief and outrage associated with the death of George Floyd. The laments became deeper in recognition of the racially disproportionate pain carried by people of color during the pandemic, and the violent deaths caused by police and the indifference of others.
A joint statement by
County Executive, Marc Elrich and the County Council
states: "We all share the sense of sorrow and regret that more than 100,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 including 555 in Montgomery County. We acknowledge the importance of grieving their deaths and encourage residents to honor their lives by working together for a healthier and more equitable community."
It was encouraging to have elected officials and faith leaders sharing in prayerful mourning, offering healing and strength for the action.
Town Hall for Faith Communities
Two Virtual Town Hall events in April were hosted by the Faith Community Advisory Council and t
he Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management. The events featured County partners including Count
y Executive, Marc Elrich, Business Liaison Officer, Daniel Koroma, and resource persons from Nonprofit Montgome
Montgomery County Food Council, Volunteer Center, Office of Community Partnerships and others. The town halls gave faith communities an opportunity to obtain current and accurate information on government grants, healthcare, food and volunteer opportunities, and other assistance available. The town halls also aim to provide guidance on religious services and ways faith communities can contribute to the health and well-being of Montgomery County.
An outgrowth of the town hall is a
with COVID-19 resources including a
Resource Tracking Document
for matching human needs with resources including food, volunteers and sanitary supplies. This effort is coordinated by the Montgomery County Food Council in partnership with food providers, nonprofits and government officials.
For a full list of Faith Community activities, please click here.
Faith Communities on the Front Lines
ith communities are on the front lines running clinics, operating food pantries, staffing pop-up food deliveries, responding to
Asian bias, and preparing and delivering food for shelters, elders, refugees, and staff at NIH. Here are a few examples:
- An anonymous Hindu community member donated 14,000 gloves, 200 masks, and food delivered for six days to the ER staff, security, receptionists, volunteers and medical staff serving Covid-19 patients on two floors of Holy Cross Hospital.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints delivered thousands of pounds of food to area mosques and food banks.
- Food was prepared by the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation for seniors and residents in County shelters, and Iftar dinners were given in drive-by settings at the Islamic Center of Maryland and the Islamic Society Greater Washington, and the Ahmaddiya Community took food orders for delivery or pick up the Baitur Rehmen Mosque.
- The Montgomery County Muslim Foundation served over 200 meals at the Interfaith Works Women's Shelter and donated 400 masks to area hospitals.
- Police officers from the MCPD, with fellow officers from Prince Georges County, Baltimore County and the State Police have also partnered with the Muslim Community Center's food pantry program and a few other faith communities for food distribution to refugees, the elderly, the sick and those recovering from COVID19.
Have News to Share?
To submit your news and events of interest to those in and serving Montgomery County's emerging communities and neighbors in need, email complete details and/or a press release to the OCP Newsletter.