Volume 166 | May 2, 2022
"A More Equitable and Inclusive Montgomery County"
County Executive Marc Elrich
Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center
News and Updates
Although English, computer, and citizenship classes are online this spring, the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center's offices are open and we welcome walk-ins for information and referral. People can also call 240-777-4940 for help finding assistance in the County.

The Pro-Bono Resource Center of Maryland – Maryland Immigrant Legal Assistance Project (MILAP) partnered with the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center to run a legal clinic on April 23 at the Center's Wheaton site. The clinic offered free consultations prior to appearing at immigration court. With approximately 50 attendees, the clinic was an overwhelming success! We thank the Pro-Bono Resource Center of Maryland for providing the clinic.
On March 29, the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center hosted a delegation of human rights activists, program managers, and journalists from Spain who are participating in a program titled The Role of U.S. Society in the Integration of Immigrants, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. This was an occasion for the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center to share ideas and best practices serving multi-lingual and multi-cultural communities in the County. Jessy Mejia, Latino Liaison at the Office of Community Partnerships, participated and provided insight on how the County is organizing services for newcomer youth. We want to thank the delegation for their interest in our work as they travel across the U.S.

For more information on the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center programs and classes, visit our website at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/gilchrist/.
Volunteer Center
County Names Top Volunteers
Montgomery County has named five individuals and organizations as recipients of the 2022 Montgomery Serves Awards, the County's highest honor for volunteerism.

The honorees are:

  • Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award (for lifetime service by residents age 60 and up): Charlotte Holliday and The Honorable Chung K. Pak
  • Volunteer of the Year: Schai Schairer
  • Youth Volunteer of the Year: Samantha Jayasundera
  • Volunteer Group of the Year: Mercy Health Clinic Volunteer Medical Providers

Learn more about the honorees here. The awards will be presented at a ceremony on Wednesday evening, June 15 at the Silver Spring Civic Building. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. To register, please click here.
Immigration, Citizenship & Legal Services
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) will be scheduling in-person appointments for individuals seeking assistance with applying for Citizenship and Naturalization. The appointments will be held at the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center 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. Assistance is available in many languages including Chinese, Korean, and Urdu, and there is no charge for services. You must be a lawful permanent resident to apply. To request assistance, please click here or or call the APALRC Helpline at (202) 393-3572. For additional information, visit the APALRC website. An informational flyer is available 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 - State Court Special Immigrant Juvenile Hearings and I-360 filings
Wednesday, May 18, 2022, Noon - 1:00 pm
Click here for information and registration. Deadline: Friday, May 13
Introductory Training - Representing Children in Immigration Matters
Thursday, May 19, 2022, 9:00 am -11:00 am
Click here for information and registration. Deadline: Friday, May 13

Survivorship Among People of Color in the LGBTQIA+ Community

MCASA (Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault) will hold a virtual training that focuses on BIPOC Queer and Transgender sexual assault survivors. Click here for more information and to register.

Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Training

MCASA's Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Training will take place in June, with
live webinars each weekday from June 6th - June 16th. The training covers introductory and advanced topics to provide a foundation for best practices for advocates in the field of sexual assault services. This training series features a combination of live webinars and self-paced learning modules. Click here to register.

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 meets every second Thursday of the month. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday May 12 at 7:00 pm. To register for this meeting, please click here. For more information email Harrieta.Shangarai@Montgomerycountymd.gov.

Asian Pacific American Advisory Group will meet on Tuesday, May 17. If would like to attend, please email Mr. Yi Shen at yi.shen@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Caribbean American Advisory Group will meet on May 3 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. The meeting will be virtual. For more information about this meeting and CAAG, please contact Rodrigue Vital, Caribbean American Liaison, Rodrigue.vital@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Faith Community Advisory Group will meet on on May 18 at 7:00 pm. This is a public meeting and all are welcome to attend. Register here for this Zoom meeting.
For more information email Kate Chance at kate.chance@montgomerycountymd.gov

Latin American Advisory Group will meet on Tuesday, May 17 at 6:30 pm. The April meeting was postponed to May, and the LAAG will continue its review of best practices that have emerged in Montgomery County in response to the pandemic. Feel free to email Jessy.MejiaTerry@montgomerycountymd.gov for more details.

LGBTQ Advisory Group will meet on May 9th from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. The meeting will be held on Zoom: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/86801452892. For more information, please contact

Middle Eastern American Advisory Group -- For information about the next public meeting, please contact the OCP Middle Eastern American Community Liaison.
African Community
Join the Zoom session sponsored by the Ethiopian Community Center on May 23 at 4:30 pm: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83917569436
Call-in: +1 301 715 8592 Meeting ID: 839 1756 9436

ሰላም ጤና ይስጥልኝ፤ የኢትዮጵያ ማህበረሰብ ማዕከል ባዘጋጀውና ወሲባዊ ጥቃት
እና ጉዳቱ ፡ ክፍል II በሚል ርእስ የተዘጋጀውን
ውይይት እንዲሳተፉ በአክብሮት ተጋብዘዎል::ውይይቱ
ቅዳሜ፤ አፕሪል 23,
2022 @4:30 ፒ. ኤም በቪዲዮ ዙም(Video zoom) የሚያካሂድ ሲሆን ፤ ከስር ያለውን ሊንክ በመጫን ው
ይይቱን ይከታተሉ ዘንድ ጋብዘኖታል ፡፡
በ ዙም ለመሳተፍ : https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83917569436
በሰልክ ለመሳተፍ : +1 301 715 8592
የስብሰባው መለያ ቁጥር /Meeting ID: 839 1756 9436
ጥሪውን ለወዳጅ ዘመድዎ ያጋሩ

The Patcha Foundation and ICS’s HIVE program in collaboration with the Francophone African Alliance, the East County Regional Center, and other community partners will be hosting a Spring Health Fair on May 21. Please see flyer or email stella@patchafoundation.org.
African American Community
African American Health Program Community Day
The African American Health Program will hold its annual Community Day on May 7 from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. The event will be in-person at Montgomery College, Germantown campus, Bioscience Education Center, 20200 Observation Dr, Germantown, MD 20876.

The event will kickoff with an in-person walk/run/bike activity. Community Day also will be available virtually beginning at 10:00 am. To register click here. See flyer for more information.
Asian Pacific American Community
Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. To celebrate, the Office of Community Partnership (OCP) and the Asian American Health Initiative (AAHI) will host several events:

  • On Sunday, May 22, OCP, AAHI and the Wheaton Urban District will hold the AAPI Heritage Month Celebration at the Marian Fryer Town Plaza, 2424 Reedie Drive, Wheaton, MD 20902 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Please see the save the date! Click here for flyer.

  • AAHI and OCP are planning to hold a virtual dialogue between Asian community members to provide a glimpse of the Asian American experience. More information will be sent to the community at a later time. For more information, please email yi.shen@montgomerycountymd.gov 

  • OCP will publish an AAPI historical fact daily on its social media pages during the month of May. Find them on OCP's social media sites: Facebook and Instagram.

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.
Cambodian New Year Celebration
County Executive Marc Elrich attended the Cambodian New Year celebration on April 16 at the Cambodian Buddhist Society (CBS) in Silver Spring. The County Executive paid tribute to Dr. Sovan Tun, a prominent leader of the Cambodian and Buddhist community in the Washington Metropolitan Area and extended his New Year's wishes to the community. Mr, Elrich also expressed his enthusisam for working with CBS' new leadership team. The two-day event was attended by thousands of Cambodian residents from around the region.
Caribbean American Community
Caribbean American History Month
CAAG is currently planning its annual Caribbean American History Month. The Proclamation Day event, which will highlight the cultural richness of Caribbean countries along with the services and contributions made by Caribbean Americans to the United States, is scheduled to take place virtually on Tuesday, June 7 at 7:00 pm. The link to the event will follow in the next monthly newsletter.
Latin American Community
Georgetown University's Collaborative for Global Children's Issues Highlights Montgomery County's Bienvenidos Intiative
In 2021 Montgomery County began a comprehensive effort to address the needs of children and their families or sponsors, and called on the partnership of MCPS, immigrant-serving nonprofits, and other community partners. Today, this collaboration provides a welcoming and guiding hand both to children in schools, and facilitates access and navigation to community resources for their families. This month, Georgetown University's Collaborative for Global Children's Issues has highlighted this Initiative. Learn more about the Bienvenidos Initiative here.
Middle Eastern American Community
Arab American Heritage Month
On April 4, MEAAG accepted the Arab American Heritage Month Proclamation presented by the City of Gaithersburg. For more information, please visit the City Council YouTube video (view from 4:20-6:20 minutes). In collaboration with MEAAG and the Activity Center at Bohrer Park, Ms. Samira Hussein organized a cultural exhibit about AAHM that included works of two Arab American artists.

On April 5th, a joint proclamation by the County Executive and County Council was presented in recognition of Arab American Heritage Month. Ms. Samira Hussein and Ms. Hind Alawar accepted the proclamation on behalf of the Middle Eastern American community. Click here to view photo.
Middle Eastern American Heritage Month (MEAHM) Celebration

The Middle Eastern American Heritiage Month celebration will be held on Saturday, May 14th from 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm at the County Executive Office Building cafeteria. The public is welcome to attend this free event, which will feature wedding-themed costumes, country displays, the official MEAHM proclamation, musical performances, dancing, and Middle Eastern food. See invitation for information and more details. Register here.

Local Middle Eastern community businesses, artists and vendors are invited to exhibit free of charge at this public event, but no sales transactions are permitted. Please contact the OCP’s Middle Eastern Liaison ASAP for more information.

Author Conversations

In collaboration with the Montgomery County Public Libraries, MEAAG's third series of virtual book talks will be held this spring. “Stories to Broaden Understanding” launched on April 19 with Bride of the Sea, the acclaimed first novel of Eman Quotah. Register here for the conversation with Ruby Namdar about The Ruined House on May 10, and here to engage with Laila el-Haddad about her latest work, The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey on June 14.
Voter Education Initiative (VEI)
On April 9th, MEAAG’s Voter Education Initiative participated in the Islamic Center of Maryland food drive-thru. MEAAG members distributed voting materials from the League of Women voters to 200 cars, along with 100 face masks. Thanks so much to student volunteers Meekat and Mayaaz Haq for their help.
Faith Community
Ramadan Events
On April 5th, a joint proclamation by the County Executive and County Council was presented in recognition of Ramadan. Ms. Saba Rashid, Montgomery County Muslim Foundation President, accepted the proclamation on behalf of the Muslim community.
The Muslim Community Center held its Annual Iftar Dinner on April 19. Participants included the County Executive, County and regional government officials, MEAAG members, and more than 200 community members.
See photo at left.

The Annual Iftar Dinner at the Executive Office Building on April 21 featured tributes to recently deceased community leader Tufail Ahmad, evoking fond memories of that generous, accomplished soul. After more than two years of meeting virtually, it was moving to hear a boy canting the call to prayer, participate in conversations with current and former OCP staff, make new acquaintances, and visit with friends in person, including special MEAAG friends Samira Hussein, Layla Obeid, Omar Obeid and Lana Shami.
May Holidays and Days of Interest

Eid ul-Fitr, May 2-3 | Vesak (Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana), May 15 | Ascension Thursday (Western), May 26 | Memorial Day, May 30

Month-long Observances in May

Asian Pacific American Heritage | Older Americans | Jewish American Heritage |
Haitian Heritage | Mental Health Awareness

Faith Community Town Halls

On May 3rd at 7:00 pm the Faith Community Town Hall will feature the Jewish Council for the Aging. Learn about JCA’s free or affordable services to help older adults and their families in your congregation. View flyer here. Register in advance here.

On May 17th at 7:00 pm the Faith Community Town Hall will feature Community Reach Montgomery County. Learn more about Community Reach of Montgomery County's various resources available to our faith community and beyond. View flyer here. Register in advance here.

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. Additional information about the NSGP is available here. 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.
Webinars about the grant program are offered. Click here for dates.

Update - April Events

The Faith Community Advisory hosted a town hall event partnering with Montgomery County Food Council on Tuesday April 5th. View the recorded program here.

The Faith Community Advisory hosted a town hall event on building affordable housing on house of worship property and discussing other affordable housing concerns in Montgomery County on Tuesday April 5th. View the recorded program here.

On April 9th County Executive Marc Elrich and Faith Liaison Kate Chance attended the Islamic Center of Maryland’s monthly food distribution event, helping to distribute food to hundreds of families.

On April 26th County Executive Marc Elrich and Faith Liaison Kate Chance attended a weekly food distribution hosted by Mt. Calvary Baptist Church which benefits hundreds of families in the Rockville area.
News & Events Around the Region
Click Links for Details

Financial Assistance for Homeowners Impacted by COVID -- The Maryland Homeowner Assistance Fund is now open to provide grants or loans for delinquent mortgage payments, past due association fees, past due real estate taxes, repairs, and energy efficiency improvements. Eligibility is based on income and COVID impact; owner occupancy is required. To learn more, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/homeowners.

Get involved with MANNA's Community Food Rescue Program.

For more information on voter registration, requesting a mail-in ballot, and voting, click here. The upcoming primary election is July 19, 2022.

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

Leadership Montgomery is accepting applications for the 2022-23 Leadership Programs: CORE, Emerging Leaders and Senior Leadership Montgomery. Click here for flyer.

Lifelong Learning Courses -- Registration is open for Montgomery College Lifelong Learning Institute Non-Credit Courses. Offering Zoom and on-campus classes! 35 new classes are being offered in Spring 2022. Click here for registration information.

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.

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