Volume 172 | November 7, 2022

"A More Equitable and Inclusive Montgomery County"
County Executive Marc Elrich
Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center

Computer Loaner Laptop Distribution

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center in Wheaton held a loaner laptop distribution event organized by the Montgomery Connects-Computer for You program on Saturday, October 15. More than 440 people came to the Center to receive loaner Chromebooks. The event also helped attendees obtain free internet service. Many thanks to the program organizers who helped the event run smoothly and successfully!

In-person Classes Resume

For the first time since the pandemic started, the Gilchrist Center resumed in-person operations for some of its Citizenship Preparation and English Conversation classes. For information on how to join in-person and online classes, visit the Gilchrist Center website.

Website Update

The newly redesigned Gilchrist Center website is more user friendly and provides an improved, more focused search function. Check it out here.

Volunteer Center

Volunteer Center Welcomes New RSVP Manager

Lindsay Luhn has joined the Volunteer Center as the new RSVP Manager, working primarily with the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and the 50+ Volunteer Network. She comes with a background in volunteering and leading volunteers at community organizations and non-profits. Lindsay recognizes that the people and connections are the driving force behind the success of a strong community, and she looks forward to supporting volunteers in her new role. Born and raised in Montgomery County, Lindsay earned a degree in Environmental and Ecological Science from Elon University. READ MORE.

Immigration, Citizenship & Legal Services

October 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 brochure.

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) is available 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 fall semester is now open! Click here for information on how to apply.

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 in many languages including Chinese, Korean, and Urdu. This is a free service. 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:

  • Tuesday, November 15 at 6:00 pm at the Rockville Campus
  • Saturday, November 19 at 9:00 am at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus

For more details, email [email protected] 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 information.

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) Baltimore

Introductory Training - Representing Children in Immigration Matters  

Thursday, November 17, 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 will meet on November 10 and every second Thursday going forward. Meetings will be held at 1 Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring MD. For more information please email [email protected].

Asian Pacific American Advisory Group will meet on Tuesday, November 15. If you have any questions, please email Mr. Yi Shen at [email protected]

Caribbean American Advisory Group will meet virtually on Tuesday, November 1, 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 [email protected].

Faith Community Advisory Group will meet on November 21 at 6:00 pm. For more information, email Faith Liaison Kate Chance at [email protected].

Latin American Advisory Group will meet on November 17 (tentative date). For more information, email Latin American Liaison Jessy Mejia Terry at [email protected].

LGBTQ Advisory Group will meet on November 21 from 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm on Zoom: https://us02web.zoom. For more information, please contact [email protected].

Middle Eastern American Advisory Group will meet via Zoom MEAAG on Monday, November 14, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm. Guest speaker is to be announced. Please contact the OCP’s Middle Eastern Liaison for the link.

African Community

Civic Engagement Kickoff

On October 20, the African Affairs Advisory Group held its first in-person meeting since the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic. The Civic Engagement Kickoff was attended by County Executive Marc Elrich and County Councilmember Will Jawando served as the keynote speaker. Click here to view photo.

The event introduced the incoming group leadership, Fatmata Barrie, chair, and Mona-Mae Juwillie, vice-chair. They will focus on promoting community engagement during their tenure. Subsequent meetings are scheduled to take place every 2nd Thursday of the month. For more information please email [email protected]

The Uganda Community Independence Day Picnic

The Uganda Community Independence Day Picnic was held on Sunday, October 9th at Fairland Park in Burtonsville. The event included civic engagement, education, and sports. The DC Cranes vs. Harambe Stars of Kenya took to the Fairland soccer field in the early afternoon, followed by a basketball game between Uganda and Rwanda. Games for adults and children included volleyball, badminton, dodgeball/kwepena, soccer, and flag football. The event organizers reminded their community about the importance of voting and urged them to “Get Out the Vote." Click here to view the event flyer.

African American Community

Nominations Open - Human Rights Hall of Fame

The Montgomery County Office of Human Rights (OHR) is accepting nominations for its Human Rights Hall of Fame. Nominations must be individuals—living or deceased—whose work, service and contributions have positively impacted human and civil rights in the County. The deadline for nominations is Thursday, November 10. The induction ceremony is planned for 3:00 pm on Sunday, November 20 at BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Towns Commons Drive, Germantown. READ MORE. The nomination form can be found at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/humanrights/.

AMBER Business Coaching and Technical Assistance

The Montgomery County Black Collective, in partnership with the Maryland Black Chamber of Commerce and Montgomery County Government, is seeking applicants for a cohort for a technical assistance and individualized business coaching program. The AMBER program (All Minority Businesses Excelling in Real-Time) is expected to launch in late 2022 and will run through June 2023. READ MORE.

Asian Pacific American Community

Korea National Day

The Korean Embassy observed Korea National Day and Armed Forces Day on October 11. The event was attended by dignitaries from the federal government, members of the Armed Forces and representatives from local government. The event also acknowledged the strong partnership between the United States and Korea.

Celebrating India's Independence

County Executive Marc Elrich attended the celebration of 75 years of Indian Independence. He spoke about the impact of India's independence on US history, especially the peaceful non-violent style of protest by Mahatma Ghandi, which was adopted by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement.

Diwali Celebration

October 24 marked the five-day start of Diwali, one of the most celebrated festivals in the Hindu world. The word is a variation of the Sanskrit word Deepavali, and refers to the rows of earthen lamps celebrants place around their homes. Hindus believe that the light from these lamps symbolizes the illumination within the individual that overwhelms ignorance, represented by darkness. Click here to view the proclamation issued by the County Executive. To learn more about Diwali, please visit https://www.diwalifestival.org/ 

Employment Opportunity

Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project (DVRP) is recruiting for a bilingual case manager for its Survivor Services Program. Click here for the job description.

Caribbean American Community

International Creole Day

October 28 was recognized by UNESCO as International Creole Day. Virtual and in-person celebrations took place from October 26 through October 28. The County Executive provided a recorded message to acknowledge the date and issued a proclamation to the county-based organization KOMALAK (Committee for the Advancement of Creole Language), which organized the three-day celebration.

This was the first year that CAAG was invited to join the celebration. Dr. Anestine Lafond, an Advisory Group member and a native of the Commonwealth of Dominica, delivered a powerful video presentation in Creole that acknowledged the use of Creole in all aspects of life in Dominica. Dr. Lafond encouraged attendees to embrace the Creole language and keep pushing it forward.

Latin American Community

Hispanic Heritage Month

A variety of activities made for a busy Hispanic Heritage Month in October! A calendar listed the numerous Hispanic Heritage Month events throughout the County, which included music, dance, storytelling, art and more. The calendar appeared on the County’s website for the entire month, and was shared through its Spanish Facebook Page, (@MontgomeryCountyenEspanol), Twitter, and WhatsApp accounts.

The County Executive led a special effort to learn more about Latino-owned businesses in the County, from a warehouse producing empanadas (Maspanadas) to an art gallery of contemporary Latin American art (RoFa Gallery). Mr. Elrich visited women-led businesses to gain a greater understanding about creating opportunities for growth with this sector. To cap this business spotlight, the County Executive met with leaders of the Maryland, Montgomery County, and Salvadoran American Chambers of Commerce to engage in a new collaboration aimed at increasing Latino-owned businesses contracting with Montgomery County. 

The County also celebrated heritage month by partcipating in other events with community partners, including the El Salvador Sister City Fiesta and the Montgomery County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Hispanic Heritage Month Gala. 

In partnership with the Wheaton Regional Service Center and the Wheaton Urban District, the County Executive held a family-friendly community event series every Saturday during heritage month at Marian Fryer Wheaton Town Plaza.

Hispanic Heritage Month featured a campaign that highlighted some of the County’s outstanding Latino employees every day of the month on the County’s Spanish Facebook page and Twitter accounts. Luisa Fernanda Cardona, Director of the Mid County Regional Services Center, is pictured at left.

Spanish Budget Forum at Wheaton Recreation Center

The County Executive, with the Office of Management and Budget, will host its 2nd Annual Spanish Budget Forum. All County residents interested in learning about next year’s budget priorities are welcome to attend. The forum will be conducted entirely in Spanish on November 16 at the Wheaton Recreation Center. For more details, please contact Jessy Mejia Terry at [email protected].

LAAG Update

The Latin American Advisory Group has concluded its update on programs and best practices born out of the County’s pandemic response (2020-2022) and will move forward to a comprehensive analysis of all assets and programs in collaboration with the Latino Health Steering Committee of the Latino Health Initiative of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. This collaboration will begin in November 2022 and roll into 2023 to establish a set of priorities for the Latino community. This meeting is tentatively scheduled for November 17. 

Middle Eastern American Community

Affordable Housing Meeting

MEAAG’s October 25th meeting featured guest speaker Sarah Reddinger, Vice President of Community Development for Habitat for Humanity. Ms. Reddinger presented an informative overview of the housing and weatherization program provided by Habitat for Humanity. Click here to view the flyer and meeting overview. Please contact the OCP’s Middle Eastern Liaison if you would like more information.

Welcome High School Interns

MEAAG's 2022-23 high school interns are Togzhan Zhumadil, a junior at Walter Johnson High School and Nathan Zion, a junior at Springbrook High School. Togzhan has experience organizing a food drive at her school with the Maryland Food Bank. She wants to get to know the community better as a part of MEAAG, and help in any way she can. Nathan looks forward to extending his community service in the the areas of social justice and law. His volunteer work as a voting operations judge with the Montgomery County Board of Elections will assist MEAAG with its voter education efforts.

Day of DIgnity

#ICMcares (The Islamic Center of Maryland in Gaithersburg) hosted area service organizations and county agencies at their annual Day of Dignity on October 29. MEAAG members had an opportunity to explain county services and the group's educational and cultural programs. MEAAG intern Nathan Zion prepared infographics to encourage voting on November 8 and intern Togzhan Zhumadil supervised a children's play area.

World Kindness Day is Sunday, November 13

MEAAG will partner with KindWorks, a Bethesda-based nonprofit and one of MEAAG's 2022 Distinguished Community Service Award recipients, to cook one of their favorite soups to share with those in need. Please see the flyer and find more details here. You can participate online through the Zoom link (provided after registering) from 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm, or contact our OCP Middle Eastern Liaison to attend “Covid-safely” in person. Local hero Katie Ledecky will be joining us!

Author Conversations

MEAAG and the Montgomery County Public Library are still accepting recommendations for the fourth series of meet-the-author book talks to be held February-April 2023. Bahar Mojdeh, the translator of a volume of Persian poetry, will be featured on March 7th, followed by Diana Abu-Jaber on April 11th.. Please contact the OCP’s Middle Eastern Liaison with any recommendations for the February 7th talk.

King Tut, the Rosetta Stone and Modern Egypt

MEAAG member Karen Leggett Abouraya, co-chair of the Baltimore-Luxor-Alexandria Sister City Committee, extends an invitation to "King Tut, the Rosetta Stone and Modern Egypt," an interactive, intergenerational celebration at Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library on Saturday, November 12th, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm. Join several MEAAG members and OCP liaison! Click here for details.

Faith Community

November Holidays and Days of Interest

All Saints Day, November 1 | Gurugadhi Guru Granth Sahib, November 3 | Birth of Guru Nanak Dev ji, November 8 | Veterans Day, November 11 | Lhabab Duchen, November 15 | Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur, November 24 | 

Thanksgiving Day, November 24 | American Indian Heritage Day, November 25

Months of Celebration

Native American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month

Upcoming Events

November 8, 7:00 pm --The Faith Community Advisory Group will host an event for the faith community to learn more about cancer disparities. Register in advance here.

November 9 -- The Religious Land Use Working Group will host an event for the faith community to connect with County facilities and learn more about developing properties. Please see flyer and register here.

November 15, 7:00 pm -- The Montgomery County Resettlement Working Group will meet to discuss ways to support Afghan and other newcomers. For more information email Faith Liaison Kate Chance, [email protected].

Faith Commuity October Event Review

October was a busy month for the Faith Community. Learn more about their activities, click here.

Community Updates

Faith Community Survey: Please provide information to accurately describe your concerns to MCCPTA Montgomery County Council of PTA's (Parent-Teacher Association at MCPS) regarding community events. Take the survey here.

Graduate students in Georgetown’s Masters in Professional Real Estate Program will work with houses of worship to conduct a no-cost financial feasibility study of converting fallow excess land into affordable housing under a long term ground lease. To request an application for the Georgetown Feasibility Study, contact [email protected].

Montgomery Sister Cities

Humanitarian Walk in Silence

At sunrise on October 23, Montgomery Sister Cities brought community members “Together As One” along with County Executive Marc Elrich and other elected officials as they walked in silence carrying fifty two colorful signs displaying powerful humanitarian quotes.

The promotion of peace and raising awareness of the need for a humanitarian response is critical during these difficult times. People have come to Montgomery County from every corner of the globe, making Montgomery County one of the most diverse counties in the country. To read more and view photos, click here. View the event video here.

Montgomery County and Gondar, Ethiopia Celebrate 10 Year Sister City Partnership

October 25, 2022 marked the 10th Anniversary of the Sister City relationship between Montgomery County and Gondar, Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is the country of origin of the majority of Montgomery County’s proud African immigrant population. Gondar, which is the second largest city in Ethiopia and its ancient capital, was chosen as the second Sister City in Montgomery County in 2012. From its cultural delegation trips to sending PPE equipment during the wake of COVID-19, the Sister CIties' goal is to continue to strengthen its relationship with Gondar. READ MORE.

The diaspora and community reflects on the journey, mission, and future of the sister cities relationship in this documentary video produced by Montgomery College.

Hispanic Heritage Fiesta

The Morazan, El Salvador Sister City Committee hosted its Hispanic Heritage Fiesta, a fundraising event for scholarships to university students in Morazan. The fiesta took place at the Silver Spring Civic Center at Veterans Plaza on October 14th. Welcoming remarks were provided by former Salvadoran delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez, who introduced County Executive Marc Elrich. In response to a question posed by the former delegate, the County Executive stated his plan to travel to Morazan within the next two to three years. For more information, please email Jessy Mejia Terry at [email protected]

News & Events Around the Region
Click Links for Details

2022 Rockville Holiday Drive is Officially Underway

Neighborhood Events Matching Funds Grant Program Application Form 

Neighborhood organizations, block groups, tenant associations, civic clubs, and other community groups that are active and in good standing may apply for funds to hold events and activities. Click here for application.

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.

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