"A More Equitable and Inclusive Montgomery County"

County Executive Marc Elrich

May 1, 2023 - Volume 178

Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center

Immigration, Citizenship, and Legal Services

Advisory Group Meetings

Volunteer Center

African American Community

African Community

Asian Pacific American


Caribbean American Community

Latin American Community

Middle Eastern Community

Faith Community


Share Your News - To submit 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.

Mobile Job Center

WorkSource Montgomery and the Montgomery County Workforce Development Board has a brand-new Mobile Job Center! For more information or to request the MJC for a community event, please complete and submit the form located on the website.

Help Those Affected by Silver Spring Fire

The fire at the Arrive high-rise apartment complex on Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring on February 18 resulted in one fatality and injuries to multiple residents, as well as the displacement of hundreds of residents. More details are available here. At the request of Montgomery County, the Montgomery Housing Partnership is managing a dedicated relief fund to assist those affected by the fire. One hundred percent of donations will go directly to those affected. For more details, please click here.

Low Income Household Water Assistance Program

This new program provides benefits for water and wastewater costs for low-income households experiencing hardship with their water bills. See flyer in English and Spanish, as well as a postcard and bilingual handout.

Nonprofit Grants

Nonprofit Security Grant Program Technical Assistance Webinar Series

Click here for information.

The Montgomery County Office of Food Systems Resilience and the Office of Grants Management are soliciting grant applications for the FY23 Resident and Community Food Gardening Grant Program for qualified nonprofit organizations in Montgomery County that expand resident and community food production capacity as a means of increasing local food security. DEADLINE: Wednesday May 24, 2023.

Read more.

Got the Power Girls Conference

Free conference for middle and high school girls and parents, May 6. Click here for flyer.

Book Donation Drive

Have books to donate? Bring them & support Scholarships! The Montgomery County (MD) Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is hosting a book donation drive from April 15 - May 14.

For more information, click here.

Free Webinars

The Philippine Nurses Association of Metro DC is hosting a Zoom webinar on May 27 from 10:30 am to 11:30 am, "Breaking the Stigma of Mental Illness as an Asian American Pacific Islander." Click here for additional information.

Empowered Women International and LEDC offert free webinars in English and Spanish. Click here for information.

Lifelong Learning Courses

Registration is open for Montgomery College Lifelong Learning Institute Non-Credit Courses. Online and on-campus classes are available. View brochure.

Senior Planet in Montgomery County is offering virtual and in-person programs. Senior Planet helps seniors learn new skills, save money, get in shape, and make new friends. Learn more here.

ESOL Classes for Adults

Find an ESOL class from MCAEL here.

Free Adult Electric Scooter Clinics

Residents 18-and-older who are interested in electric scooter lessons will have the opportunity to attend free clinics in April, May and June sponsored by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. Read more.

Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 

Join the Celebration on May 21

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. The Office of Community Partnerships (OCP), the Asian American Health Initiative (AAHI), and several community organizations will hold a AAPI Heritage Month Celebration on Sunday, May 21 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm at Seneca Valley High School. Please see flyer for details.

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center

Legal Clinic for Immigrants

On April 22, the Maryland Pro Bono Resource Center--Maryland Immigrant Legal Assistance Project (MILAP), offered free legal advice to people with a case before the immigration court. With 20 families in attendance, the clinic was a great success! The Gilchrist Center thanks MILAP for providing this service to the community, and looks forward to hosting similar events in the future.

Spring Classes

This spring, Gilchrist Center classes have been in high demand. English classes filled up within six hours of registration opening, with over 600 students signing up to improve their language skills. Additionally, many computer classes filled up within 24 hours, demonstrating the community's eagerness to learn new skills. To receive the latest information about Gilchrist Center classes and programs, sign up for updates here, or visit the website at

Immigration, CItizenship, and Legal Services

May Workshops and Information Sessions

The Montgomery County Maryland Bar Foundation Pro Bono Program Legal Clinic offers 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 the flyer and the brochure in English or Spanish.

The Rita Rosenkrantz Family Law Training Program provides free legal training for 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 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 Preparation Classes at the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center

The Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center offers free Citizenship Preparation classes online and in person. Registration for the spring 2023 session is 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 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. 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.

In celebration of AAPI Heritage Month, APALRC will host a citizenship application workshop at the Rockville Memorial Library on May 6 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The workshop is by appointment only. To schedule a time, please contact (202) 393- 3572. Please see the attached flyers in English and Chinese or visit Citizenship Application Workshop – Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center for further information. 

HIAS 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.

Montgomery College Free Citizenship Preparation Program

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 and in-person.

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

  • Thursday, May 18 at 6:00 pm at the Rockville Campus
  • Saturday, May 20 at 9:00 am at the Rockville Campus

Classes will run for 10 weeks from July to September.

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

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 the 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

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.

County Executive's Advisory Groups

Upcoming Meetings of County Executive's Ethnic & Faith Advisory Groups

African Affairs Advisory Group will meet on May 11 at 7:00 pm.

For more details email [email protected].

African American Advisory Group -- For more information, contact [email protected].

Asian Pacific American Advisory Group will meet on May 16. If you would to attend, please email Mr. Yi Shen at [email protected].

Caribbean American Advisory Group will meet virtually on Tuesday, May 2 at 7:00 pm. For more information about the meeting or CAAG, please contact Rodrigue Vital, Caribbean American Liaison at [email protected].

Faith Advisory Group will meet on May 15 at 6:00 pm. For more information contact [email protected].

Latin American Advisory Group will meet in-person on Tuesday, May 30 discuss affordable housing in Montgomery County. Further details on location TBD. For more information, email Jessy Mejia Terry, Latino Liaison, at [email protected].

LGBTQ Advisory Group will meet on May 15 from 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm. The meeting will be held on Zoom. Please contact Amena Johnson at [email protected].

Middle Eastern American Advisory Group will meet in May. Please contact OCP Middle Eastern Liaison [email protected] for more information.

Volunteer Center

County Names Top Volunteers

Montgomery County has named five individuals and organizations as recipients of the 2023 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): Dr. Carol Garvey, for her longstanding dedication to health-related causes; and Bernie Relf, Jr., for his leadership at St. Camillus Food Pantry for over 20 years
  • Volunteer of the Year: Chris King, in recognition of her leadership role with the New Neighbors Interfaith Alliance
  • Youth Volunteer of the Year: Viveka Sinha, honored for founding "SpeakUp" Debate and initiating the Asian American Mental Health Initiative
  • Volunteer Group of the Year: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Xi Sigma Omega Chapter, for their service to the community through well planned and executed events
  • Business Volunteer Group of the Year: Simply Fresh Events, in recognition of its partnership with Nourishing Bethesda, a nonprofit that addresses food insecurity.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony on Monday evening, June 26 at Imagination Stage in Bethesda. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. To register, please click here.

African American Community

Take Control of Your Health

The African American Health Program (AAHP) and its partner organizations will host the 10th annual AAHP Community Day on May 20, 2023 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College. Walk/run/bike activities will begin at 7:45 am.

This year’s theme, “Take Control of Your Health,” highlights ongoing efforts to eliminate health disparities, and to increase the number of Blacks in Montgomery County who are healthy at every stage of their life. While focused on health prevention strategies, AAHP Community Day is a “community” event that incorporates food, health-related information, fun and exciting activities. This free event is open to all ages. Click here for flyer.

For more information about AAHP Community Day, please call (240) 777-1833, or send an email to:

[email protected]

Sponsorship opportunities are available. If interested, please contact Pat Grant at [email protected].

African Community

Outreach Made Easy with Montgomery County's AAAG Mobile App

AAAG App is a new application developed to support the African Immigrant community as part of the African Affairs Advisory Group (AAAG) and serves as virtual Welcome Center. The app is designed to provide better information and outreach to the community and includes a range of features such as a "New to the Area" checklist, a directory of resources spanning housing, health, business, and more. Read more.

Asian Pacific American Community

Small Business Roundtable

County Executive Elrich attended the Maryland AAPISTRONG Small Business Roundtable. He and other elected officials heard from small business owners about the struggles that they face and suggestions on how the State and County could help.

Solar New Year Festivals

Above: Thai New Year at the Wat Thai Temple

Below: Cambodian New Year at the Cambodian Buddhist Society Temple

The Cambodian, Thai, Laotian, Sri Lankan, Nepalese and various Southeast Asian communities celebrated their new years between April 13-16. County Executive Elrich attended several of these events.

Above: Asian and Faith Liaisons attended the Vaisakhi celebration at the Guru Nanak Foundation of America to bring greetings on behalf of the County Executive.

Above: Sri Lankan New Year

Above: Nepali New Year and Holi with the Nepal Education Cultural Center

Caribbbean American Community

Haitian Flag Day Events

During the week of May 18th, thousands of County residents with links to Haiti will celebrate their country’s flag day. According to the organizers, the Institute of Grace and the Association of Haitian Professionals, the celebrations will consist of recreational and cultural activities at various County parks, offering residents the opportunity to enjoy Haitian food, music and games. The Caribbean Liaison and representatives of the County’s African American Health Program (AAHP) plan to attend some of the events during that weekend,to disseminate County information and other messages for improving the health and wellbeing of eventgoers residing in the County.

Caribbean Owned Arts & Crafts Store Opens

True 2 Hue, a local, minority, female owned business has opened in Silver Spring! The business specializes in painting; hand building with clay; mosaics; wood art; and recycled art. Creative fun is available for the whole family. A ribbon cutting ceremony on March 16 included Councilmember Natali Gonzalez, Caribbean American Advisory Group Chair Venice Harvey-Mundle, Caribbean Liaison Rodrigue Vital and Luisa Cardona, Director of the Mid-County Regional Service Center.

Latin American Community

LAAG to Review County Policy and Programs

The LAAG will begin a year-long overview of policy and programs pertinent to the Latino community at different County Departments. The policies and programs reviewed will be prioritized as they are in the Latino Agenda for Action Report 2020-2024. For more information, email Jessy Mejia Terry, Latino Liaison, at [email protected].

Middle Eastern American Community

Arab American Heritage Month Celebration

MEAAG and Arab Americans of Montgomery County celebrated Arab American Heritage Month on April 30 at the Executive Office Building Auditorium. Approximately 200 representatives of the Arab American community gathered to celebrate the richness of their culture. In his remarks, County Executive Marc Elrich highlighted the valuable contributions of Arab Americans in all fields and presented the Arab American Heritage Month Proclamation.

Sarah Siddiqui Wolek, Member of the House of Delegates (District 16); Montgomery County Council Vice President Andrew Friedson; Councilmembers Natali Fani-González, Laurie-Anne Sayles, Kate Stewart, and Sidney Katz delivered remarks about the significance of this event. The event's key speakers, Claudia Youakim, Program Director of the Arab American Institute and Abed Ayoub, National Executive Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), shared stories about their journey as successful Arab Americans and shed light on some of the challenges they have faced.

The program featured cultural and art exhibits, traditional fashion shows, music, and songs. This event would not have been possible without sponsorship and generous donations from Mazar Kabob Restaurant, Muath Music and his Band (who translated and presented the National Anthem in Arabic language), and Malikat Al-Dabke Dance by Quartertonez Music.

Middle Eastern American Heritage Month Display

Throughout Middle Eastern American Heritage Month in March, MEAAG furnished a display in the lobby of the Rockville Memorial Library. This initiative was led by Samira Hussein and Faiza Shabani, pictured at left.

The Holy Month of Ramadan Events

During the Holy Month of Ramadan, observed from March 22 to April 20, many mosques, Islamic centers, and other organizations are sponsoring Iftar (breaking the fast) and charity events.

On April 9, the Sudanese Community organized a community Iftar. Dr. Shaza Shareef, the recipient of the Arab American Heritage Month proclamation from the City of Gaithersburg, organized the event, which drew hundreds of people.

On April 13, the Muslim Community Center (MCC) organized an Iftar for the community and government officials.

Hundreds of people attended and interacted at this annual event.

Happy Nowruz

The Iranian New Year, Nowruz, was celebrated for thirteen days in March and April. The holiday marks the the start of spring and the beginning of a new year. Nowruz is a time of renewal, hope, and joy. During this holiday, families gather together to share traditional meals and exchange gifts while also honoring their heritage and cultural traditions.

Author Conversations

MEAAG and the Montgomery County Public Libraries have been hosting the fourth series of free meet-the-author book talks from February-April 2023. An online dialogue with Diana Abu-Jaber (American Jordanian) on her latest novel, Fencing with the King, took place on April 11. The book is available at, where you can choose to have sales benefit Friends of the Montgomery County Library (FOLMC).

Faith Community

May Holidays and Days of Interest

Twelfth Day of Ridván, 5/1 | Wesak or Buddha Day, 5/5 | Ascension Thursday (Western), 5/18 | Shavuot, 5/25 – 5/27 | Buddha's Birthday, 5/27 | Memorial Day, 5/29

Upcoming Events

May 6 - Interfaith Works is hosting a Resource Fair. Please see flyers for more information on attending the event or having a table. Register here.

May 22 - House of Worship Security Training, 7:00 pm. Location and registration are pending. Email [email protected] for more information.

May 23 - A Faith Community Townhall will take place featuring the Jewish Council for the Aging, 7:00 pm. Register in advance here.

May 24 - The Religious Land Use Working Group will meet at 2:00 pm. For more information, please email [email protected].

April Activities

The Faith Community had an active April, with numerous events attended by the Faith Liaison, the County Executive, County officials, and community members. Click here for a full report with photos.

Iftar at Idara-e-Jaferia 

Media Day for the Scotland Juneteenth Heritage Festival