"A More Equitable and Inclusive Montgomery County"

County Executive Marc Elrich

March 1, 2023 - Volume 176

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center

Immigration, Citizenship, and Legal Services

Advisory Group Meetings

Volunteer Center

African Community

African American Community

Asian Pacific American


Caribbean American Community

Latin American Community

Middle Eastern Community

Faith Community

Sister Cities


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.

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.

Job Openings

The County Council is seeking three outstanding students with Master’s degrees in policy-related programs (policy, public administration, planning, public health, law, etc.) who will graduate in spring 2023 or have graduated in the past 36 months. They will begin work on September 11, 2023, for a one-year term with a possible second year extension.

Additional information about the program and the application can be found at deadline for application is March 14, 2023. 

Ayuda's Language Access Program is currently hiring for the position of Language Access Coordinator. You can find details about the position here

Grant Opportunities

The Montgomery County Office of Grants Management is soliciting grant applications for two new grant programs focused on underserved communities and the nonprofit organizations rooted in them. Application Deadline: Wednesday March 15, 2023 at 9:00 am. Find more information and apply to The FY 2023 Nonprofit Technical Assistance and Management Support (NTAMS) Grant Program. Find more information and apply to the FY 2023 Underserved Communities Projects (UCP) Grant Program.

Girl Power Contest

In recognition of March as Women’s History Month, the Montgomery County Commission for Women, Montgomery County Public Libraries and Friends of the Library Montgomery County, Inc. is holding its Sixth Annual “Girl Power Contest.” County residents, ages 5 and up, are encouraged to submit a short story, poem, drawing or entry in the medium of their choice that addresses this year’s theme.

Entries can be submitted starting Wednesday, March 1. The deadline for entries is midnight on Friday, March 31. Click here for details.

RainScapes Rewards Rebate

The RainScapes Rebate Program application portal of Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection is open. The portal has information on RainScapes installation and offers guidance on selecting the right type of project to get started.The portal will only be open through March 31.Click here for details.

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.

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.

4 Cities In Montgomery County Rank in Top 10 Most Ethnically Diverse in U.S.

According to a study by Wallet Hub, four of the top 10 most diverse cities in the country are in Montgomery County. The finance website placed Germantown, Gaithersburg, Silver Spring, and Rockville in its top ten “2023’s Most Ethnically Diverse Cities in the U.S.” list. Germantown ranks number one in the country. Read more.

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Town Hall

The Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center will partner with the Congolese Community of Washington Metropolitan (CCWM) to host a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Town Hall Meeting from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on March 4 at the Gaithersburg Library (2nd Floor). Officers from USCIS will discuss recent immigration rules and updates (public charge rule, naturalization test, etc.), and community members will have the opportunity to ask questions. Register for this free event here.

Legal Consultations

The Gilchrist Center will host a free legal consultation organized by the Maryland Pro Bono Resource Center on April 22 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Gilchrist Center in Wheaton. The clinic offers free consultations prior to appearing at immigration court. Click here to register. 

Connect with the Gilchrist Center

For information about services and programs available in the county, visit in-person or call the Gilchrist Center at 240-777-4940. Click here to receive text or email notifications about upcoming class registration, Gilchrist Center news and announcements, and community updates.

Immigration, CItizenship, and Legal Services

March Workshops and Information Sessions

The Montgomery County Maryland Bar Foundation Pro Bono Program Legal Clinic has resumed 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 and flyer.

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 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.

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 and in-person.

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

  • Saturday, March 11 at 9:00 am at the Rockville Campus
  • Wednesday, March 22 at 6:00 pm at the Rockville Campus

Classes will run for 10 weeks from April to June.

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.

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) Baltimore

Introductory Training - Representing Children in Immigration Matters, March 16, 2023, 9:00 am - 11:00 am

Click here for information and registration.

A new project from KIND International Programs supports family reunification through the Central American Minors (CAM) program. To learn more about the CAM program, who is eligible, KIND’s role, and how to refer a case, please view the recorded information session. You can refer a case directly to KIND, contact the KIND CAM Team at +1 (855) 477-9998 or email [email protected].

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

Black History Month Hosted by African, African American and Caribbean Advisory Groups

OCP's African, African American and Caribbean Advisory Groups hosted a 2023 Black History Month celebration on February 5 at the Silver Spring Civic Building. 

Coming together for the first time to celebrate their common African heritage, the three Black advisory groups honored former County Executive Ike Leggett, who created space for Black communities to share their concerns and to participate in countywide policy discussions. Current County Executive Marc Elrich presented a proclamation in appreciation of the Black communities of the County. Other local officials who attended the event included Council President Evan Glass, Councilmember Laurie Anne Sayles, and Maryland House Delegate from District 20, Jheanelle Wilkins. The event was hosted by Maureen Umeh, a County resident and TV anchor/reporter at Fox 5 News.

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

African Affairs Advisory Group meets every second Thursday of the month. During 2022-2023, the meetings will take place in different locations around the county to better connect with communities across the region. The next meeting will be held on March 9. For more details, please email [email protected].

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

Asian Pacific American Advisory Group will meet onTuesday, March 21. For more information, please email Mr. Yi Shen at [email protected]

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

Faith Advisory Group will meet on Monday, March 20 at 6:00 pm. For more information, contact [email protected].

Latin American Advisory Group will meet virtually on Tuesday, March 21. The LAAG will be deciding on a yearly meeting calendar and looking at goals for the next year, specifically meeting with Montgomery County Department Chiefs about programs, initiatives, services, and resources specific to the Latino community. For more information, email Jessy Mejia Terry, [email protected].

LGBTQ Advisory Group will meet on Monday, March 20 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Please click here for Zoom link. For more information, contact [email protected].

Middle Eastern American Advisory Group will not meet in March. Please contact OCP Middle Eastern Liaison [email protected] for more information.

Volunteer Center

Montgomery Serves Awards

Nominations for the Montgomery Serves Awards, our County's highest honor for volunteerism, are now open! These annual awards recognize individuals, businesses, and groups that have demonstrated remarkable commitment to direct volunteer service in our community.

To submit nominations to recognize those who have performed outstanding volunteer service in 2022, or those 60 years and more who have performed a lifetime of volunteer service, click here!

Free Tax Preparation

Free tax preparation assistance is available for low-to-moderate income Montgomery County taxpayers through the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program. Services are provided by trained volunteers and are by appointment only. Self-schedule at or call 240-777-2577, Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm.

For more information, please visit or download this flyer.

African American Community

Gospel Train Ride to Freedom Concert

On February 25th, the Lincoln Park Historical Foundation and Mt. Calvary Baptist Church hosted the Annual Gospel Train Ride to Freedom Concert: Reflections of Historical Roots and 46th Anniversary of Lincoln Park Historical Foundation. Program themes explored historical roots through spiritual uplifting, songs and praises, and performances conducted by individuals, gospel and combined choirs, and artists from across the state.

Upcoming Events

March 4 - Healing & Deliverance Ministry | 10:00 am - 1:00 pm - Bishop Paul L. Walker & Pastor Lisa Walker - Governer Square Apartments, Gaithersburg, MD;

Food & clothing distribution

March 12 - Health Sunday - God’s Mighty Works are Displayed Through Sickle Cell Warriors | 11:00 am - 3:00 pm - Emory Grove UMC, Rev. Lorraine Brown

March 29 - Dr. Elwood Gray Book Signing Event, "Dog Tag" | 12:00 pm - Brigadier General Charles McGee Library, 900 Wayne Ave, Silver Spring, MD

Email [email protected] to RSVP

For more information, please contact [email protected].

Latin American Community

Bienvenidos Resource Fair

The Bienvenidos Initiative will be hosting its fourth Bienvenidos Resources Fair on Saturday March 11 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at Montgomery Village Middle School for newcomer families in Montgomery County. The event is open to all families interested in learning about the services and resources available in the County, and will feature a presentation by the Bienvenidos Initiative, Montgomery County Public Schools, The Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center, and a legal orientation by Catholic Charities. Children are welcome. This event will be conducted entirely in Spanish. Please see the flyer for more details.

Spanish Virtual Forum on Opioids and Fentanyl

On February 21 the Office of Community Partnerships in collaboration with DHHS, MCPD, MCFRS, and the Executive’s Public Information Office hosted a virtual Spanish forum for parents about opioids, fentanyl, and how to save a life by administering Narcan. The event was live on the County’s Spanish Facebook page @MontgomeryCountyenEspanol, and featured a three-person panel that included Dr. Rolando Santiago, Chief of Behavioral Health and Crisis Services; Captain Oscar Garcia of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services; and Officer Helga Mathis-Negron of the Montgomery County Police Department. The forum was moderated by Public Information Officer Lorna Virgili. View the event here.

Middle Eastern American Community

Monthly Meeting

MEAAG held its monthly meeting by Zoom on February 15. The Middle Eastern Liaison provided updates about OCP activities and community members shared information about previous and upcoming community matters. Discussion topics included antisemitism and Islamophobia, affordable housing for large families, preparation of FY24 budget priorities for the County Executive, and the 2023 Middle Eastern American and Arab American heritage months in March and April, respectively. The main MEA heritage celebration occurs Saturday, March 11. See article below.

Middle Eastern American Heritage Month

Please join MEAAG on March 11 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Executive Office Building cafeteria, 101 Monroe St, Rockville, MD. The event theme is local humanitarian efforts. Serving as emcee will be Luby Ismail, a leading authority and expert on cultural competence, religious diversity, Arab cultures, and Islamophobia. Local Middle Eastern American community businesses, nonprofits, artists, and vendors are invited to exhibit at this event free of charge, but no sales transactions are permitted. Please see flyer and visit this Eventbrite link to register. For more information, contact OCP's Middle Eastern Liaison.

Call for Volunteers

Volunteers are needed at the Middle Eastern American Heritage Month celebration. Learn more about the Middle Eastern American community and culture and gain hands-on experience organizing community events. Volunteers will receive certificates of recognition and student volunteers are eligible to receive SSL credits. Please contact the OCP’s Middle Eastern Liaison for more information.

The Holy Month of Ramadan

On March 21, County Executive Marc Elrich and County Council President Evan Glass will present a joint proclamation recognizing the holy month of Ramadan. Representatives of Montgomery County's rich and diverse community will gather to celebrate. If you are interested in attending this event, please contact OCP’s Middle Eastern Liaison by COB Friday, March 10.

Author Conversations

MEAAG and the Montgomery County Public Libraries will host the fourth series of free meet-the-author book talks from February-April 2023. All talks run from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. View flyer here.

  • February 7 (virtual) -- children’s author Reem Faruqi, Milloo’s Mind
  • March 7 (in-person at Rockville Memorial Library) -- Mojdeh Bahar, poet and translator, Milkvetch & Violets. Register here.
  • April 11 (virtual) -- Diana Abu Jabe, Fencing with the King. Register here.

All three books are available at, where you can choose to have sales benefit Friends of the Montgomery County Library (FOLMC).

Faith Community

March Holidays and Days of Interest

Purim, 3/6

Chotrul Duchen, 3/7

Holi (Hindu), 3/7

Norouz (Nowruz), 3/21

Kuan Yin (Avalokitesvara) Birthday, 3/21

Ugadi, 3/22

Ramadan: The Islamic Month of Fasting, 3/23

Khordad Sal, 3/26

Ram Navami (Hindu), 3/30

Upcoming Event

Montgomery County Resettlement Working Group will meet on March 21 at 7:00 pm. For more information, email [email protected].

February Activities

The Faith Community Advisory Group hosted a public meeting on February 13, which was open to the faith community of Montgomery County. Guests speakers from MCPS presented information about the anti-racism audit. View a recording here.

A House of Worship Security Training was held on February 15. Subscribe to Faith Community newsletters to learn more about this and other upcoming events.

Statement on incidents impacting Jewish and LGBTQ+ community

Click here.

Montgomery Sister Cities

Morazan Sister City

The Morazan Sister City comittee met with nonprofit and social development organizations from the Morazan region during February, and will be meeting with County Executive Marc Elrich in March. This will be the first meeting of the Sister City with the County Executive, and its focus is to follow up on his announcement in October that he would be traveling to El Salvador in 2024. More details on date and time can be shared via email by contacting Jessy Mejia Terry, Latino Liaison..