"A More Equitable and Inclusive Montgomery County"

County Executive Marc Elrich

November 2, 2023

Volume 183

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center

Immigration, Citizenship, and Legal Services

Advisory Group Meetings

Volunteer Center

African Community

Asian Pacific American


Caribbean American Community

Latin American Community

Middle Eastern Community

Faith Community

LGBTQ+ 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.

Security Grants to Nonprofit Organizations at High Risk of Experiencing Hate Crimes 

The Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS) announced that the County is making a $900,000 commitment to help protect nonprofit organizations that have experienced or are at high risk of experiencing hate crimes. OEMHS will administer the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) Nonprofit Security Grant that organizations can use to help reduce security expenses. Deadline: November 10. Click here for details.

FEMA Non-Profit Security Grant Webinars

FEMA’s Grant Programs Directorate invites interested organizations to attend upcoming webinars regarding the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). The NSGP is a competitive grant awarded to nonprofit organizations at high risk of a terrorist or other extremist attack for the purposes of facility hardening and other security enhancements. Click here for details.

Veterans Day - November 11

Veterans Day ceremonies will be held at several locations throughout the County. Click here for information.

Applicants Sought for Silver Spring Urban District Advisory Committee

County Executive Marc Elrich is seeking applicants to fill four vacancies on the Silver Spring Urban District Advisory Committee for one resident of the urban district and three representatives of small businesses that employ fewer than 25 employees. Click here for details.

Community Conversations

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, along with the County's regional services offices and community partners, will host 10 Community Conversations from September through December to seek input on the Fiscal Year 2025 Operating Budget. Click here for more information.

Resource Fair for Teens and Adults with Disabilities and Their Families

The Montgomery County Transition Work Group is sponsoring a Road to Independence Resource Fair for people with disabilities and their families from 1 p.m. to

4 p.m. on Sunday, November 5, at College Living Experience (CLE), 401 N. Washington St. , Rockville, MD. More information can be found here.

Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Open Enrollment

VAS (Vietnamese American Service) is an authorized enrollment site for Maryland Health Connection and provides free healthcare enrollment and consultation. Open Enrollment Dates: November 1, 2023 to December 15, 2023. Call VAS at 301-646-5852.

Gaithersburg Holiday Giving Program

The City of Gaithersburg and the Gaithersburg Holiday Giving Coalition be serving families referred by school and nonprofit counselors through their Holiday Giving program. Want to help? READ MORE.

Free Hearing Aids

Montgomery County has partnered with Access HEARS to offer FREE hearing aids to eligible seniors. If you're 60+, check eligibility here.

Grant Opportunity

The Chesapeake Bay Trust in partnership with the Montgomery County Government, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announces the Clean Water Montgomery Grant Program, an opportunity to support watershed restoration and outreach projects and programs throughout the County! View the full funding opportunity details here.

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.

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 flyer in English and Spanish, as well as a postcard and bilingual handout.

Intro to Homebuying

Ready to buy your first home in Maryland? Please register to take this class by filling out the intake form at the following link. Sponsored by the Latino Economic Development Center.

Free Webinars

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

Lifelong Learning Courses

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

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.

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center

Classes in Full Swing - Students Share Citizenship Experiences

At the first session of the citizenship preparation class this fall, a few former students who recently obtained US citizenship shared their experiences with the citizenship interview. The class heard different perspectives and learned how the experiences varied among students.

This past summer, 11 students out of 20 (55%) in the Tuesday morning class passed their citizenship test before the session even ended!

Information and Referral Services

The Center's Information and Referral program serves hundreds of Montgomery County immigrants every month. The service is available by phone at 240-777-4940 or in person at each site. The impact of referrals is significant on County residents. Among the types of referrals made this month, staff helped a resident resolve an issue with utility shutoff; assisted a person in finding legal support for a dispute with their landlord; and made several referrals to the Gilchrist Center's in-house Health and Human Services Navigator, who assists with access to public benefits. 

For more information about classes and information and referral service, please visit

Immigration, Citizenship, and Legal Services

November 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 see 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.

TPS for Cameroon and TPS Venezuela Cases

CASA is accepting TPS for Cameroon and Venezuela cases. Interested applicants can register through these links:



Free Citizenship Application Consultations by APALRC

The Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center (APALRC) will hold in-person appointments for those seeking assistance 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 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month. Click here for details.

Assistance is available in many languages ​​including Chinese, Korean, and Urdu. You must be a legal 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, asylum seekers, and others 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 a.m. and 3 p.m. Interpreters are available. Walk-ins are not accepted.

Montgomery College Free Citizenship Preparation Program

Are you a legal, permanent resident preparing for the US 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 in-person orientation sessions:

  • Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 6 p.m., Rockville Campus Mannakee Building (MK), Room 103
  • Saturday, November 18, 2023 at 9:00 a.m., Rockville Campus Mannakee Building (MK), Room 103

Classes will run for 10 weeks from January to March. For more details, please email

[email protected] or click here .

Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA)

MCASA is a federally recognized state sexual assault coalition and is responsible for certifying comprehensive rape crisis/sexual assault programs to ensure services are survivor-centered. MCASA includes the Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI), which provides direct legal services to survivors of all ages across the state of Maryland. For further information, please call (301) 565- 2277 or visit the website.

University of Maryland Safe Center

The University of Maryland SUPPORT, ADVOCACY, FREEDOM, AND EMPOWERMENT (SAFE) Center for Human Trafficking Survivors provides survivor-centered and trauma-informed services that empower trafficking survivors to heal and reclaim their lives.

KIND Trainings

Quick Topics Training - Advanced Topics in State Court/Q + A 

12 p.m.-1 p.m., Wednesday, November 8, 2023,

Please register by Friday, November 3, 2023, by clicking here

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 Community Advisory Groups

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

African Affairs Advisory Group will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 9. For more information please email [email protected] .

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

Asian Pacific American Advisory Group will not meet in November. If you have any questions, please email Mr. Yi Shen at [email protected].

Caribbean American Advisory Group will meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 7. To attend the meeting, please contact Rodrigue Vital, Caribbean American Liaison, at [email protected].

Faith Advisory Group will meet from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, November 20. This meeting will focus on budget concerns for the faith community in Montgomery County and will be virtual. The event is open to the public. Click here for the Zoom link.

Latin American Advisory Group will be hosting a Meet-and-Greet in late November. More information is in the LAAG section below. For other details, please contact Jessy Mejia Terry, Latino Liaison, at [email protected].

LGBTQ Advisory Group will meet from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m on Monday, November 20. Please contact Amena Johnson at [email protected].

Middle Eastern American Advisory Group meets from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m on the fourth Wednesday of each month. If you are interested in attending the meeting, please contact the Middle Eastern Liaison for more information.

Volunteer Center

Coming Soon: MLK Day of Service

Save the date! On Monday, January 15, 2024 the Montgomery County Volunteer Center invites you to celebrate the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by serving others. The Volunteer Center's annual service event will be held at the North Bethesda Marriott, In partnership, several local non-profit organizations will conduct service events in Silver Spring, Rockville, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Damascus, North Potomac. Advance registration will be required. Sign up here to receive updates on MLK Day of Service!

Holiday Giving

With Thanksgiving and the winter holidays quickly approaching, many local non-profits are collecting holiday meals and gifts to help more than 10,000 families through the Holiday Giving Project. You can help with these efforts and make a family's holiday brighter by donating food, gift cards, goods, and funds to one of the project's partner organizations. To learn more about donation drives and opportunities to volunteer, visit the Volunteer Center’s online list of “holiday needs” related opportunities. This listing updates daily, so check back to find more opportunities as they become available. For more opportunities to help families during the holiday season, visit the Holiday Giving and Donations page for information on how to contact a Holiday Giving Project partner organization directly.

African Community

Amharic FY2025 Budget Forum

Montgomery County hosted its inaugural Amharic Budget Forum as a significant step towards enhancing language accessibility and promoting equity among the County's diverse residents. The forum was held on October 18 in Downtown Silver Spring at Montgomery College Takoma Park, where a substantial Amharic-speaking community resides. The primary aim of these forums is to solicit input from residents regarding their priorities for fiscal year 2025.

The African Affairs Advisory Group serves as the liaison between the African communities in Montgomery County and the Montgomery County government. The purpose of the advisory group is to ensure that the County is well-informed and able to act effectively to respond to the needs and concerns of African immigrants living and/or working in Montgomery County, Maryland. For more information please click here.

To learn more please visit:

Facebook: @Africanaag

Instagram: @Africanaag

Twitter: @Africanaag

YouTube: AAAG Channel

Asian Pacific American Community

October Events

The Newah Organization of America celebrated the 11th Yenya Punhi (Indra Jatra) at Black Hill Regional Park in October. Hundreds of Nepali community members celebrated together. To learn more about the Yenya Punhi (Indra Jatra) celebration, please click here.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) held a launch of their 2023 AAPI Programing with Asian community members at Q by Peter Chang in Bethesda. The BSO performs a wide variety of programs at the Music Center at Strathmore. To learn more about the BSO and its calendar of events, please click here.

Latin American Community

Meet-and-Greet Invitation Coming Soon

The Latin American Advisory Group will hold a Meet-and-Greet, tentatively scheduled for the last week of November at the County Executive Office Building. The event aims to foster connections among community partners, Montgomery County elected officials, and representatives from Latin American consulates to better serve newcomers. An invitation will follow. For more information, please contact Jessy Mejia Terry, [email protected]

Community Conversation

The Latin American Advisory Group is planning its next Community Conversation for January 2024, focusing on public safety, fentanyl use, and missing children in the County. LAAG will invite critical stakeholders, such as HHS, MCPD, Regional Service Offices, and others. For more information, please contact Jessy Mejia Terry,

Middle Eastern American Community

Meeting Updates

The Middle Eastern American Advisory Group met on September 27 via Zoom. The guest speaker, Gilberto Zelaya, Ph.D., Community Engagement/Public Relations Officer, Montgomery County Board of Elections, discussed voter registration and launched MEAAG's Voter Education Initiative for 2023-2024 in partnership with the Board of Elections.

The MEAAG meeting on October 25 featured guest speaker Lobna Ismail, founder and president of Connecting Cultures. Ms. Ismail spoke about reducing tensions, breaking barriers, and building relations across cultures. For more information, please contact the Middle Eastern Liaison

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich met with representatives of Middle Eastern and Arab Americans in Montgomery County on October 18 to hear their concerns about the implications of recent developments in the Middle East on Montgomery County residents. As a follow-up, MEAAG organized a community conversation on October 31 with the Montgomery County Police Department about local safety and security. The Office of Community Partnerships (OCP) presented information about security grants to nonprofit organizations at high risk of experiencing hate crimes and the anti-hate task force’s mission and agenda.

Author Conversations

MEAAG and the Montgomery County Public Libraries' virtual branch will be launching its new series of free meet-the-author book talks. More information will be announced soon. If you are interested in participating in these conversations, please contact MEAAG member Karen Leggett.

Voter Education Initiative

In partnership with the Montgomery County Board of Elections, MEAAG launched its Voter Education Initiative (VEI) in September. As part of this initiative, the Board of Elections will staff a resource table during the Resource Fair for Youth and Adults with Disabilities and Their Families.

The Montgomery County Transition Working Group will organize and host this free event from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 5, at 401 N Washington Street, Rockville. For more information, please contact MEAAG member Karen Leggett.

Middle Eastern American and Arab American Heritage Months Celebrations

OCP will organize two celebrations in March and April 2024 to celebrate Middle Eastern American and Arab American Heritage months. Local Middle Eastern American and Arab American community businesses, nonprofits, artists, and vendors are invited to exhibit free of charge, but no sales transactions are permitted. Please contact OCP’s Middle Eastern Liaison for more information.

If you are interested in volunteering, learning more about the amazing Middle Eastern American and Arab American community and culture, and gaining hands-on experience in organizing community events, please contact the OCP’s Middle Eastern Liaison. Volunteers will receive certificates of recognition and student volunteers are eligible to receive SSL credits.

Volunteer and Earn SSL Hours

Are you interested in making a difference in seniors' lives? The American Muslim Senior Society (AMSS) needs your help with food delivery, packaging, and pick-up. Please contact AMSS at 301-335-9961 or email [email protected]

Faith Community

November Holidays and Days of Interest

All Saints Day, 11/1 | Lhabab Duchen (Tibetan), 11/4 | Veterans' Day, 11/11 | Bandi Chhor Divas, 11/12 | Diwali, 11/12 | Indian New Year, 11/13 | Gurgaddi Guru Granth Sahib, 11/15

Gyan Panchami, 11/18 | Thanksgiving Day, 11/23 | American Indian Heritage Day, 11/24

Birth of Guru Nanak Dev ji, 11/27


Upcoming Events

The Office of Community Partnerships and the Upcounty Regional Service Center are hosting an event from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 7, to connect faith and community leaders to local resources available in the County and hear their concerns. The meeting will feature speakers from a few County departments and will allow time for attendees to share their own experiences. We will provide light food. Space is limited to 60 attendees, so only one individual per house of worship or organization, please. Register here.

The Religious Land Use Working Group will meet at 2 p.m. on November 22. For more information, email [email protected].

The Resettlement Working Group will meet at 7 p.m. on November 22. For more information, email [email protected].


House of Worship Security Training: OEMHS and the Montgomery County Police Department continue to provide support with security to organizations that indicate a need for assistance. The County provides classes, assessments and training sessions specially designed for nonprofit and faith-based facilities. The next training will be in Germantown at 7 p.m. on November 29. Register here. At any time, you may also request a walk-through of your house of worship or non-profit to get advice on securing the facility by contacting police or emailing [email protected].

October Activities

Please click here to view.

Addressing Hate Crimes

We have seen an increase in hate crimes in our community targeting Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, and other communities. We will not stand for hate in Montgomery County and remain dedicated to finding ways to support our diverse communities during this challenging time.

This video shares a message from the County Executive following conversations he has had with Jewish, Muslim and Christian members of our County who are mourning the loss of loved ones abroad as well as those impacted by hate here at home.

The video also shares an announcement from the County Executive regarding an expedited $311,700 in Nonprofit Security Grant funding to Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Zoroastrian communities in Montgomery County to enhance security measures. Since the outbreak of violence in Israel and Gaza, concern has risen that these communities have been, or will be, threatened by violence and other crimes motivated by hate and bias. These awards will provide immediate assistance to the organizations that are receiving funding to invest in various security measures to protect their communities and facilities. Learn more here.

LGBTQ+ Community

The 2023 LGBTQ+ Survey Report is available at Watch a conversation about the survey results on Montgomery Municipal Cable by clicking the image below.