Volume 171 | October 10, 2022

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

Citizen Preparation Classes

It's not too late to register for Citizenship Preparation classes! Fall classes run for 10 weeks and help students understand the citizenship application process and prepare for the naturalization test. Classes are free! For more details and to register, check out the Gilchrist Center website.

Working with Partners

On September 17, the Maryland Pro-Bono Resource Center ran a legal clinic at the Gilchrist Center's Wheaton site for the second time this year. Individuals and families received legal advice to prepare for immigration court.

Montgomery College Community Engagement Office has resumed its operations for in-person assistance every Wednesday from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Gilchrist Center's Gaithersburg site. See details here.

The Montgomery County Bar Association has resumed in-person legal consultations at the Gilchrist Center in Wheaton (2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month) and in Gaithersburg (1st and 3rd Thursday of the month). No appointments necessary. Click here for more details.

The Gaithersburg site is hosting Chrome Essentials in-person computer classes for older adults. The five week course is offered by Senior Planet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting on October 10. Check out flyer for details.

For a comprehensive list of programs offered at the Gilchrist Center, and to find out where to get help in the county, visit our new website. You may also visit in person at any location or call 240-777-4940.

Volunteer Center

Support Relief Efforts

Vol Center Heart

Check out emergency response volunteer opportunities including those where you can help residents experiencing food insecurity. 

Find organizations on the Volunteer Center website with the cause disaster response and click on the links to "fan" those organizations. You'll get emails when they post new opportunities.  

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 flyer.

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 Yesenia@BarFoundationMC.org.

Special Immigration Juvenile Status (SIJ) is avilable 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 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. 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 citizenshipprogram@montgomerycollege.edu 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

Quick Topics Training - Screening for Other Forms of Relief 

Wednesday, October 12, 2022, Noon -1:00 pm

Click here for information and registration.

Introductory Training - Representing Children in Immigration Matters  

Thursday, October 20, 9:00 -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 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 monthly in-person meetings are scheduled to resume on October 13 and every second Thursday going forward. Meetings will be held at 1 Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring MD. For more information please email Harrieta.Shangarai@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Asian Pacific American Advisory Group will not meet in October and will reconvene in November. If you have any questions, please email Mr. Yi Shen at yi.shen@montgomerycountymd.gov

Caribbean American Advisory Group will meet virtually on Tuesday, October 4 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. The County Executive has been invited to attend. For information about CAAG or to attend the monthly meetings, please contact Rodrigue Vital, Caribbean American Liaison, at Rodrigue.vital@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Faith Community Advisory Group will meet on October 17 at 6:00 pm. For more information, email Faith Liaison Kate Chance at interfaith@montgomerycountymd.gov.

LGBTQ Advisory Group will meet on October 10 from 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm. The meeting will be held on Zoom. For more information, please contact amena.johnson@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Middle Eastern American Advisory Group will meet via Zoom (date TBD). Please contact the OCP Middle Eastern American Community Liaison for more information.

African Community

Advisory Group Celebrates African Heritage Month

The African Affairs Advisory Group celebrated the 14th Proclamation of African Heritage Month and transitioned its leadership for 2022-2023. 

Pan African Festival

The 11th Pan African Festival (PANAFEST) was held on September 24 in Silver Spring. PANAFEST-USA celebrates African heritage and showcases the cultures of area residents of African descent. The event was organized by a coalition of area African diaspora communities led by the All Cameroonian Cultural and Development Foundation, Inc. (ACCDF) in partnership with the African Affairs Advisory Group of Montgomery County (AAAG).

This year marked the 11th Pan-African festival and the very first since the COVID pandemic began. The festival was headlined by international recording Artist BM from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

African American Community

Building Bonds of Unity

The Montgomery County Black Collective will present a free networking event on Wednesday, October 12 at 6:30 pm at the Brigadier General Charles McGee Library, 900 Wayne Avenue, Silver Spring. Click here for flyer and registration.

Trade Festival

On September 18, The People's Community Baptist Church hosted a trade festival. The free event was held on the church grounds and featured business vendors, food and music. Click here to view photos.

Asian Pacific American Community

Updates and Upcoming Events

County Executive Marc Elrich attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the JSS Hindu Temple in Gaithersburg. See photo at left.

The Coordination Council of Chinese American Associations (CCCAA) celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival with its member groups at Northwest High School on September 10. View photo here.

The Vietnamese American Services (VAS) celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival on September 11 with an outdoor festival. View photos here.     

October is Filipino American History Month. View the Montgomery County Executive's Proclamation here. To learn more about Filipino American history, please visit https://nationaltoday.com/filipino-american-history-month/.

The Chinese Culture and Community Services Center (CCACC) is holding its 8th Asian American Career Fair on October 11 from 12:30 to 5:30 pm. For more information, please

click here.

Caribbean American Community

Town Hall Forum to Focus on Monkeypox

Caribbean American Liaison, African Liaison, and African American Liaison have joined with representives from the Department of Health and Human Services, the County Executive's Office, and the Office of Public Information to coordinate a virtual Town Hall forum on monkeypox and its impact on the county’s Black community. The forum will address hesitancy and delays by Black county residents to get vaccinated against the virus. The townhall is scheduled for October 10 at 6:00 pm.

International Creole Day

October 28 is recognized by UNESCO as international Creole Day. Virtual and in-person celebrations are slated for October 26 through October 28. The County Executive will provide a recorded message to acknowledge the date and issue a citation to the county-based organization KOMALAK, which is organizing the three day celebration.

LQBTQ Community

LGBTQ+ Youth Town Hall in Spanish

EveryMind will host a town hall on October 4. The theme is "Providing Health Support Systems to Latino LGBTQ+ Youth." Click here to view details.

Middle Eastern American Community

Affordable Housing Meeting

MEAAG’s meeting on September 20th featured guest speaker Somer Cross, Manager of the County’s Affordable Housing Programs Section, Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA). Ms. Cross presented an overview of affordable rental housing programs and assistance for first-time/moderate income home-buyers. Record high attendance and insightful dialogue from stakeholders at the meeting reflects the demand for these programs and MEAAG will continue holding public meetings on the issue.

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. We have already engaged the translator of a volume of Persian poetry. Please contact the OCP’s Middle Eastern Liaison with your recommendations.

Faith Community

October Holidays and Days of Interest

Durga Ashtami, October 2 | Mehergan, October 2 | Yom Kippur, October 4-5 | Dussehra/Vijaya Dashamer i, October 4 | Mawlid al-Nabi, October 8 | Sukkot, October 9-16 | Pavarana, October 9 | Kathina, October 9-November 8 | Indigenous People's Day, October 10 | Simchat Torah, October 17-18 | Diwali, October 24 | Bandi Chhor Divas, October 24 | Birth of the Báb, October 26-27 | Birth of Bahá'u'lláh, October 27-28

Months of Celebration

National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) | Filipino American History Month | Italian-American Heritage and Culture Month | LGBT History |

Polish American History Month | German American Heritage Month

Upcoming Events

October 7-10 -- National Faith & Blue Weekend (Faith & Blue) is an annual event that consists of thousands of locally-planned activities that take place in all fifty states.Law enforcement and faith-based organizations collaborate in organizing activities. Read more.

October 11, 7:00 pm -- The Faith Community Advisory Group will host a Zoom event with Housing Initiative Partnership, Inc. to learn more about ways the faith community can support affordable housing efforts. Register in advance here.

October 16 -- Our partners will join us at the JCC with their volunteer teams to help build children's playhouses to be placed in the yards of local Habitat for Humanity Maryland (H4HM) homeowners. Learn more.

October 25, 7:00 pm -- The Faith Community Advisory Group will host a virtual Town Hall with Silver Spring Village. Register in advance here.

October 25, 9:00 am - 11:00 am -- Reception for Faith Leaders at the Glenstone Museum in honor of the 2nd Century Project. Click here for details.

October 26, 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, kate.chance@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Several virtual information sessions will be held to share information about the County's Nonprofit Security Grants. Information sessions on eligibility and how to apply for the program will be offered via a virtual platform on:

  1. Monday, October 3. 7:00 pm. Register here.
  2. Wednesday, October 19, 1:00 pm. Register here.
  3. Monday, October 24, 7:00 pm. Register here.

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 interfaith@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Activity Updates

September was a busy month for the Faith Community. To see what's been going on, click here.

Montgomery Sister Cities

Humanitiarian Walk in Silence

Join Montgomery Sister Cities at the Humanitarian Walk in Silence to highlight the need for humanity to come together as ONE. Sunday, October 23, 8:00 am, Veterans Plaza in Silver Spring. Click here for flyer.

Sister Cities Montgomery/Morazan Dinner Dance

Friday, October 14, 6:30 pm to midnight at the Civic Building at Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring. Click here for more information.

News & Events Around the Region
Click Links for Details

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.

Are you interested in learning how to be an advocate for your community? Apply today to the Community Advocacy Institute (CAI), a program that includes monthly workshops featuring guest speakers, activities to practice advocacy skills, and networking opportunities. Applicants must be Montgomery County residents with a combined household income of $60,000 or less. This is a bilingual program in English and Spanish. Click here for flyer.

Montgomery County Community Food Rescue FY23 Mini-Grants are back! Click here for more information and 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.

GROW Awardee Spotlight: Mia’s Mom Daycare

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.

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