In This Issue:

Letter from our Executive Director

Important Dates


Black History



New Staff

Staff Promotions

Program Pictures

Golf Tournament Update

Community Updates

Disability News

Legislative Updates

Odds and Ends

A Message from our Executive Director

For this month, I want to highlight one word…LOVE. Love thy neighbor, love thyself, and love all that surrounds you. With February commemorating Black History Month and Valentine’s Day, I wanted to take a minute to reflect. Love by definition is “feeling a deep affection for something or someone.” I want to expand that definition by adding the word respect. True love is based in respect! Black history month is rooted in respect for those who had meaningful contributions to our nation’s history and a commitment to understanding our nation’s origins. From respect, comes understanding, tolerance, and compassion. Love and respect are indelibly linked in my mind. For love without respect is hollow, empty, meaningless. Love of diversity, of one another, of difference is one of the hallmarks of The Harford Center.  We love deeply at the Harford Center, and we value the unique and remarkable contributions of all our participants, staff, and community members. I hope that during the month of February this community can share its “love” with one another, can grow in its tolerance of differences, and spread its compassion to its community. The Harford Center celebrates its past, its present, and our future. Please join me in sharing the love, embracing our nation’s full history, and walking boldly into our future together. 

Black History is

American History

Every February, we celebrate Black History Month in the United States. We honor the accomplishments and the struggles of Black Americans. Hopefully, we take the time to reflect on our nation’s past and the systemic racism that still exists today. We recognize the ways in which Black Americans have shaped our society, and shine a spotlight on historical figures who have not always gotten the recognition they deserve. We recognize both how far we have come and the work we still need to do. Black History is American History. By learning about the past, we hope to achieve a diverse and equitable American future. 

Reminder: We will be closed on February 21 for President's Day!

Be Kind To Each Other!

Congratulations to Nashe Earl on being promoted to Executive Assistant! Nashe takes care of so much around the office! She provides administrative support to Sherry and the whole management team. She oversees all the office operations. So much goes into her job and she's always busy, but she's always willing to help anyone with anything. There's nothing she can't figure out! We really appreciate you, Nashe. We're all so happy for you! Congratulations!

Congratulations to Madison Ganovski on being promoted to Direct Support Professional II! Madison is the first person to receive this promotion under our new DSP career track. Her boss, Kelly, says "Madison's compassion for the people she supports is evident in her work, daily. She is a strong advocate of individuals' rights. Maddie has a very bright future ahead of her and I am honored to have her on my team at The Harford Center." Congratulations, Maddie!

Welcome our new HR Director, Cathy Colapietro! Cathy has a Master's Degree in Management and an extensive background in HR and accounting. We're very excited to have her join our team. Welcome, Cathy!

Golfers, Sponsors, and Volunteers Needed for our 2nd Annual Golf Tournament! Please visit our event page to learn more! We'd love to see you there!

We're Hiring!

We are looking for Direct Support ProfessionalsDSPs make a real difference in the lives of the people they support. You'll feel good about the work you do here. We offer competitive wages, a great benefits package, paid holidays, PTO, a Monday-Friday daytime schedule, and a generous sign on bonus! Click here to apply on our website or email Cathy at for more information.

Spring is just around the corner, but there's always a chance of surprise snow! Please take a minute to review our Inclement Weather Policy!

Fun & Games!

Harford County has produced some really interesting videos for Black History Month. Watch them here!

We're all hoping COVID will be over soon! In the meantime, click here for county metrics and testing info.

Please visit our Resources Page to find information about disabilities and community services.

Disability News Roundup

  • Facebook is launching disability avatars in the hopes of promoting a more inclusive online culture.
  • According to US News and World Report, nearly 3 in 10 adult Americans now self-identify as having a disability. This represents a 1% increase since 2016.
  • Another study by US News and World Report finds that 36% of doctors in the United States are not aware of their legal obligations when treating patients with disabilities, and a staggering 70% do not know who is supposed to determine reasonable accommodations.
  • Troy Kotsur made history this year as the first deaf actor to be nominated for an acting oscar. He is nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role in the movie CODA.

Legislative Updates

  • Maryland House Bill 226, which would require special education classrooms in public schools to be monitored by video, is currently being reviewed by the Ways and Means Committee.
  • Maryland House Bills 103 and 224, which would grant property tax credits and exemptions to certain disabled veterans, are currently being reviewed by the Ways and Means Committee.
  • House Bill 78, which would require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for otherwise qualified employees with disabilities so long as doing so would not pose a financial hardship or give preferential treatment to the candidate with a disability, is being reviewed by the Economic Matters Committee.
  • House Bill 221, which would allow people in the Healing Hunting and Fishing Program (primarily disabled veterans) to receive no-cost hunting and fishing licenses, is being reviewed by the Environment and Transportation Committee.
  • House Bill 80, which would change the Home and Community Based Services Community Options Waiver Cap, is currently in the House Health and Government Operations Committee.
  • Senate Bill 93, which would increase the tax credits for employers who hire people with disabilties, has passed the MD State Senate.
  • Senate Bill 235, which would allow a $1,000 personal exemption on Maryland taxes for individuals with permanent physical disability, is being reviewed by the Budget and Taxation Committee.
  • House Bill 529, which authorizes supported decision making for adults in certain situations, and oftentimes prevents the need for guardianships, is being reviewed by the House Judiciary Committee.
  • Senate Bill 636, which requires the Health Department to reduce the waitlist for Waiver programs, is being reviewed by the Budget and Taxation Committee.
  • House Bill 161, which alters the definition of "undue influence" to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable adults, is being reviewed by the Judiciary Committee.

Black History Month Spotlight

These Amazing People Are

Making History Today and

Getting Things Done For

The Disability Community!

Claudia L. Gordan

Claudia Gordan was the first deaf African American female attorney in the United States. She is currently the Vice President of National Black Deaf Advocates, and she works in the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. National Black Deaf Advocates provides scholarships, fights for civil rights and access, and runs the Miss Black Deaf America Pageant. Find out more about the organization here.

Ola Ojewumi

Ola Ojewumi has had two organ

transplants and has founded two nonprofits, the Sacred Hearts Children’s Transplant Foundation and Project ASCEND. She sells fashionable disability pride clothes in her Truth Boutique, where she also posts amazing videos like this one. Ola is a professional public speaker, and she frequently appears on Democracy Now to fight for the rights of people with disabilities, people of color, and women. Find out more about Project Ascend here, and find out more about the Sacred Hearts Children's Transplant Foundation here.

Crystal R. Emery

Crystal Emery is a writer, producer, and filmmaker whose works include the books "Against All Odds: Black Women in Medicine" and "Master Builders of the Modern World: Reimagining the Face of STEM." She has been named one of Good Housekeeping's "50 Over 50: Women Who Are Changing the World," and she is the founder of the nonprofit organization URU: The Right To be, which produces content that addresses social issues. As a black woman with quadriplegia, she is interested in making sure that diverse stories are told. Learn more about her and her organization here.

Haben Girma

Haben Girma was the first deafblind person to ever graduate from Harvard Law School, and she is currently a human rights lawyer for disability justice. She advocates for inclusion in education and entertainment. She frequently speaks about the value of representing people with disabilities as fully realized human beings rather than one-dimensional characters. She also discourages the thinking that successful people with disabilities "overcame" their disabilities, stressing that the barriers she has had to overcome have not existed inside of her body, but in the world around her where access is still limited in so many places. With proper access, people who have disabilities do not have to "overcome" anything. Learn more about her here.

While you're here, please see the Museum of Disability's Timeline of Disability and the African American Experience here.

The Verdict Is...

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