The Glass Gazette: July 2020

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July 2020

Supporting Local Artists During Covid

At a time when cultural and civic expression is truly needed to heal and unite our community and our nation, I was proud to spearhead a special appropriation of $3.25 million to support creative professionals and arts and humanities organizations that have been financially impacted by the covid crisis. 

In addition to this $3.25 million arts and humanities appropriation, which I co-led with my colleague, Councilmember Craig Rice, my colleagues and I also approved $14 million in reopening grants for small businesses. The arts industry is the second most economically impacted sector, and we need to do everything we can to ensure its financial stability.

As a former arts nonprofit executive director, I understand both the economic and cultural value of the arts and humanities. The arts sector is a vibrant part of Montgomery County’s economic engine and it is important that we provide support during this pandemic so that they are ready to turn their lights on and raise their curtains when it is safe to reopen.


Equality for LGBTQ+ Seniors

On the heels of the Supreme Court’s ruling that protects LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace, the reality is that additional protections are still necessary for members of the community in other aspects of society. To address that need, I introduced the “LGBTQ Bill of Rights,” which would broaden and strengthen Montgomery County’s legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer residents. The legislation would expand Montgomery County’s anti-discrimination code to include gender expression, HIV status, and also explicitly ban LGBTQ+ discrimination in healthcare facilities, nursing homes and personal care facilities.   

Half of all people living with HIV are over the age of 50 and because Montgomery County’s senior population is projected to constitute 21% of county residents by 2040, the need for protecting access to healthcare is particularly acute for our LGBTQ+ seniors. The LGBTQ Bill of Rights is cosponsored by all members of the Council and once enacted will be the first such law in Maryland and the region. 

You can read more about the legislation here. 


Housing for All

I led the Health and Human Services Committee to receive an update on strategies to end and prevent homelessness in Montgomery County -- where over 50% of our residents experiencing homelessness are Black men, women and families. 

The county’s goal is to make homelessness rare, brief, and one-time only –– work that does not take a break during this pandemic. In fact, it is more critical than ever to move both sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness into safe and stable housing. We need to focus our efforts on maintaining a healthy environment for people while they are in shelter, on moving people into permanent stable housing, and on preventing evictions for people who are currently housed but have not been able to pay their rent because of the health and economic crisis. 

I am committed to working with our non-profit organizations, health and human services and the broader community towards reducing the barriers to housing.


Food In Your Community

I recently joined Shepherd’s Table and CASA to serve freshly cooked meals to residents in Aspen Hill who are experiencing food insecurity. Shepherd’s Table, headquartered at Progress Place in Silver Spring, recognized the need to bring food into the communities where people are particularly challenged by the economic downturn, and are unsure of where or when they will receive their next meal. I am partnering with these organizations to test-pilot this new initiative which provides hot, wholesome meals to over 200 people, three times a week in the Aspen Hill area.

“Beyond The Table” is an exciting partnership that we hope to expand throughout Montgomery County. If you are experiencing food insecurity or would like to help those who are, I encourage you to contact my office


Making Neighborhoods Brighter

With the ongoing pandemic, our constituent casework has been focused on helping Montgomery County residents with big issues -- from rental assistance to business grants -- so it’s easy to lose sight of the small issues that affect daily life. My office recently worked with the Montgomery County Department of Transportation to quickly repair a streetlight, making some neighbors’ lives just a little bit brighter. 

If you have an issue that needs fixing or help cutting through some red tape, don’t hesitate to contact me and ask for assistance.


Did You Know?

Montgomery County Public Libraries’ “Summer Read and Learn Program” for children and teens offers kids and teens a chance to fill their summer with great books and fun activities. Read books, do fun learning activities, and attend virtual events all summer long. You'll earn badges and prizes and enjoy fun raffles.