Last Thursday, hundreds of faith based community residents attended a rally at Bethel World Outreach Church in Olney. The purpose of this meeting was to secure commitments from Montgomery County government officials for equity in education, immigration, and affordable housing. I was impressed by the great energy in the room and the wonderful music provided by the Bethel World Outreach Choir.
In attendance was Marc Elrich, County Executive, and County Councilmembers Evan Glass, Hans Riemer, Will Jawando, Sidney Katz and Gabe Albornoz.
Bishop Darlingston Johnson, Pastor of Bethel World Outreach Church welcomed everyone to the church followed by an opening prayer by Pastor Haywood Robinson III, Peoples Community Baptist Church.
There were several questions for elected officials in attendance:
- Will you (county officials) commit to expand the Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary program, including parent leadership training, to at least two additional schools this year? All confirmed their support for education.
- Will you commit to funding school construction for South Lake and Burnt Mils in the FY 2020 Capital Budget? All confirmed their support for more school funding.
- Will you sustain or increase the $370,000 in grants to fund legal services for residents at-risk of deportation or in deportation proceedings during FY 2020? The County Executive plans to increase grant funding in the FY 2020 budget and councilmembers voiced their support.
- In the next two weeks, will you send AIM a list of 5 partners with whom we can jointly meet to ask for additional funding? All confirmed their support.
- County Executive Elrich has committed to write a letter to the WMATA Board (Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Area), asking them to halt the sale or lease of WMATA land in Montgomery County until they meet with AIM and our elected officials to prioritize affordable housing on this land. All agreed to support this strategy.
- County Executive Elrich, we are asking you tonight to use your power to identify 3-5 parcels of public land for affordable housing development in the next 3 months, and to start the process of developing them by the end of the calendar year. County Executive Elrich said he thinks he could identify 3-5 parcels of land for affordable housing development.
This session was followed by a Call to Action by Pastor Charles Tapp, Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church
The closing prayer was led by Pastor Chris Posch, St. Camillus Catholic Church.
For more information about AIM click here