“Our Diverse County” explores MoCo demographics and implications for voting
About 50 people attended a discussion on Wednesday, November 8, featuring Hamza Khan, co-lead of DoTheMostGood’s Immigration/Civil Liberties Team and co-founder of the Muslim Democratic Club, and Debora Tshiovo, vice president of the new African Immigrant Democratic Club. The slides from that presentation are posted here. Our Diverse County Slides
- Do The Most Good was active along with many other resistance groups in supporting the Maryland Trust Act. While the bill was eventually withdrawn under veto threat from Hogan, it served to energize local activists to pursue similar legislation at the county and city level.
- Organized in response to the presence of hate groups in Montgomery County, such as “Help Save Maryland.” We protested at Rockville City Hall and the Montgomery County School Board meetings.
- Attended Rockville City Council meetings and testified in support of the Fostering Community Trust Ordinance.
- Phoned Maryland legislators and traveled to Annapolis in support of the Maryland Law Enforcement and Governmental Trust Act.
- Partnered with the local ACLU to distribute multilingual “Know Your Rights Information” to vulnerable communities via ESOL classes, schools, and other social agencies.
- Participated in the Day Without Immigrants/Worker’s March on May 1.
A few notes about Rockville’s June City Council Meeting
Bravo! On June 19th, Rockville City Council voted 3 to 2 in favor of the Fostering Community Trust Ordinance. The meeting was quite contentious at times, especially among council members. At the last minute, Councilwoman Feinberg made a motion to establish a “policy” rather than pass a law. She argued that the ordinance is both unnecessary and unenforceable. She claimed it would limit “flexibility” of the police. Both she and the mayor proposed that the “policy” be created by the Rockville police department to monitor their behavior regarding immigrants. A very clever and knowledgeable Virginia Onley seconded Ms. Feinberg’s motion to change the proposed Trust amendment to a “policy” constructed by the police department. Who says Robert’s Rules are useless? Without Onley’s second there would have been no discussion of Feinberg’s proposal, just a vote on it. It would not have passed, but here’s the clincher: the public would not have learned the consequences of a yea vote. Essentially, the motion proposed an abdication of council’s responsibility for immigration policy to the police department. It would not have addressed other sections of the amendment which addressed city employment or the use of city services by immigrants.
Mark Perzchala eloquently addressed why this de facto policy needed to be made law (de jure). He also questioned the timeliness of Ms. Feinberg’s motion. The proposed ordinance has been on the table since March, why wait until now to make such a proposal?
There was evidence in the audience as to why this ordinance needed to pass and why a de facto policy is not good enough. A number of associates of Help Save Maryland and FAIR spoke against the ordinance, using questionable stats and misinformation. One of that group recently traveled with Council on their exchange trip to Germany. Rumor has it that she might be running for county office! One speaker actually proposed that we become a 287g city! Another of the FAIR speakers was a high level executive in that organization. Yet another was a high school teacher. So we know that these folks are in positions where they could(and probably would) question or reveal an immigrant’s status.
Thanks to all who helped make this a positive outcome with your calls, emails, meetings and speeches. You did the most good!
What to Watch For:
- Plans for outreach to the many diverse communities that make up our county
- Action Alerts to contact both federal and state legislators about related issues as they arise or to join an organized protest.
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