This year has been tumultuous, as the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. Even with the turbulence of this year, MCYD forged on. We had monthly meetings where we invited legislators, local activists, and community organizers to provide important information on the pandemic to our community. We helped those in need by providing direct aid and volunteering our time. We advocated for police reform, saying no to question B, and testified at the Montgomery County Council’s budget hearing. We couldn’t have done it without the tireless work of our Executive Board, members, and allies.
We began the year with legislative advocacy and the welcoming of our new Executive Board. During the 2020 legislative session, MCYD advocated for the following issues:
Urging the enactment of major reforms and spending on education to help students and boost Maryland’s future, following the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission. These included funds for school construction and help for low income students.
Preventing local law enforcement from cooperating with ICE, and so protecting undocumented immigrants who have committed no crime from being imprisoned or deported.
Protecting Marylanders from unfair medical debt and aggressive collections from hospitals.
Establishing a paid family leave program that would provide up to twelve weeks of leave for workers to care for their children or loved ones, or to recover from an illness.
Protecting renters’ rights and ensuring that they cannot be evicted from their homes without just cause.
Reducing climate change and carbon emissions by establishing a fee on pollution and encouraging the transition to clean energy.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, MCYD retooled and adapted, going virtual and educating ourselves about the virus. We heard from County officials and legislators about how to keep ourselves and others safe, the importance of wearing masks and physical distancing, and resources that are available to people who lost their jobs and are struggling to pay bills.
MCYD took the following actions:
We made two $500 donations: one to CASA for their providing groceries to low wage workers and undocumented immigrants, and the other donation to the Center for Urban Families in Baltimore, which works to empower families and give them skills, and to reduce poverty.
Publicized government services, nonprofits, and assistance for people impacted by the pandemic. We also urged people to donate and help out if they can.
Encouraged safe participation by communities in the 2020 U.S. Census, to ensure everyone was counted in order to guarantee adequate funding for education and other social services.
Volunteered with food distribution and at nonprofits in various capacities.
The murder of George Floyd shocked and horrified us all. MCYD reaffirmed that Black Lives Matter and that we need to fight both personal and systemic racism in America until all people have equal opportunities and freedom. In response to this outrage, we:
Heard from Senator Will Smith on the importance of rethinking policing and stopping police brutality.
Joined a coalition and signed onto a reform letter organized by the ACLU, advocating for the following changes: making all investigations into police misconduct public, creating statutory limits of the use of force by police, repealing the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (which grants officers special rights against punishment for wrongdoing), removing law enforcement from schools, and giving Baltimore citizens control over their police department.
Made policing reform a major priority for the 2021 legislative session, and decided to organize in support of meaningful changes and accountability.
As MCYD saw the rising costs of the pandemic and systemic racism, we realized that millions of people were being harmed and urgently needed help. With seventy-nine other groups, MCYD urged the Maryland Legislature to hold a special legislative session to tackle the economic fallout of the pandemic. Unfortunately, the Legislature decided not to have a special session, but we still drew attention to these causes and raised awareness about the need for relief. MCYD hopes that in January legislators will swiftly take action. Additionally, in August we held a Cancel the Rent panel with CASA de Maryland, urging Governor Larry Hogan to cancel rent, fees, and debt accumulated during the COVID-19 emergency, and to extend the moratorium on evictions one year after the state of emergency.
In September, MCYD held our 15th annual Paint the County Blue fundraiser, which was a smashing success. With your help, we raised funds to sustain and expand operations. During the fundraiser, we heard remarks from DNC Chair Tom Perez. We have since contributed to the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) for organizing and advocating for freedom and justice for all and Manna Food Center to feed people who are hungry. Manna does incredible work distributing food and fighting hunger in Montgomery County. They can always use your help and demand has greatly increased since the pandemic started-donate here!
During this election cycle, we organized phone and text banks in order to contact voters in swing states during the presidential election to turn out for Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and other Democratic candidates. On a local level, we partnered with county wide organizations to approve ballot initiatives to expand the County Council and preserve options for raising revenue. MCYD has not been idle after the election. On November 12th we delivered testimony at the Montgomery County Delegation priorities hearing on the need for immediate COVID-19 aid and relief, reforms to stop police brutality, paid family leave, and measures to reduce climate change, among other issues.
In December MCYD also held a joint bi-county legislative discussion with the Prince George’s County Young Democrats on transportation, COVID relief, policing reform, and housing. At this discussion, we spoke with Rep. Anthony Brown, Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Monique Anderson-Walker, and Del. Gabriel Acevero. We don’t know what 2021 will hold, but MCYD looks forward to building on our past efforts, increasing our membership, and getting major reforms through the County Council and Maryland State Legislature.
Thank you to everyone for your work this year, and MCYD looks forward to a better 2021! If you have any questions or would like more information, please email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.