Letter to the Biden Administration in Support of Welcoming Refugees

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.


The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

The Honorable Xavier Becerra

Secretary of Health and Human Services

200 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20201

Dear President Biden,

We, the undersigned organizations, urge you to rebuild the refugee resettlement program and ensure that 125,000 refugees are welcomed for the 2022 fiscal year. For the past four years the Trump administration, led by Stephen Miller, harmed immigrants, undermining and attacking refugees at every turn. We opposed these xenophobic and cruel policies, welcomed your election, and are pleased to see your promise to welcome refugees and to increase the number of them admitted to the United States.

However, much work remains to be done. We are heartened by your decision to raise the refugee cap to 62,500 for the current fiscal year of 2021, and urge you to make the program’s reconstruction a top priority. We have heard stories of hundreds of refugees who have been approved for resettlement having their flights cancelled at the last minute, and other refugees trapped in legal limbo between countries. America must honor its promises to people who have fled oppression and violence in their home countries, and provide them a safe haven to rebuild their lives.

Tens of millions of refugees have fled their homes over the last decade. From Syrians fleeing civil war and atrocities, to Central Americans seeking to escape poverty and gang violence, to Rohingyas fleeing ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, to Uighurs fleeing mass repression in Xinjang; the need for aid and compassion has never been greater. The Trump administration’s racist bans on the resettlement of refugees from various areas disproportionately harmed people fleeing some of the worst crises.

Moreover, the world looks to the United States for moral leadership. Rising xenophobia at home and abroad has led to hostility, discrimination, and even violence against refugees. As a nation of immigrants the United States should embrace one of our best traditions and welcome large numbers of refugees, setting an example for the rest of the world. Refugees undergo thorough scrutiny and strengthen countries they settle in; a generous and welcoming policy will both help them and strengthen America.

Therefore, we urge you to set a refugee cap of 125,000 for the 2022 fiscal year, and to focus on expanding the refugee resettlement program even further, with a goal of welcoming and resettling a minimum of 300,000 refugees for the 2023 fiscal year. Moreover, the refugee cap can be used as an aspiration and a powerful statement of American values. We therefore also urge you to set an ultimate and constant refugee cap of 300,000.

Additionally, almost 17,000 Afghans risked their lives serving as interpreters and working with the U.S military over the past twenty years. Many of them will be in grave danger once the United States withdraws from Afghanistan. The administration should ensure that swift action is taken so all these translators and their families get special immigrant visas allowing them to come to the United States as soon as possible. Honor, compassion, and loyalty demand no less.

America is a formidable country that can and should welcome many refugees. Past Presidents have shown courage and fought to admit people fleeing oppression and violence. After World War II, President Harry Truman waged a fierce struggle to admit hundreds of thousands of displaced refugees, and stated that “we should do this, not only in our own self-interest, but also as a way to reaffirm the great tradition of freedom and opportunity which we have proved in our own experience to be the surest path of progress and prosperity.”[1]

The United States should embrace the words of Emma Lazarus inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, and “lift my lamp beside the golden door.”[2]

Thank you for your consideration. Please contact Michael DeLong at michaeldelong94@gmail.com if there are any questions.


Andrew Saundry

Montgomery County District 19 Democratic Club

Montgomery County Young Democrats 

[1] “Special Message to the Congress on Aid for Refugees and Displaced Persons.” Harry S. Truman. March 24, 1952. Available at https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/special-message-the-congress-aid-for-refugees-and-displaced-persons.

[2] “The New Colossus.” By Emma Lazarus. 1883. Available at https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46550/the-new-colossus.

Montgomery County Young Democrats Statement on Guilty Verdict in Derek Chauvin Case

On Tuesday jurors found Derek Chauvin guilty of the murder of George Floyd, and we Montgomery County Young Democrats applaud this verdict. George Floyd was murdered in cold blood despite posing no threat to the officers or anyone around him. 

This conviction does not bring George Floyd back or repair the harm done to him or his family. But it does mean that Derek Chauvin will be held accountable for his cruelty and racism, and that is a step forward. We cannot ignore that other police officers stood by and did nothing to prevent the murder, or that policing is too often marred by systemic racism, or that brutalizers of many other black men and women will not be held accountable–but hopefully this marks a turning point where police officers will be punished if they harm someone. 

As Democrats and supporters of justice, we have a responsibility to ensure that this never happens again, to liberate America from racism and oppression, and to create a society where people of color will be protected by the law and its officers, instead of abused. 

Here in Maryland and other places, we must move forward and honor George Floyd’s memory by building on the reforms already passed and working for true peace-which is not merely the absence of conflict but the presence of justice. 

MCYD Condemns Police Misconduct in Case of Five Year Old Boy

March 31, 2021—The Montgomery County Young Democrats vehemently condemn the misconduct of the Montgomery County Police in the detainment and mistreatment of a 5-year-old African American boy from East Silver Spring Elementary School.

The January 2020 footage recently provided by the Montgomery County Police Department shows the officers handcuffing the boy, picking him up by his wrists and showing signs of force. Additionally, the officers used harsh language, screamed in his face, called him a “beast” and alluded that he was similar to a fictional murderous doll, even going as far as suggesting the child should be put in a crate.

Without question, the school administrators must also be harshly critiqued in their complicit acceptance of how the child was reprimanded. They went as far as cosigning with the officers on the most appropriate way to discipline the young child without “going to jail”. There is no reality where beating any child is appropriate. 

This situation could have been and should have been de-escalated. It is unimaginable that a situation where an employee of an elementary school should have to request “MCPD officers’ assistance in addressing a five-year-old child who had left the school grounds and did not wish to return”, as reported by MCPD. With the poor history of police intervention and presence in schools, this tragic event is one more reason why we advocate for the removal of police from schools and request that policies related to school grounds should be reviewed to limit the involvement of armed police.

We, Montgomery County Young Democrats, call for the immediate removal of the officers and the school administrators involved in this event. In addition, we will continue to advocate for a review of school policies and procedures in favor of amicably de-escalating a situation. Our proposed solutions start with, but are not limited to the use of a school therapist, social worker, or instituting social wellness programs. We must not allow the system to continually fail our students. 

Montgomery County Young Democrats Testimony in Support of the Stable Homes Act-HB 574

Dear Members of the House Environment and Transportation Committee,

We are the Montgomery County Young Democrats, an organization which represents Democrats between the ages of 14 and 35. We firmly urge the House Environment and Transportation Committee to support HB 574 (the Montgomery County Stable Homes Act), sponsored by Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins and the Montgomery County Delegation. We believe this bill is essential to defend Montgomery County tenants from unjust evictions and protect them from landlord mistreatment.

This bill would prohibit a landlord from evicting a tenant from a leased premise in Montgomery County without just cause. The bill lists out the just causes under which landlords have the right to evict tenants. These range from substantial lease violations to good faith efforts to reclaim the property for various purposes.

The Montgomery County Stable Homes Act exempts just cause requirements if the property is occupied by the landlord and if the landlord only leases out a single unit; if the tenant’s initial lease was conditioned on employment and that employment has expired; or if the landlord does not own more than two family rental properties.

When families are evicted, they lose more than just their homes. Children perform worse in school, adults face the risk of job loss, families lose many of their possessions and face a decline in mental and physical health. ​Stable housing contributes to improved educational outcomes, which is made even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic as students must study from their homes.

The Stable Homes Bill still preserves the rights of landlords while ensuring tenants are not unfairly and improperly evicted from their homes.

We thank Delegate Wilkins for her persistent effort to advance this legislation. We urge the committee to favorably report the Stable Homes Bill, and the legislature to promptly pass it without delay.

Thank you for your continued service to the residents of Montgomery County.. Please email us at mocoyoungdems@gmail.com or give us a call at 925-708-1135 with any questions.


The Montgomery County Young Democrats

MoCo Young Democrats Meeting This Tuesday, February 16th at 7 PM!

Join us Tuesday, February 16th at 7 PM for our monthly meeting. In honor of Black History Month, we will discuss HB 11-Public Schools – African American History – Development of Content Standards and Implementation. Come prepared to discuss your ideas for what more MCYD can do in support of this bill! We will also talk about the Biden administration’s COVID-19 stimulus package, what it means for Americans, and how we can strengthen it. Register here to attend! 

Montgomery County Young Democrats 2020 End of Year Newsletter

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 mocoyoungdems@gmail.com or michaeldelong94@gmail.com. 

Montgomery County Young Democrats Congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris

This is a historic day for our country and a triumph for the American people. Americans have spoken-they have chosen Joe Biden as Vice President and Kamala Harris as Vice President to restore our nation and improve people’s lives. They have rejected the failed prejudice and corruption of the Trump administration, and sent them packing. 

Biden won a decisive victory-over 75 million votes and millions more votes than Trump. This victory gives Biden a clear mandate to rebuild America, fight and defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, and address important issues facing the country. He has vowed to be the President of all Americans and to consider everyone. Above all, Biden has emphasized kindness and empathy instead of the cruelty of the past four years.

We also celebrate the election of our first black and Asian woman Vice-President, and recognize all those who have made this historic victory possible. 

This triumph would not have been possible without the organizing and donations from a great many people. To everyone who made calls, donated to candidates, voted, went up to Pennsylvania to knock on doors-thank you! 

MCYD looks forward to working with the Biden administration and other Democrats to rebuild the economy, defeat the pandemic, and defend the American dream.

Montgomery County Young Democrats Statement on the Passing of YDM President Joseph Kitchen

August 16, 2020-We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Joseph Kitchen, President of the Young Democrats of Maryland. Our condolences are with his family. He will be deeply missed.

Joseph was a great and energetic advocate for many causes, a great leader who cared about improving people’s lives, and a great friend. He taught us Montgomery County Young Democrats so much about Maryland politics, how to make your voices heard, and how to strive to be better people. Whenever we had questions about how the political process worked or needed advice, Joseph was there.

We urge everyone to respect his family’s request for space during this time of grieving, and to honor him by taking up this work he loved so much.

The Maryland Legislature Should Call a Special Legislative Session

We, the Montgomery County Young Democrats (MCYD), urge the Maryland legislature to hold a special session before the regular session, to deal with the crises gripping our state and county.

MCYD is a diverse group of young adults who are passionate about making our community a better place through political activism and organizing. We believe the Maryland General Assembly should convene a special legislative session before the planned regular session in January in order to meet the immediate needs of Marylanders during these unprecedented times.

Over the past four months, over 900,000 Marylanders have filed unemployment claims, many for the first time. Families have been devastated by death and illness, students and workplaces have had to adapt to teleworking, and the state is making difficult funding decisions as we plunge into a deep economic downturn. Black residents, who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, face added trauma from the police violence and racism that has been at the forefront of policy conversations following the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black people at the hands of police. Each day that passes without policing reform and other systematic changes puts Black Marylanders at risk and enables oppression and racism to permeate throughout the state. 

For too many Marylanders facing financial hardship during COVID-19, relief has not always been readily available. Undocumented immigrants, many of whom are essential workers, have been left out of relief programs, and unemployed residents were met with difficulties and delays with their unemployment benefits. As counties begin to reopen, we fear the imminent impact this will have on vulnerable residents who have been hanging on by a thread: At-risk employees will be forced to return to work, small businesses will close, people will lose their homes as evictions resume, and there will be many other long-lasting negative impacts to our communities without comprehensive, inclusive, statewide relief. 

Although Governor Hogan has the power to implement these much needed relief programs, he has made it clear that protecting Black, immigrant, and other vulnerable communities is not his priority. For this reason, we urge the State Legislature to convene a special legislative session to take action on these pressing matters: 

  • Override the Governor’s vetoes of important bills
  • Financial relief and protections, and fixing issues with unemployment insurance
  • Policing reform, including passing Anton’s Law, repealing the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, limit use of force, and keeping law enforcement out of schools
  • Protecting the health & safety of all Marylanders, and ensuring the 2020 election is safe

We have had to deal with the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, as hundreds of thousands of residents have lost their jobs and many have had difficulties receiving their unemployment benefits or their federal stimulus checks.  

Millions have seen their schools and workplaces close, had to follow stay at home orders, or been forced to work in unsafe conditions. The state’s revenues have swiftly declined as the United States plunges into a deep economic downturn. And Maryland continues to be impacted by systemic racism and police brutality. 

We urge Maryland legislators to support a special legislative session soon to enact emergency measures for these crises. We also understand and share their concerns about the health and safety of legislators, staff members, and the public. Thousands of people gathered in Annapolis would provide an ideal environment for the coronavirus to spread. Therefore MCYD urges that this special legislative session be a virtual session, in order to prioritize public health.

It may not be normal to call for a special session of the Maryland General Assembly, in fact, it has not been called into a special session since the Civil War. But these are not normal times. The problems facing our state will only get more serious in the coming months if the legislature does not take action to solve them. 

Please reach out to us at mocoyoungdems@gmail.com or at 925-708-1135 if you have any questions. 


Michael DeLong, President 

Teresa Woorman, Vice President

Stephen Schiavone, Treasurer

Kathleen Bender, Political Advocacy Director

Margie Delao, Communications Director

Keyna Anyiam, Membership Director

Steven Cenname, Secretary 

Patient Advocacy is Not a Choice, It is a Necessity

By Keyna Anyiam

I consider myself lucky that my mother is a nurse who has taught me how to advocate for my health, but not all are so lucky, and that is not right. It is no secret that healthcare and bedside manner is disproportionately administered in the United States (i.e. maternal mortality rate of black women versus white women), but during a pandemic, that is made especially clear. I have had a number of friends and family members denied care or whose needs have been disregarded due to their race, socioeconomic status or weight because of COVID-19. If the picture is not clear, let me paint it for you: You are in emergency care along with several other symptomatic people. You have been waiting for over 2 hours, minute after minute you see healthcare professionals taking care of young white women, athletic looking white men, and visibly upper-class people who have come in subtly decked out in designer street clothes. You become aware that your status as a black, overweight, working class citizen does not make you a priority here.  To make sure you are receiving fair and equal treatment when your health is on the line, I encourage you to learn how to advocate for yourself in a health setting using the tips and resources below.

When it comes to being your own patient advocate, here are a few tips to help get the care you need:

1)      Be an active participant in your health. Share your medications, allergies and any helpful information.

2)      Speak up. Trust your gut – you know your body and health best.

3)      It is ok to ask for help. Bring someone with you or look for someone with similar symptoms or someone who speaks the same language as you. There is strength in numbers.

4)      Be kind to yourself. Try not to be too hard on yourself; your pain is valid.

5)      Get involved. Knowing you are not alone is invaluable, share your story and knowledge, it helps! Reach out to patient advocacy groups in your area.

It is important for everyone to learn patient advocacy. Understanding the barriers of proper healthcare can be the difference between life and death. A 2016 case study shared by the National Institute of Health found that some are not given “the chance to advocate for the patients in terms of the rules and regulations given by the facility…” and “Sometimes patients will come and you call the doctor, he refuse to come and say, continue to monitor, but you know something bad will happen if they don’t come and do something.” These types of issues can lead to medical mistakes, which according to John Hopkins Health are the “Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.” Unwarranted variation in care and lack of accountability for poor outcomes should not happen, but it can be mitigated with knowledge and working together when speaking with a physician.

Being at the mercy of your health or the health of a loved one can be the source of determination you need to be a great patient advocate. I am reminded during difficult conversations with others, of the power that the Internet, local activist groups and our legislators can exercise to improve our healthcare system. Let facts be your friends. Learn as much as you can and don’t stop. Contact your Maryland legislators and let them know your story. Sharing your experiences and working to change the laws and societal norms that led to them can help other patients get the care they need.

Visit this link to find your representative and visit this link to stay on top of tips and resources available to you during COVID-19.