“State of Black Montgomery” Shines Light on African-American Issues (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

The African-American Democratic Club of Montgomery County (AADCMC) hosted its Third Annual State of Black Montgomery and Democratic Forum on Saturday in Silver Spring.
In this MyMCMedia video, political leaders and residents discuss key issues affecting the African-American community in Montgomery County.

Gaithersburg resident Laurie-Anne Sayles is the President of the AADCMC.

“We raise issues regarding economic development, housing affordability and healthcare…We’re looking at civic engagement and making sure that we have a voice in policy making and the legislative makeup of the people who govern the county,” Sayles said.State of Black Montgomery

All nine members of the Montgomery County Council were on hand to present AADCMC with a certificate for civic engagement shortly after the start of the event. There was a “TED talk” style panel that focused on the topics of civic engagement, education equity, economic development and police accountability. The afternoon portion of the event featured democratic candidates for Maryland’s 8th Congressional seat race as well as a forum with democratic U.S. Senate candidates.

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett was one of the speakers during the panel discussion. Leggett gave remarks on the contributions of the African-American community in Montgomery County and touched on issues related to economic development.

“The County has made great progress, and when you compare this to many other communities it’s in many ways a model. We still have progress and work ahead and what I want us to do is recognize achievements of the past and also build on that to move forward especially in areas economic development [and] areas on closing the achievement gap for kids. There’s a great deal of work that we have to accomplish in order to get where I really think we should be,” Leggett said.

Other members of the “TED talk” panel included, Jheanelle Wilkins, Chair of the Voter Registration Committee for the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee who spoke on civic engagement and voter turnout, as well as Christopher Lloyd and Gabriel Acevero.State of Black Montgomery 2016

Christopher Lloyd is a teacher at Weller Road Elementary School and the President of the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA).

“One of the things we know is there’s a clear disparity among opportunity gaps between white children and black children in Montgomery County. It’s been persistent, and one of the things that I’ve suggested to folks is that we need to take some action on that,” Lloyd said.

Gabriel Acevero is the Vice President of the AADCMC.

“It’s important for the police department to development as well as implement a program that would see an increase in the diversity in ranks of the police departments. I think that is something that should be mandated. Every police department should reflect the community that they serve,” said Acevero.

To learn more about the AADCMC or the State of Black Montgomery forum, visit the AADCMC website.

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Willie James Inman

About Willie James Inman

Willie James Inman is a Community Engagement Specialist and Multimedia Journalist at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at winman@mymcmedia.org or reach him on Twitter @imwilljames.


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