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Germantown Group to Host Diversity Dinner; County to Honor Six Human Rights Leaders

Shortly after some of Montgomery County’s elite will gather at the Black Rock Center in Germantown for the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights’ 2016 Human Rights Hall of Fame induction ceremony this Sunday, a group of local folks will gather at Kingsview Middle School to celebrate Germantown’s diversity.

The Diversity Dinner to celebrate and support diversity in Germantown is sponsored by the Muslim American Society and Girl Scout Troop 3797. It will take place Sunday, December 4 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Kingsivew Middle School. The free event is open all in the community, and anyone attending is asked to bring a dish to add to the potluck dinner. Space is limited and attendees are asked to email GermantownTogether@hotmail.com to reserve a spot at the dinner. Once attendees send the email, they will be supplied with a like to let the organizers know what dish they will be bringing to the dinner.

“Our intention,” said Amy Meekins, one of the event organizers, “is to bring individuals of diverse backgrounds together to promote understanding, increase positive interactions within the community, and to build respect for one another as well as to celebrate our similarities.”

According to Meekins, “This is non-political, non-religious event, but we are inviting political and religious leaders from the community to come together in solidarity to support all citizens of Germantown and the surrounding communities.”

After dinner at about 7:00 pm the group will host a Candlelight Walk, which will be open to all, to celebrate diversity in Germantown.

Girl Scout Troop 3797 will also be collecting donations of non-perishable food items to support Germantown HELP that evening.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights will induct six people into the man Rights Hall of Fame at BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Drive in Germantown.

The honorees are recognized for their visionary leadership, outstanding achievements and altruism on the road to eliminating discrimination and advancing human rights. The following individuals will be inducted at this year’s ceremony:

Potomac resident Mindy G. Farber is a well-regarded civil rights lawyer who co-founded and co-organized the mediation program for the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights. This volunteer program has settled thousands of civil rights cases since its inception and has provided millions of dollars in settlements to complaining parties.

Morris Hudson, of Montgomery Village, is the founder of I AM COLLEGE READY (formerly known as B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S.). This program is a Peer Mentoring Model working in two MCPS high schools, Gaithersburg and Einstein and has impacted the lives of more than 1,000 students since its inception in 1984. This unique model is an effective peer-led mentoring-tutoring model which partners college students with high school students who in turn mentor middle school youth. Students in the program have a 100 percent graduation rate.

Sharan London, of Potomac, is dedicated to ensuring the rights and conditions of the Homeless since 1996 when she became the Executive Director of a “bare bones” organization the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless. From temporary sites and limited budgets her efforts over her nearly 15 years of tenure produced an increase in permanent shelter facilities, support services and programs, increased staff support from four employees to 125 employees and an annual budget upon her departure in excess of $9 million. She continues her efforts to advocate for the homeless and other areas of community service.

Potomac resident Terry Vann is a retired federal employee whose work has been in the legal field for a number of federal agencies to include the National Labor Relations Board and the Merit Systems Protection Board where he served as Chief Legal Counsel to the Chairman. His work in Montgomery County has centered around advocacy and mediation on civil rights concerns and complaints.

Arthur L. Williams, of Silver Spring, is a retired federal employee from the Department of Defense where he worked as Mathematician, Research Analyst and Computer Scientist for approximately 35 years. He has been a tireless advocate and community activist and served on a number of committees and boards and is a life member of the NAACP and served on its executive committee. His lifelong passion has always been about education and welfare of black youth. He serves as Chair of the 1977-II Action Group whose sole purpose is to work to improve the educational experience and resources for black students in the Montgomery County Public School System.

Sandy Spring resident Laura Anderson Wright is an attorney by profession but is also an educator, historian and museum curator. She has made her mark throughout Montgomery County serving on a number of boards and commissions. She was a leading force in preservation efforts of the Historic Odd Fellow Lodge in Sandy Spring and sustaining the ongoing presence of the Sandy Spring Slave Museum.

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