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Press Releases - County Council

Human Trafficking Awareness Month and Emergency Response to the Flower Branch Apartment Fire will be the Focus of “En Sintonía con el Concejo del Condado de Montgomery” Tomorrow at 2 p.m. on Radio America

For Immediate Release: Thursday, January 13, 2022

The show will also cover the CDC’s expanded eligibility for booster shots and the County’s distribution of free rapid test kits at Montgomery County Public Library locations 

ROCKVILLE, Md., Jan. 13, 2022 — The featured guests on this week’s En Sintonía con el Concejo del Condado de Montgomery (In Tune with the Montgomery County Council) will include Jatna Gómez, LBSW director of equity and community engagement at the University of Maryland Safe Center for Human Trafficking Survivors; Critina Orozco Espinel, case management coordinator at Identity, Inc.; Melissa Rivera, communications specialist at Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS); Dr. Cesar Palacios, executive director of the Montgomery County Language Minority Health Project (MCLMHP Inc.) Proyecto Salud Clinic; and Alex Vázquez, community organizer at CASA de Maryland.  

This week, the Montgomery County Council, led by Council President Gabe Albornoz, presented a joint proclamation with County Executive Marc Elrich to recognize January as “Human Trafficking Prevention Month” by increasing awareness about this issue and developing preventive strategies to combat what is also known as modern-day slavery. This week’s program will begin with an interview with Jatna Gómez, the director of the Safe Center at the University of Maryland. For more than a decade, Ms. Gómez has worked with vulnerable communities and is an advocate for human trafficking prevention and assistance services. We will discuss how residents can help recognize the signs of human trafficking, common manipulation tactics and the resources available to combat this issue on the local, state and federal levels. 

The second part of the show will focus on the recent booster shot eligibility expansion for 12- to 17-year-olds by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr. Cesar Palacios, executive director of the Montgomery County Language Minority Health Project (MCLMHP Inc.) and member of the Latino Health Initiative Salud y Bienestar will talk about the importance of the booster shot especially for this new category of eligibility. Individuals ages 12 to 17 should receive a third dose five months after their initial vaccination series. The recommendation was made while Montgomery County continues to take action to fight the current wave of COVID-19 cases by distributing thousands of free rapid tests kits across the County’s libraries.  

Next, the show will highlight the collaboration between Identity, Inc. and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to discuss their upcoming live virtual community conversation that will take place on January 19 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. with MCPS Interim Superintendent Dr. Monifa B.  McKnight. This community meeting is co-sponsored by NAACP-MC Parent’s Council and the Black and Brown Coalition for Educational Equity and Excellence. It will include a discussion of the impact of the current surge in COVID-19 cases. The variety of programs and services offered by Identity, Inc. will also be discussed. The mission of the organization is to create a just, equitable and inclusive society for Latino residents, especially underserved youth.  

The show will conclude with a discussion with guest Alex Vázquez, community organizer at CASA de Maryland. On Saturday, January 8, a fire at the Flower Branch Apartment complex in Silver Spring displaced 56 residents, including at least a dozen children. Montgomery Housing Partnership (MHP) created a donation fund to provide support to the families who tragically have lost everything. Residents who wish to help can donate to the fund here.  

The Montgomery County Council and Radio America have entered a partnership that provides the Latino community with key information on issues and programs. The partnership also provides a forum for residents to express their views and ask questions. The partnership includes the weekly one-hour show each Friday on the Washington metropolitan area’s most popular Spanish language station. 

Each week, the show features host Marcela Rodriguez, Council program manager and public information officer, and guests talking about important issues before the Council and provides information about programs offered by the County to help residents. 


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Release ID: 22-014
Media Contact: Sonya Healy, 240-777-7926 , Marcela Rodriguez 240-777-7807