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Olszewski issues executive order to establish New Americans Task Force to build relationships with immigrant community

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TOWSON, MD—In acknowledgement of the growing number of residents who are immigrants and their substantial contributions to Baltimore County, County Executive Johnny Olszewski this week issued an executive order establishing a New Americans Task Force.

The new Task Force will guide County government as it seeks to build and maintain positive relationships with members of the immigrant community, and share research on policies, practices, and services that impact immigrant health, well-being, economic success and safety.

“Baltimore County’s greatest strength is its diversity, and we believe that all people – including those who are new to the country – should feel welcomed, included and valued,” said County Executive Olszewski. “This task force’s work will highlight our commitment to supporting the immigrant community and strengthen and coordinate efforts countywide to better assure the successful integration of our New American neighbors.”

The Task Force is charged with developing an integration and inclusion strategic plan that builds upon the strengths of immigrants, their families, and their institutions, and expedites their journey towards integration and inclusion. The plan will further efforts to make Baltimore County a place of welcome, economic opportunity, community well-being, and inclusion.

The diverse group, chaired by Helany Sinkler, Diversity Acquisition Program Manager at T. Rowe Price, includes stakeholders from nonprofit organizations, private partners, foundations, financial institutions and County agencies serving New Americans.

Members include:

  • Maricruz Abarca, Latino Providers Network
  • Richard Amador, Healthcare Access Maryland
  • Laura Brown, Asylee Women Enterprise
  • Alejandra Balcazar, Towson University
  • Susana Barrios, Latino Racial Justice Circle
  • Matthew Bernardy, Community College of Baltimore County
  • Ramona Carter-Brown, Baltimore County Human Relations
  • Zainab Chaundry, Council on American-Islamic Relations
  • Truphena M. Choti, AfriThrive
  • Mary Clay, Baltimore County Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Alejandra Flores Miller, Centro Sol, JHU School of Medicine
  • Nidia Gentry, Baltimore County Department of Health
  • Tasha Gresham James, Dundalk Renaissance
  • Monica Guerrero Vazquez, Centro Sol
  • Jennifer Hernandez, Baltimore County Public Schools
  • Annette Karanja, Haki Zetu
  • Cindy Kolade, CASA
  • Rachele J. Lawton, Community College of Baltimore County
  • Della Leister, Baltimore County Department of Health
  • Bishop Bruce Lewandowski, Archdiocese of Baltimore
  • Major Orlando Lilly, Baltimore County Police Department
  • John Mason, Baltimore County Department of Economic Development
  • Cassandra Miller, Baltimore County Public Library
  • Abdun Nafey Matin, ICNA Relief
  • Bella Owens, TurnAround, Inc.
  • Laure Pepper Covert, World Relief
  • Edwin Perez, Baltimore County Public Schools
  • Mitch Posner, Community Assistance Network
  • Javier Riva, Latino Economic Development Center
  • Valerie Rivera, Esperanza Center
  • Catalina Rodriguez-Lima, Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
  • Nan Ross, International Rescue Committee
  • Alfredo Santiago, Peace and Strength Counseling
  • Cate H. Scenna, Esq., Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland
  • Pat Shannon Jones, Immigration Outreach Service Center
  • Helany Sinkler, T. Rowe Price (Chair)
  • Tim Suryodaya Timsina, BANA
  • Betty Symington, ERICA

During its tenure, the Task Force will organize focus groups in each councilmanic district; facilitate a community survey in the County’s five most commonly spoken languages; identify and analyze barriers facing immigrants and their efforts and make recommendations to address those barriers.

“New Americans are here to have a better life and while they are extremely resilient, they have barriers to accessing services many of us take for granted,” said Baltimore County Immigration Affairs Outreach Coordinator Giuliana Valencia-Banks. “The New Americans Task Force’s work will support the efforts of this administration to make Baltimore County a place of welcome, economic opportunity, and inclusion. We are taking a comprehensive, community-driven approach to New American inclusion.”

The first meeting of the Baltimore County New Americans Task Force will be held via WebEx on Monday, June 12 at 6 p.m. A schedule for future meetings will be available at the work group’s webpage.

The Baltimore County New Americans Task Force will submit a report to the County Executive and the County Council by March 31, 2024.

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