Grantee Spotlight

Annapolis Immigration Justice Network

The mission of Annapolis Immigration Justice Network (AIJN) is to walk alongside and support our neighbors as they navigate the immigration process. We are an all-volunteer organization dedicated to connecting asylum seekers and other vulnerable immigrants in Anne Arundel County to quality legal counsel and direct case management support. AIJN works to keep families unified and safe from deportation and is committed to the basic right to due process for all. AAWGT’s grant award of $20,000 is a tremendous support to our critical programs serving immigrant neighbors. This funding will help approximately eight female heads of household with children to retain quality, trusted attorneys to pursue their immigration cases.
To date, we have already connected two mothers and their children to formal legal representation through this grant. One of these mothers, “M,” fled gang violence in El Salvador in 2019 with her two year old son. Several of M’s relatives were gang members, and after receiving numerous death threats from her own aunt, M feared she and her son could be killed at any moment. When M reached out to AIJN for help, we connected her to legal consultation with a trusted, quality attorney. With the financial assistance from this grant, M was able to hire this lawyer to pursue her case for asylum. Legal fees for asylum cases are typically at least $5,000. In this case, our legal fund was able to contribute $3,000 toward legal fees. It may take years for this case to be decided, but we remain committed to walking alongside this family as they seek legal relief allowing them to remain safely in the United States.
AIJN is so grateful for AAWGT’s financial support. Immigrants with lawyers to represent their cases are five times as likely as those without representation to be granted relief from deportation. Retaining counsel provides both a long-term solution and an immediate, tremendous amount of relief for these families to know they have a lawyer helping them navigate this complex and difficult process.

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Education Meeting: Elevating All Students — Eliminating All Gaps

October 14, 2020

Susan Schneider, Chair of the Education Committee, introduced our October 14 program “Elevating All Students - Eliminating All Gaps” and Keynote Speaker, Maisha Gillins, Executive Director, Office of Equity and Accelerated Student Achievement, Anne Ar-undel County Public Schools.
Dr. Gillins began her presentation by explaining that AACPS’s Educational Equity Policy governs everything her office does. After a thorough history of racial disparities in America and in Anne Arundel County, Dr. Gillins provided specific examples of implicit/unconscious bias in the classroom. She identified several steps individuals must take to identify and counter these biases: self-examination, widening perspectives, countering stereotypes, holding oneself accountable, and anticipating biases. Finally, she described approaches AACPS is taking to address these issues including professional development for staff with suggested self-study, establishment of a Workforce Diversity group and more.
Zoom audience questions followed and were moderated by Monique Brown, Anne Arundel County NAACP, Tatiana Klein, Centro de Ayuda and Barbara Hoffstein, Assistant Chair, Education Committee.
We were pleased to welcome 106 attendees to this Zoom Webinar. To access a recording of the program and further resources, please click HERE.

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Grantee Spotlight

Anne Arundel County Food Bank Baby Pantries

When AACFB received the AAWGT grant of $10,000 for our baby pantries, we had no way of knowing that COVID-19 would affect our way of life in Anne Arundel County and increase the need for our services.
AACFB has been helping people in need in our county since 1986. Its primary focus has always been on food, but when there is a need for something else in our county, we will create a program to address that need. AACFB began opening baby pantries in 2017 when the one agency that had been supplying baby items, FoodLink, closed its doors.
Since COVID-19 restrictions began in Maryland in March, AACFB’s pantries have seen a 300% increase in the number of people seeking assistance, and 53% of those clients have never had to go to a pantry before. AACFB’s baby pantries assisted approximately 3,700 people in FY20 (through June 30, 2020), and that number is expected to grow in FY21 as the need continues to rise in Anne Arundel County.
AACFB’s baby pantries supply diapers, pull-ups, wipes, formula (including specialized formula), infant cereals, baby food, toddler food and more to any resident in need. With more grandparents finding themselves raising grandchildren while on a fixed income, more single working mothers trying to maintain a household while dealing with the high cost of living in Anne Arundel County, and now families struggling to pay rent or utilities due to lay-offs and job losses due to COVID-19, our baby pantries help any family in need by supplying these essential baby items at no cost. These items enable parents and guardians to provide the necessary healthy nutrition their infants and toddlers require, as well as providing new, clean, sanitary diapers and wipes. Being able to help families in need with these necessary items helps those families stretch their budget and stay self-sufficient.
AACFB is grateful for the support of the AAWGT grant in helping us to continue our mission in Anne Arundel County. These funds will be used to keep our baby pantries stocked with all the items that every child needs to grow and thrive.


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