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Ethnic Commissions Release Impact 2019 Report

2019 GO SEE Initiative Delivers Voices of Marylanders to State Leadership 

ANNAPOLIS, MD – More than 100 commissioners from the seven ethnic commissions under the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives released an Impact 2019 Report, after a successful year of community outreach through the GO SEE Initiative (GO, Serve, and Educate Ethnic communities). Governor Larry Hogan launched GO SEE earlier this year to help raise public awareness of important resources available for Marylanders that address the unique needs of our diverse communities through meaningful outreach to Maryland’s international community and youth, as well as identifying policy priorities.

“Our ethnic commissioners serve as ambassadors for our state’s many diverse communities,” said Governor Hogan. “I want to congratulate these hard working Marylanders for their community outreach efforts, and for their unique perspective and valuable knowledge in helping to change Maryland for the better.”

The Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives is the community outreach arm for the Hogan administration, and a unit of the Governor’s Coordinating Offices, which engages Maryland communities through the governor’s ethnic and cultural commissions to connect with a diversity of Marylanders, alert the state about real-time needs of communities across Maryland, and deliver the voices of these Marylanders to state leadership.

Through GO SEE, commissioners addressed a variety of issues important to the state such as the 2020 Census, volunteer awards for adults and youth, the Maryland Youth Advisory Council, scholarships for law enforcement officers, the business network of Deaf and hard of hearing owners, a statewide effort to address the opioid and heroin crisis, safe driving initiatives, and more. The commissioners represent more than 2.7 million Marylanders, or 40% of the total population in Maryland, and have the unique ability to engage with the 18% of Marylanders who are multilingual, bilingual, limited-English, and non-English speakers.

“We believe that under Governor Hogan’s bipartisan and transparent leadership, we are changing Maryland for the better. However, our office mission cannot happen without our commissioners who are passionate about reaching their communities with important messages and services,” said Steven McAdams, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives. “It is through their contributions that we are able to make a difference in our communities and we appreciate all commission chairs for their leadership and dedication.”

Commissioner outreach included:

2020 Maryland Census: Leading the Maryland Census Count Complete Committee, commissioners educated community members and engaged the local, ethnic, and community press in Maryland that the 2020 Census is “important, easy, and safe” throughout 2019, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Planning. This article and Spanish TV show helped advance the census outreach effort.

Heritage and Historic Preservation: Commissioners were invited to nominate ethnic leaders to serve on the Maryland Heritage Areas Program Grants Review Panel to preserve the State’s history, cultural traditions, and natural resources. The Hogan-Rutherford administration has also annually provided one million dollars in capital grants for the African American Heritage Preservation program through a partnership between the African American Commission on History and Culture and the Maryland Historical Trust to preserve buildings, communities, and sites of historic importance in Maryland.

Listening Tours: More than two dozen public and subcommittee meetings invited 17 speakers from state agencies and nonprofit entities such as the Maryland Address Confidentiality Program, Maryland Department of Health, Maryland Tourism Office, and Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service to educate commissioners and respective communities about state resources across Maryland.

Engagements and Partnerships: Commissioners hosted, co-hosted, and attended more than 300 events and seminars through collaboration with more than 85 state and national partners for workforce development, civic participation, healthcare and social services, educational opportunities, and more.

Economic Development: The Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs organized State Procurement 101 classes in Spanish for the first time in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority and Women Business Affairs. The Governor’s Commission on African Affairs empowered diaspora communities and leveraged resources from a state-federal-international partnership for Maryland export-ready businesses, which was covered by African diaspora media.

Cultural and Religious Diversity: Commissioners celebrated each ethnic community’s heritage month and coordinated with the Governor’s Office and Interfaith Outreach Office for Lunar New Year, Ramadan, Diwali, Eid al-Fitr, Hanukkah, and the National Day of Prayer Breakfast. Commissioners advised the Governor’s Office on various ways to honor significant historical and cultural announcements, observances, and leaders in communities. Each garnered media coverage by mainstream and ethnic media. Here are a few examples: Asian Pacific American population growthVerda Welcome exhibitFrederick Douglass DayHarriet Tubman legacy, and recognition of American Indian tribes.

International Exchange: Commissioners helped Marylanders connect with the world through their cultural and linguistic ties to countries abroad. They have served on the Maryland Sister State and City Committee run by the International Division of the State Office of the Secretary, built partnerships with embassies, and participated in international delegation and trade missions.

Next Generation Empowerment: The Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs engaged youth for volunteer services in tribal communities, shared tribal stories and history with children, and educated how tribal leaders have kept the community legacy alive through anthropological research, language studies, state and county archives, advocacy activities, sports, arts, and more. Covered by Chinese media, the Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific Americans encouraged youth to pursue their career in innovation, entrepreneurship, and STEM while promoting the Governor’s P-TECH program.

Joint Legislative Night: All commissions gathered to host an annual Legislative Night to discuss the best approach to promote the Governor’s legislative and policy priorities pertaining to communities  – Opportunity Zones, 2020 Census, financial support for students, economic development, and more – with state legislators and leadership from various agencies and the Governor’s Office. As a result, this article by South Asian media detailed the Governor’s vision and work.

Your Success is Maryland’s Success Series: This collection of individual impact stories of commissioners highlighted how their work has changed Maryland for the better through nonprofit and volunteer activities, businesses, skills, and professions. The series is available here and will be continued throughout 2020.

Publications: In coordination with the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, commissions provided public information about their responsibilities, milestones, community demographics, and future plans through a new website, video, brochure, annual reports, and flyers. The communication materials are available here.

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