The Committee for Ethnic Affairs advises the Montgomery County, MD County Executive and County Council on public policy that relates to ethnic affairs; promotes maximum involvement of all ethnic groups in the County in government, business and community affairs.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Press Release: ‘Days of Commemoration’ Fourm on Wed., July 20

Montgomery Ethnic Affairs Committee and Councilmember George Leventhal
To Host Forum on the County’s

‘Days of Commemoration’ on Wed., July 20

Forum in Rockville Will Ask if New Holidays Should Be Recognized, Whether Changes Needed for Others

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 15, 2011—Montgomery County’s Committee of Ethnic Affairs (CEA), the County’s Office of Community Partnerships and the office of Councilmember George Leventhal are inviting residents to offer opinions in a community conversation on the County’s “Days of Commemoration.” The forum will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 20, in the first floor meeting room of the Rockville Library at 21 Maryland Ave.

The CEA and Councilmember Leventhal’s office will be seeking the thoughts of residents in regard to whether anything should be changed in the way holidays are currently recognized. The forum also will seek opinions on whether new holidays should be added to the County calendar. The forum also will offer an opportunity to ask general questions about the days of commemoration.

The original legislation for the Days of Commemoration was passed on March 28, 2006 (Bill No. 1-06: Special Days of Commemoration) and signed into law on July 7, 2006. The special law designates certain days of commemoration relating to the religious, ethnic and cultural heritage of County residents.

“This legislation is a major step in the County paying tribute to, and acknowledging, the constant changing race and ethnic composition of residents,” said Enas Elhanafi, chair of the CEA. “The upcoming forum is an even greater step for County residents to help local government to expand its knowledge and appreciation of how diverse we are. We certainly encourage citizens to attend the event to foster awareness and appreciation for the County’s diversity.”

Ms. Elhanafi serves on the Committee for Ethnic Affairs, a public board, with 16 other community members.

"The Days of Commemoration bill was intended to give appropriate recognition to many different dates with great meaning for important parts of our community,” said Councilmember Leventhal. “We recognize the separation between church and state, yet government offices in the United States historically close on Christmas. We cannot close the government for every day that has cultural or religious significance, but through the Days of Commemoration, we can educate ourselves about the customs and interests of our neighbors and friends. This forum will help us to assess how effective this legislation has been and whether it can be improved."

This program is part of a series under a pilot program developed by the Committee for Ethnic Affairs to encourage communication among the diverse ethnic communities of Montgomery County. CEA is composed of residents and its role is to bridge the cultural diversity of all ethnic groups in the County. The CEA advises the County Executive and the County Council on public policy that relates to ethnic affairs and promotes maximum involvement of all ethnic groups in the County government and other County services and programs.

The CEA also assists the County and its Office of Community Partnerships in organizing the World of Montgomery Festival, the County’s annual ethnic heritage festival.

For more information on the initial Days of Commemoration legislation, go to:

For more information on the Committee for Ethnic Affairs, go to its Facebook page for the latest updates on the event.

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