Present: Bruce Adams, Nick Arrindell, Mumin Barre, Tracey-Alexis Dixon, Lorna Forde, Alicia Lynn Hannon, Sabrina Hsu, Matthew Lee, Michael Mills, Jeannette Noltenius, Nan Qiao, Roman Santillan, and Clemmie Solomon.
Excused: Ashwani Jain, Joy West, and Yasin Yimam. Absent: Eunmee Shim.
Staff: Susan Hoffmann.
The May meeting via Zoom was called to order at 6:04 p.m. by chairman Mumin Barre.
Agenda. Clemmie Solomon moved, Michael Mills seconded, and Board approved agenda.
Approval of March minutes. Sabrina Hsu moved, Matthew Lee seconded, and Board approved the minutes of the March 23, 2021 meeting.
Financial/Treasurer report. Treasurer Roman Santillan reported payment to accountant and a first payment to our web consultant. Balance: $8,497.79.
Update: County Government. Susan Hoffmann reported: (1) our $20,000 grant is in the Executive’s budget now under consideration by the County Council. She reminded us that any money not spent from or FY21 grant will be rolled into FY22. (2) Progress is being made on vaccinations. (3) County Attorney says Montgomery County may not spend taxpayer dollars to support our Sister City in Hyderabad but that the County could be supportive of private fundraising. (4) There will be an interagency action plan to support the youth who have crossed the southern border. In response to a question from Chair Barre, Susan said she did not know if there is a dedicated liaison for MSC in the FY22 budget but that she would check and get back to us.
Working Groups: (1) Bruce Adams said that progress has been made on our partnership with Montgomery College Television to produce a pilot program on our Salvadoran Sister City for Hispanic Heritage Month (mid-September to mid-October) thanks to the leadership of Jeannette Noltenius.
Jeanette reported that MCTV staffer Carolina Galeano has developed a script; our Salvadoran Sister City committee has provided feedback; business leaders in Montgomery will be interviewed; and students in Morazán who have benefited from scholarships have been identified. The Salvadoran Sister City committee will meet on May 20.
Bruce reported a conversation with Drew Powell, Sister City International’s (SCI) representative to Maryland and President of the Rockville Sister City Corporation. Drew reports that SCI is developing a Sister Schools initiative and that he will help organize a Zoom meeting with SCI, MSC, and Elaine Chang-Baxter of MCPS.
Sister City Committee reports:
(1) Sabrina Hsu reported that the Chinese community will be hosting sessions for parents on mental health issues.
(2) Tracey-Alexis Dixon reported that the Ethiopian country committee is working on a Zoom meeting with the former Mayor of Gondar.
(3) The Board picked up on the discussion of the Covid crisis of India begun earlier in the meeting.
Susan Hoffmann would check to see if the County Executive’s office has received any response from the County Executive’s letter of April 1, 2021 congratulating Mayor Gadwal Vijayalakshmi on her recent election and proposing a meeting via Zoom.
Susan said she would check and report back.
Bruce Adams reported that Ram Mohan Konda, who led our 2014 trip to Hyderabad, has requested 100 Oxygen concentrators. Bruce said he would check with Sanjay Rai for ideas of businesses that might help.
Roman Santillan suggested Roberts Oxygen Company of Rockville might be able to help.
Bruce suggested that even if we couldn’t provide financial support, we should at least draft a letter for the County Executive to express our sympathy to the Mayor and residents of our Sister City for the Covid tragedy they are undergoing now.
Chair Barre noted the draft website submitted by our consultant Shane Scott: https://shane254.wixsite.com/sistercities/our-sister-cities.
He asked Board members to review and comment.
Bruce Adams suggested a group of Board members Zoom with Shane to comment on this first draft. Mumin and Bruce agreed to participate as did Nick Arrindell, Tracey-Alexis Dixon, Alicia Hannon, Sabrina Hsu, and Michael Mills.
Bruce volunteered Joy West to be part of the group.
Nick recommended the country committees need to provide the content.
Bruce suggested this could be a three step exercise: (1) Board members meet with Shane to critique the draft and Shane recrafts the draft; (2) Country committees are then asked to provide content; and (3) Board members and Shane critique the revised webpage with its updated content.
Nan Qiao asked the timeframe.
Bruce suggested the Board members could discuss that when they meet with Shane.
No other/new business.
The Board decided to hold its next meeting on Tuesday June 22 at 6 p.m.
On a motion by Roman Santillan, seconded by Nick Arrindell, the meeting was adjourned at 6:55 p.m.
NEXT ZOOM Tuesday, June 22, 2021 @ 6 p.m.