Community Centers in Historic African-American Communities

There are many historic African American communities throughout Montgomery County including Scotland in Potomac, Sandy Spring in Olney, Plum Gar in Germantown and Good Hope in Burtonsville. The Community Centers located in each community had been severely neglected as the County continued to grow in prosperity and became one of the richest places in the country. Within these centers, not only were rats, sanitation and flooding an issue, but also they lacked sports equipment and even standard sized courts.

The AIM Community Centers campaign brought these communities together with AIM leaders, clergy and congregations, to collectively organize around renovating these four solely neglected centers immediately. This campaign greatly impacted the 3,500 families who were within walking distance of these community centers, particularly the seniors and the low-income, at-risk youth who mostly utilized these centers. In addition, African American people in these communities in particular were, and had always been, treated as second-class citizens by the County. As community centers in predominately white communities received considerable funding, AIM leaders, clergy and congregations members agreed that the lack of funding to these four predominantly African American communities was unacceptable.

AIM leaders and allies demonstrated their people power to the County Council and County Executive by holding a 350 person action. County Executive Leggett attended and promised to allocate 30-40 million dollars to renovate the centers. When his budget was released, however, the County executive broke his pledge and did not include the money for the centers. AIM leaders didn’t take no for an answer — they organized an action with 1,047 AIM leaders, clergy, congregation members and County Council members in attendance. AIM members were successful in getting all of the County Council members to unanimously overrule County Executive Leggett’s budget and in turn allocate 30 million into restoring and rebuilding the community centers.

Since then, County Executive Leggett has done more than make good on the commitment to build the centers. All four centers have been completely rebuilt or renovated, with state-of-the art facilities and a special arts focus in partnership with Strathmore at the Good Hope Community Center.

The ribbon cutting for the last of the four centers was in November 2018. Click here to read more about it.

 

In the News

AIM Annual Report for 2018

This was a year of big victories for AIM–$67 Million for Affordable Housing, expanding Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary to 720 students in seven schools, the opening of the final community center in Historic African-American neighborhoods, and real action from Smith and Wesson on Gun Violence. Click below to learn more!

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AIM Plays Key Role in Fight to Get Smith and Wesson to Adopt Commonsense Gun Safety at Shareholders Meeting

AIM worked with Chief Manger, President of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, to support our national efforts in getting Smith and Wesson shareholders to vote for significant measures to improve safety and accountability for their firearms products. Click here to find out how AIM and the Industrial Areas Foundation won with Smith and Wesson and Sturm Ruger.

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Justice for Historic African-American Communities

The ribbon cutting to open the new Good Hope Neighborhood Recreation Center took place on Oct. 6 in the Good Hope neighborhood of Silver Spring, Md. Local officials, residents and community members all gathered to witness the opening of the last of the four centers located in historic African-American neighborhoods to undergo renovations in Montgomery County.

Good Hope along with Ross Boddy, Scotland and Plum Gar recreation centers were overlooked and neglected for many years and dating back to the 1990s, neighborhood leaders weren’t even able to get basic repairs done in the community centers. Centers were dealing with issues such as flooding and broken windows, according to social advocacy group, Action In Montgomery (AIM).

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Silver Spring apartment complex explosion survivors demand better treatment from Montgomery County

Click “READ MORE” to see the video of the action.

– Nearly two years after the August 10, 2016 blast that killed seven people at the Flower Branch Apartments in Silver Spring, survivors are demanding better support from the Montgomery County government.

Through advocacy organization Action in Montgomery (AIM), the group of survivors met to address their concerns Tuesday night at JoAnn Leleck at Broad Acres Elementary School.

Survivors told their stories about how they lost their possessions along with how they were physically and mentally scarred by the natural gas explosion. They said since the accident, they have been forced to pay higher rents, haven’t received adequate mental health treatment related to the trauma and that their opinions were left out of the 2016 county report that detailed the response to the tragedy.

Gustavo Zuniga spoke to the crowd, recounting how the roof fell inside his apartment, knocking him unconscious. He said the only reason that he is alive is because his wife was able to pull him from the rubble.

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