Transformation of Cider Mill Apartments
For over two years, residents of Montgomery County-owned Cider Mill Apartments called on the Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) to make key management and security changes on the property. As a result of public pressure at an AIM action and ongoing accountability from resident leaders, management and the HOC improved lighting on the 864-unit property and replaced all broken machines and entry doors in laundry facilities. This fall, through partnership with the Gaithersburg Beloved Community Initiative, residents formalized Safe Places, a tenants’ association. Safe Places worked with other local congregations to distribute market food every Sunday during the pandemic.
$71 Million for School Construction
In spring 2020, Montgomery County Council delayed the construction of South Lake Elementary School, despite that it was in worse condition than any other school in the system. In doing so, they reneged on their previous commitment to renovate both South Lake and Burnt Mills Elementary Schools by fall 2023, a commitment made after a multi- year campaign by AIM leaders to gain recognition for these two Title I schools.
AIM leaders held the Council to account, testifying, calling, and sharing the story of South Lake over several long months. On December 1, the Council voted to restore the 2023 timeline, citing AIM’s “non-traditional” model of community organizing, recognizing AIM leaders by name, and thanking AIM for engaging the press to pressure them to act.
In September 2023, 1,500 students will walk into beautiful new buildings at South Lake and Burnt Mills, heads held high.
COVID-19 Testing in Underserved Neighborhoods
In summer 2020, AIM leaders were often unable to access testing, even when they had symptoms. AIM leaders learned that 74% of Montgomery County’s new COVID-19 cases were Hispanic residents, though the Hispanic community represents only 1/5 of the county’s residents. Additionally, there were only two COVID testing sites in the five zip codes with the most cases. AIM held a press conference and pushed the County Council and Executive to open new sites in these communities, including on several on AIM congregational properties in the hardest hit communities.
20th Anniversary Celebration
AIM celebrated 20 years of community power in a virtual extravaganza with generations of AIM leaders and organizers present. AIM leaders and founding clergy shared memories of past victories, received a proclamation from the County Council, and demonstrated our 1- to-1 relational approach to organizing to the guests present at the event.