I’m an At-Large member of Montgomery County Council. I serve on the transportation and environment committee and the health and human services committee. Before serving on the council, I was civically involved in many organizations and non-profits. Before that, I was a CNN journalist for 12 years. I quickly realized that more good work can get done on the local level than at the national level.
How has your life changed since the community has been impacted by Coronavirus?
This crisis has exposed all the inequities we knew existed in our community, and laid them bare for everyone to see. The food insecurity, health care discrepancy, and transportation inequity overlap with the communities that have been hardest hit by Covid-19. Much of my work is supporting those communities and the most vulnerable. I’m also devoting a lot of my time to constituent services to ensure people receive the benefits and assistance they are entitled to.
Are you working more or less?
Work is non-stop. Any minute I’m not replying to emails or attending a meeting, I feel like something is wrong. There is so much need in our community that I’m devoting all of my energy to helping as many people as possible.
What are you most afraid of?
I’m most afraid that society does not learn from this crisis. The problems that have been exposed are systemic and have been created through decades and centuries of political decision-making. We have to get the solutions to this crisis right. We have to fix these problems, otherwise we will experience the same situation with the same communities in need again.
What are you most hopeful for?
I’m most hopeful that we continue to share our love and compassion with our neighbors and with those most in need in our community. We are blessed to live in an area where there is great wealth and great charity, which means we can do a lot of good. I’m hopeful that people will remember those in need and continue being generous to their neighbors.
What has been the most challenging part of this experience for you?
I’m a people person and I enjoy interacting with others and hearing their personal stories in person. The disconnect from staying at home has been difficult. No amount of Zoom calls or FaceTime conversations can make up for an in-person conversation.
Is there anything – even a tiny thing – you enjoy or like about sheltering in place?
Having the ability to stay at home has given me a newfound appreciation for the hard work of people who don’t have that same luxury – our essential workers and others who have to go to work, particularly by public transportation, who are putting their lives at risk every day. I appreciate them even more now. I can stay at home and be on Zoom for 9 hours a day. But not everyone has that luxury.
What do you think society as a whole will learn from this experience?
We have to learn that inequities don’t fix themselves. It takes leadership, courage, and tough decision making to provide everyone with a level of comfort that we should be afforded as Americans. I’m not talking about a high level of comfort – just basics like healthcare, food, and transportation – things we need on a daily basis. If we do nothing, people’s lives will not improve and we’ll be back at square one.
How are you coping with stress/taking care of yourself?
I walk my dogs once if not twice a day. I do yoga at home. I have a number of YouTube yoga channels and Facebook friends who teach it, and try to take an hour when I’m able.
When future generations ask, what will you tell them about this time in your life?
I hope that future generations look back at this time and see that we tried to heal people as quickly as possible, and mended wounds so that this doesn’t happen again. We have to learn from this. We have to make our society more fair and equitable. The communities of color and most vulnerable members of our population are bearing the brunt of this pandemic. It’s not fair and it’s not right. I hope we make the necessary changes so that future generations don’t have to go through this.
What would you like your friends and neighbors in Silver Spring/Montgomery County to know?
I want my friends, neighbors, and constituents to know that they can contact me at any time, any day, and I will help them with whatever they need to get through this. That’s why I ran for office and that’s why I’m working nonstop to ensure that everyone is healthy and safe during this crisis.
Want more? Check out our archives:
Dr. Todd Galkin, DDS
Melanie Padgett Powers
Rachel Bauchman, musician
Zed Mekonnen, Zed's Cafe, Silver Strings
Amina Ahmed, Handmade Habitat
Prayag Gordy, Montgomery Blair High School, Silver Chips
Liz Brent, Go Brent, Silver Spring Cares
David Fogel, Bump 'n Grind
Dr. Lilly Walker Shelton
Warren "Buck" Buckingham III
Linda Perlman Tabach
Dan Reed, Just up the Pike
David "Moe" Nelson, NOAA, King Teddy
Mike Diegel, Source of the Spring
Lene Tsegaye, Kefa Cafe