Council to Introduce Resolution That Affirms MoCo’s Support for Public Health Officials After Former Public Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles Resigned After Receiving Threats and Racist/Homophobic Messages

On Tuesday, Council Vice President Evan Glass will introduce a resolution affirming Montgomery County’s support for public health officials. The resolution calls for unity and civil discourse after former health officer Dr. Travis Gayles received threats to his safety, as well as racist and homophobic messages. According to a press release, “two candidates for the vacant Public Health Officer position have declined offers of employment citing the public vitriol and concerns for their safety.”

Back in September, Gayles told WTOP, “unfortunately, public health folks have been made to be the scapegoats or enemies of progress,” when it came to reopening businesses and schools, when “we just want to make sure that people are safe.”

Per Montgomery County:

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 14, 2022 — On Tuesday, March 15, Council Vice President Evan Glass will introduce a resolution affirming Montgomery County’s support for public health officials, including the next Public Health Officer and Chief of Public Health Services. The resolution also calls for unity, civil discourse and reaffirms the county’s commitment to making public health decisions based on science and data. This resolution is co-sponsored by Council President Gabe Albornoz and Councilmembers Will Jawando, Tom Hucker, Sidney Katz, Nancy Navarro and Andrew Friedson.

Public health officials have kept residents safe during the pandemic and the harassment they have endured has been unprecedented in its scope and nature. During his pandemic leadership, Montgomery County’s previous health officer, Dr. Travis Gayles, received threats to his safety, in addition to a stream of racist and homophobic messages. He left his position in September 2021 and the county immediately began a nationwide search to replace him. To date, two candidates for the vacant Public Health Officer position have declined offers of employment citing the public vitriol and concerns for their safety.

“Amid a global pandemic that has claimed more than 2,000 of our neighbors in Montgomery County, we need a team of dedicated public health officials to keep our community safe and healthy, ” said Council Vice President Evan Glass. “The type of harassment these officials continue to face is not only harming public discourse, but has become a barrier to hiring well-qualified personnel to serve in these positions. As the COVID-19 health crisis begins to recede, it is my hope that we can return to a level of civility where individuals can disagree without resorting to taunts and threats of violence. This resolution is one step toward reaffirming support for our public health officials.”

“The global pandemic has significantly stressed public health systems around the world and exposed the gaps in health care for underserved and vulnerable populations,” said Gabe Albornoz, Council President and Chair of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee. “Montgomery County is not immune but through the efforts of our public health officials, we are now the most highly vaccinated county in the nation. It is through their guidance and dedication that lives are saved.”

The resolution can be found here.

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17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Now in its 17th year, the Kensington Day of the Book Festival is a family-friendly street festival featuring 150+ renowned authors, poets, and literary organizations. Enjoy live music on five stages, special guest speakers, military veteran writers and comedians, poetry readings, cookbook demos, children's program, and much more.

Admission is free, and attendees will also be able to explore a marketplace of books and food offerings from local vendors.

Not your average book festival! This festival offers something for everyone!

17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Sunday, April 21, 2024, 11am-4pm (held rain or shine!)

Howard Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895

Instagram: @kensingtonbookfestival

Contact: Elisenda Sola-Sole, Festival Director

[email protected]

301-949-9416 (text preferred)

FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival

Get ready to experience the vibrant colors, tantalizing flavors, and infectious rhythms of the Caribbean at the FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival! Hosted by RHU LLC, this exciting festival is set to take place on May 18, 2024, at the picturesque 16700 Barnesville Rd in Boyds, MD.

Step into a world where the Caribbean spirit comes alive! From 12:00 PM onwards, immerse yourself in a sensory journey that celebrates the unique culture, cuisine, and music of the Caribbean. Whether you're an African American, a Reggae or Soca music enthusiast, a wine lover, or part of the vibrant Caribbean diaspora, this festival promises to delight and captivate you in every way.

Let the enticing aromas of mouthwatering Caribbean dishes tantalize your taste buds. Feast on traditional delicacies prepared by expert chefs, showcasing the rich and diverse culinary heritage of the Caribbean. Indulge in flavorful jerk chicken, succulent seafood, and delectable plantain dishes that will transport you straight to the islands.

Accompanying the culinary extravaganza is a carefully curated selection of premium wines, ensuring the perfect pairing for your palate. Sip on fine wines from renowned vineyards, each sip a reflection of the Caribbean's vibrant spirit. Discover new flavors, expand your wine knowledge, and savor unforgettable moments with every glass.

As the sun sets, get ready to groove to the infectious rhythms of Caribbean music. Feel the pulsating beats of reggae, soca, dancehall, and calypso, moving your body to the lively melodies. Live performances by talented musicians and performers will keep the energy high, ensuring a night of unforgettable entertainment.

Don't miss this opportunity to embrace the Caribbean spirit and celebrate the arrival of spring in style! Tickets are available on AllEvents, so secure your spot today. Join us at the FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival, where cultures collide and unforgettable memories are made.



2 NIGHT Camping packages available: RV/CAMPER $200 | TENTS $150 Starting on Friday May 17 @ 5pm | 30 RV SPACES | 30+ TENT SPACES



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