Delegate Nicole Williams Newsletter - 02/28/2023
Dear Neighbors and Friends -
I am delighted to announce that as of this past Friday, February 24th, the House of Delegates swore in Delegate Ashanti Martinez to join the District 22 team. The Howard University alum will bring a fresh perspective to our district at 26 years old, the first Afro-Latino man to represent District 22, and the first openly gay member of the House of Delegates from Prince George's County. Delegate Martinez is succeeding now-state Senator Alonzo Washington. Senator Washington will complete the term of former state Senator Paul Pinsky who joined Governor Moore's administration. On behalf of District 22, I am excited to welcome Delegate Martinez to our team and look forward to the progress he will make for our district!
Black History Month Highlight: David C. Driskell
Our next Black History Month Highlight is a national scholar of African-American art and longtime Hyattsville resident David C. Driskell, who is best known for making his genre of artwork a distinct field of study. He was a practicing artist, teacher, collector, and art scholar during his illustrious career. Driskell was born in Georgia in 1931 and grew up in North Carolina. He completed the art program at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine in 1953, got his undergraduate degree in art from Howard University in 1955, and got his M.F.A (Masters of Fine Arts) at The Catholic University of America in 1962. He also did postgraduate study in art history in the Netherlands.
Driskell's work mainly focused on collage and mixed-media printmaking. He taught art at several universities nationwide, most notably being the Chairperson of the Art Department at the University of Maryland, College Park, from 1978 to 1983. Driskell went on to become a distinguished professor at the University of Maryland in 1995 and taught there until his retirement in 1998. He received several art awards throughout his life, including being one of twelve recipients of the National Humanities Medal presented by President Bill Clinton. His work is so renowned that the University of Maryland, College Park, named their center for the intersection of visual art with African American Studies and African Diaspora studies after him in 2001, aptly called the David C. Driskell Center. He passed away in 2020 in Hyattsville, MD at 88 years old due to complications with COVID-19. David Driskell is a prime example of academic excellence and dedication to creativity. He teaches us that consistent dedication to increasing scholarship and sharing your talents with the world will bring great success in life.
Black History Month Events in District 22
The celebration of excellence does not stop within this newsletter! Check out these February events within District 22 and more within Prince George's County to stay educated on black empowerment and to uplift your community:
Tuesday, February 28th from 4:00-5:00 PM @ the Hyattsville Branch Library in the Art Room
The Elephant We Don't See: A Diversity Dialogue - Life of Frederick Douglas
Tuesday, February 28th from 7:00-8:00 PM, virtual event
Wednesday, March 1st from 6:00-7:00 PM @ the Greenbelt Branch Library
Many hearings are coming up in the following week of the legislative session for bills that I am sponsoring. Here is a list of upcoming bill hearings and a summary of each bill.
HB0585: Public Safety - Use of Force Incident Reports
This bill will be heard on Tuesday, February 28th at 1:00 PM in the Judiciary Committee.
Altering reporting requirements for law enforcement or police officers involved in a use of force incident in the line of duty to include the reason for using force.
Requiring local law enforcement agencies to publish on their websites by January 1, 2024, and every 3 months thereafter, information about the use of force incidents reported for the preceding 3 months.
HB0748: Law Enforcement Officers - Sexual Contact With Person in Custody - Penalty
This bill will be heard on Tuesday, February 28th at 1:00 PM in the Judiciary Committee.
Altering penalties for sexual contact with a person under arrest, in detention, or otherwise in the custody of a law enforcement officer.
HB0956: Pregnant and Perinatal Drug Screening and Testing Workgroup
This bill will be heard on Tuesday, March 7th at 1:00 PM in the Health and Government Operations Committee.
Requiring the Secretary of Health to establish a Pregnant and Perinatal Drug Screening and Testing Workgroup to study and make recommendations about drug screening and testing for pregnant and perinatal patients and newborns.
Requiring the Workgroup to report their findings to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Health and Government Operations Committee by December 1, 2024.
HB0808: Reproductive Health Protection Act
This bill will be heard on Wednesday, March 8th at 1:00 PM in the Judiciary Committee.
Prohibits judges from requiring people to give certain testimony or statements or produce evidence in another state for a case involving an alleged violation of criminal law of the other state relating to legally protected health care.
Requiring, subject to certain exceptions, that a request for a foreign subpoena include a sworn statement that the subpoena does not intend or anticipate to further an investigation or proceeding related to legally protected health care.
Delegate Nicole A. Williams 2023-24 Scholarship
The 2023-2024 scholarship application is now available! Applications will be accepted from now until April 7, 2023. You are eligible for the scholarship if:
If you currently attend or will be attending any college or vocational school in Maryland next year
If you live in District 22 (to check, visit www.mdelect.net)
If you have at least a 2.5 GPA
Click here for more information on how to apply, as well as the link to the official application. Make sure that all parts of your application are complete before you submit it for consideration. Award winners will be announced in mid-May. Best of luck to everyone applying!
Article of the Week
The city of Greenbelt is taking further steps to emphasize the "Green" in their name. According to the Greenbelt News Review, the Greenbelt City Council heard multiple presentations at their last meeting, including one that introduced a large grant towards implementing a more structured city-wide composting program and another about a pilot program for more sustainable car washes. The grant for composting will fund a two-year pilot program for a curbside food scrap collection, and the City Council will partner with several organizations and recruit residents to volunteer to maintain the success of the program. The car wash program aims to have a self-service car wash in Greenbelt that is powered by solar panels and will capture, filter, and reuse the water from each car wash. To learn more about both of these pilot programs, click here.
Sharing to Save Lives: Upcoming Blood Drive
In the United States, the blood donation rates of African Americans are less than half of the donations of white individuals. There is an extreme need for increased blood donation from the African American population, particularly regarding the increase of African American recipients of blood transfusion, both specialized, such as sickle cell disease patients, and general hospitalized patients. These patients will have a better chance of receiving phenotype-matched or appropriate red blood cell units when there is a significant percentage of products in inventory from African American donors.
Come out to the upcoming community Blood Drive to support your fellow residents in Prince George's County! It will be on Friday, March 17th, 2023, from 1:00 pm- 6:00 pm at the District Heights Municipal Building at 2000 Marbury Drive, District Heights, Maryland 20747. There are blood shortages in Black & African American communities, and this blood drive aims to benefit the residents of Prince George’s County.
With Prince George’s County predominantly being a community of color and its population being majority African American, this event seeks to increase blood donations directly from our community. The event sponsors want to ensure that this event grows to be a countywide initiative and ask that you support us in making this endeavor possible. Donors may sign up to volunteer at the following link- https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/drive-results?zipSponsor=Sickle%20Cell%20Coalition%20of%20Maryland Students may sign up to volunteer to receive community service hours by March 3, 2023, at the following link- https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScEMe54UIDZH6WFFR3rB_DK_osHqtaLEwSQ-GPPaBaqD-UBwA/viewform?usp=pp_url
According to the CDC, COVID-19 Community levels are measured as Low, Medium, and High. At this time the federal government is planning to end the national COVID-19 state of emergency declaration on May 11th. This will potentially impact health benefits for Marylanders. Older adults (50 years and older), and individuals who are immunocompromised or have underlying medical or cardiac conditions should take necessary precautions to stay safe. Please click here to find the closest COVID-19 testing facility near you in Prince George's County.
Redefining Public Safety
If you are in need of conflict resolution and want an informal process to reach a win-win situation, consider reaching out to the Prince George's Community Collaborative Resolution Center! They are a division of Community Mediation Maryland (CMM) that provides free mediation services to all residents of Prince George's County. Their mediators are trained volunteers from the community who can resolve a conflict or situation at any stage. For more information:
As you may know, dialing 9-1-1 is the number to call when you need help and are in immediate danger. When dialing 2-1-1, you can receive information on immediate mental health support, hate-crime support, senior assistance, food and shelter support, and much more. Also, note that this information is provided in multiple languages. To learn more, please click here to explore Maryland's 2-1-1 site.
Prince George's County Department of Housing Community Development 2023-2024 Affordable Housing Portfolio:
The portfolio lists over forty upcoming and completed senior living communities and multi-family dwellings, now available to County residents. If you want to access more information about the new portfolio, you can watch the promotional video here.
If you are currently facing housing or rental concerns due to financial hardship, the organizations listed below can provide some support:
Maryland Homeowner Assistance Fund offers support mortgage relief, weatherization, housing counseling, and legal services.
Housing Counseling Services Inc. offers a variety of MD housing and rental assistance resources including but not limited to housing counseling, foreclosure prevention, utility assistance, and veteran support services
211 Maryland's database can connect you with local programs and resources, call 2-1-1 to speak with an Information and Referral Specialist or visit their website