Summer, Pride and a Vaccine Clinic
Dear Neighbors and Friends -
Summer is officially here! Along with summer comes several important holidays and events. June is National Pride Month. A few short years ago, many in the LGBTQ+ community were given the right to marry legally. I am proud that the Biden-Harris Administration has followed in the steps of the Obama Administration and further ensured protections for Trans men, women, and youth. I thought it was important to give my platform to someone who can speak truth to the historical significance of Pride month and the essential role the LGBTQ+ community has had in ensuring liberty and justice for all in America. Ethan Sweep is a councilman from Berwyn Heights and one of the many out and proud elected officials here in District 22. An alumnus from North Dakota State University and researcher in the agriculture sector with an emphasis on sustainable growth practices; Councilman Sweep has been an essential voice and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community in Prince George's County and the entire state of Maryland. I encourage you to read Councilman Sweep's letter and engage in productive conversation on being a better ally, co-conspirator, and advocate in the struggle for a better America.
In addition to June being Pride month, June is also when millions of Black Americans across the country celebrate Juneteenth. On June 19, 1865, 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. The Union Army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state were free by executive decree. Thus, this day came to be known as "Juneteenth" by the newly freed people in Texas. This year, the City of Greenbelt and several other groups will host its first Juneteenth Celebration. I hope you all will come out, enjoy the festivities and hopefully learn something new.
Lastly, I would like to thank you all for your tremendous outpouring of love and support regarding my father's death. Thank you to all of my colleagues in Annapolis in the House of Delegates and State Senate. If you are able, please consider donating to the National Alzheimer's Association in honor of my father Rev. Samuel Mullinax. Together we can find a cure for this disease. I encourage you all as we continue to move past the pandemic, hold your loved ones close, and most importantly, be kind to one another.
Hello friends and neighbors, LGBTQ+ Pride Month is a time for celebration, remembrance, and protest. A time where members of the LGBTQ+ community, and our allies, come together to support one another. A celebration of the incredible diversity across our community, and giving voices to those who exist at its margins. Pride is also a time for us to express our authentic selves, which requires the self-acceptance of our LGBTQ+ identities. Pride is a time to move past the pain of feeling unwanted, the noise of those saying we’re unnatural, and the trauma of feeling judged for who we love. Pride gives us a space to free ourselves and move forward from these burdens as we wave rainbow flags, march in parades, and find peace on a dance floor. However, some take it upon themselves to define who, or what can be seen as LGBTQ+ Pride. These people blatantly ignore our history of gay liberation, which was fought by trans women, non-binary, and queer people of color. They would rather forget our community had an entire generation of LGBTQ+ leaders stolen by an HIV/AIDS epidemic the government sought to ignore. Most importantly, they choose to ignore the ongoing struggles of our community, namely bills attempting to ban trans youth from participating in sports and the continued dehumanization of queer POC. This Pride month, as we emerge from a year of conflict, turmoil, and isolation, it’s important we come together as one community, and as one family. That we support those who need our help most and remember those who have given their lives for our liberation. Now, more than ever, participating in Pride means supporting all colors of our beautiful rainbow.
Happy Pride Month!
Ethan Sweep (he/him/his)
DLLR: Unemployment Insurance
Governor Larry Hogan has previously announced that he has instructed the Maryland Department of Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance to begin the process of reinstating the requirement for new and current unemployment insurance claimants to actively search for work and engage in reemployment activities each week.
In March 2020, the requirement to actively search for work was temporarily suspended for all unemployment insurance claimants due to the adverse economic conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With Maryland making great strides in its economic recovery and employers reopening for business, this suspension will be lifted in the coming weeks.
NOTE: The federal unemployment insurance programs have not ended and will continue until July 3rd. If claimants are waiting to receive an eligibility determination for any federal programs, the Division will ensure that they receive all payments owed to them for all weeks prior to July 3 that they are determined eligible for.
Around the County
I have partnered with Doctor's Hospital and Luminis Health to host two pop-up vaccine clinics in the District. The clinic will take place on June 25, 2021 (Pfizer - Dose 1) and July 23, 2021 (Pfizer - Dose 2). The clinic will be located at the Solid Rock Church (5401 Good Luck Rd, Riverdale, MD 20737). As the county and state continue to roll back restrictions, it is important that we all are vaccinated. In the coming days, my office will be sending out more information. If you or a loved one have not received the vaccine or are missing your second dose, please consider coming out. Until then, be well.