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Marching for Science to deny the deniers

  • Published in News

IMG 3359Protesters descend on Washington, D.C. in support of science PHOTO BY ABBY CRUZWASHINGTON, D.C. — Virginia resident Michael Griffith has always loved rocks. 

“I’ve been a rock hound ever since I was a little kid,” said Griffith. 

Although Griffith, age 56, never completed his geology degree, he continues to value the science. He said that enduring interest brought him to the March for Science on Saturday. 

“It is an uphill climb to convince the powers that be that this is important,” Griffith said.

He attended the March in 2017, during which he said it was pouring rain.

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Montgomery County residents participate in national March For Our Lives

  • Published in Local

Local students and teachers were among the thousands of people participating in the March For Our Lives demonstration in Washington, D.C.  PHOTO BY ABBY CRUZMontgomery County students and teachers were among the thousands of people participating in the March For Our Lives demonstration in Washington, D.C. PHOTO BY ABBY CRUZ  WASHINGTON, D.C. — Parents, children, students, and teachers from all over Montgomery County rallied at the nation’s capital for the countrywide March For Our Lives demonstration in response to the increasing outbreaks of gun violence across the United States and calling for more attention to current gun control issues.

“I am marching today to proclaim that the culture of violence must be over and that assault weapons need to be banned. I want my daughter and their whole generation [to know] no matter what race you are, what class you are, our society deserves safety,” said Kolya Braun-Greiner, a 62-year-old Takoma Park resident, whose daughter currently attends The Siena School in Silver Spring. Braun-Greiner wants kids “to be able to walk the streets, to be able to go to school, to study with the freedom that they are not going to be shot down. All of this needs to stop, we have to put an end to the gun violence.”

While plenty of adults were present, young people attended the march in vast numbers. Students from various Montgomery County high schools participated in events including attendance of a pre-rally by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), and speaking at the march.

“Montgomery County kids have definitely been a huge part of this,” said Elana Tobb, 17, a senior at Sherwood High School. “This is the first time that I think our county has really been involved in a [leadership] position with something like this.”

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Reasons for activism

GovernorBillSigning 1bLife is very much like a box; you can keep taking from it but there comes a time when you have to start putting things back into it or else be faced with an empty box or, to extend the analogy, a possibly less-fulfilled life.
That is where activism and advocacy come into play. Advocacy is a means of putting something back into that box of life by doing something that benefits the many and not just the individual, contrary to the Ayn Rand teachings.
My road to becoming an activist came rather late in life. During my rather lengthy federal career I focused on the many challenging issues I was involved in. These included such issues as addressing the security threat created by moving cargo under bond across the nation, especially in the post 9/11 environment, during my time at U.S. Customs.
It included implementing programs designed to more fully unify the more than 22 disparate entities comprising the newly-created umbrella known as the Department of Homeland Security while serving in that department. It included, while at FEMA post Katrina, estimating the needs and identifying the capabilities and resources at the local, state and federal levels prior to the advent of the next great disaster to, thereby, ensure a more effective response and recovery to avoid what is currently happening in Puerto Rico.
It wasn't until I left federal service that I became much more interested in public policy and community service leading to my becoming much more active in raising my voice to influence that public policy. This, to me, is the very definition of the word activism.

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Computer scientist runs for House of Delegates

  • Published in State

Brian Crider 400x400Brian Crider. COURTESY PHOTO    Brian Crider, a computer scientist, says he was compelled to run for the House of Delegates in District 19 because of his concern for Maryland and his background in activism.

“I’ve been an activist for many years, and we’re just not making the progress we need,” said Crider. “I feel like we can do more, so my goal is to make Maryland better.”

Crider, a Democrat, says that part of what he hopes to do if elected is make people aware of resources that can help them. However, he also has a lot of ideas for things he wants to change.

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“Our Voices” brings advocacy to Silver Spring

  • Published in Local

Akieal WIlliams and Jarret Smith talk with interns from OVM before the meetingAkieal WIlliams and Jarret Smith talk with interns from OVM before the meeting. PHOTO BY CAROLYN KOMATSOULIS   It’s going to be an uphill battle for Our Voices Matter, a group hoping to promote civic engagement in Silver Spring and inspire activism for local issues.

The group began after Will Jawando ran for state delegate in 2014 and realized that the people in the Long Branch neighborhood where he grew up didn’t feel like their vote mattered.

“‛Why are you asking for my vote? My voice doesn’t matter,’” John Randall, OVM’s director of operations, said about what Jawando heard while canvassing. “I think people were just feeling a sense of powerlessness,” said Randall.

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