Dear trusted leaders of Frederick County and its municipalities:

The COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented. None of us can possibly predict what comes next. But in this moment of great uncertainty and fear, there is hope in our community coming together and leaving nobody behind. We commend Frederick County’s swift and compassionate efforts to enact crucial measures that protect the health and welfare of residents, including the closing of schools and public facilities while still offering free meals to children, suspension of utility shutoffs, and postponement of evictions. This response has demonstrated how seriously you take the recommendations of our leading health and emergency management professionals.

The magnitude of this crisis requires that our local governments build on this progress and go even further to address the unique challenges facing the low-income residents of Frederick. According to the latest Asset Limited Income Constrained and Employed (ALICE) report, 39 percent of county households can’t afford the basic cost of living, and even before COVID-19, were just one emergency away from extreme hardship, including homelessness. As you plan actions and issue recommendations, the impact on the most vulnerable and marginalized families must inform every choice.

Many don’t have the option to follow the limited public health guidelines issued so far. People who work hourly jobs and are not covered by paid sick leave have no option but to go to work — leaving children unsupervised at home, and inevitably in streets and public parks. For these families, the risk of going hungry and falling further behind will sadly outweigh the risk of contracting and spreading the virus.

Low-income residents, particularly families, should not have to choose between protecting their financial well-being or protecting their health. They should be able to do both. It is the responsibility of our state and local government and institutions to make sure that the needs of every resident of Frederick County are addressed. We cannot risk waiting for federal assistance and guidance, which may be too little and too late.

There are many specific measures that could help keep our poorest residents, and our community as a whole, safe through this crisis. We call on Frederick County and city officials to consider the following local actions:

  • Providing various academic alternatives to accommodate those students, particularly elementary school students, without a computer at home.
  • Ensuring paid sick leave is provided to the working people in our community.
  • Postponing, or assisting with, rental and mortgage payments to allow working people to prioritize their own health and the health of their community.
  • Advocating a legal and judicial stay, prohibiting debt collection.
  • Offering free basic transit during this difficult period.
  • Expanding temporary housing for homeless residents will decrease transmission within vulnerable populations.

We, the undersigned, support these types of measures and any other efforts that provide necessary resources equitably, to ALL Frederick County communities. Please count on our personal support and the support of our houses of worship and community-based organizations for whatever is needed to keep our communities safe, healthy and thriving. By allowing our compassion and unity to lead us, we will emerge from this crisis as a stronger community than ever before.

I Believe in Me Inc.

RISE Coalition (Resources for Immigrant Support and Empowerment)

Centro Hispano de Frederick

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Frederick

NAACP of Frederick County

AACF (Asian American Center of Frederick)

Spanish Speaking Community of Maryland

Justice Jobs of MD

Karen A. Yoho, community advocate, Frederick

Daniel Eliezer, community activist, Frederick

The Meeting of Frederick Socialists

Claudia Hernandez, coordinator of family engagement and partnerships, FCPS

Tarolyn Thrasher, vice president, Justice Jobs of MD

Nick Brown, executive director, Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs

Ana L. Mejia, community liaison/homeless coordinator, Waverley Elementary School

Kavonte Duckett, emergency shelter director, Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs

Desiree Tucker, executive director, Women Solve

Maria Rodríguez, community activist for Spanish-speaking families

Dr. Syed Wasimul Haque, president, Frederick County Muslim Council

Rabbi Jordan Hersh, Beth Sholom Congregation

Krisma Jackson, youth services coordinator, Housing Authority of the City of Frederick

Rabbi Simon Stratford, Kol Ami Congregation

Khalil Elshazly, president, Islamic Society of Frederick

The Rev. Mark Groover, Asbury United Methodist Church

The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg, minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick

The Rev. Dr. Eliezer Valentín-Castañon, senior pastor, Trinity United Methodist Church

The Rev. Adrien P. Dawson, rector, All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Frederick

The Rev. Barbara Kershner Daniel, Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ

Ron Young, District 3, Maryland state Senate

Karen Lewis Young, District 3A, Maryland House of Delegates

Ken Kerr, District 3B, Maryland House of Delegates

Kai Hagen, Frederick County Council

Jessica Fitzwater, Frederick County Council

Liz Barrett, Frederick County Board of Education

Donna Kuzemchak, alderwoman, city of Frederick

Derek Shackelford, alderman, city of Frederick

Roger Wilson, alderman, city of Frederick

Ben MacShane, alderman, city of Frederick

(13) comments


If you are compassionate during a time of crisis, you shall become a victim. Leave stupidity to those that are truly stupid. Save yourself and the ones you love first, then attack the stupid ones.


Is this political emotionalism a signal that Maryland state citizens will be receiving an additional check to augment the federal money every American will be receiving? Will then there be a stage three of the financial assistance be coming from the county to each county resident? I will not apologise for my absence of sentiment when right now - its about government isn't it? And what government has been entrusted to manage, anticipate and have ready. Platitudes of emotional pleas mean little in theater of war. And the government has told us we are - at war. We are all at all times one.


Wouldn’t the 4 City aldermen who signed the letter have the ability and presumably the votes to amend the City budget in order to implement some or all of the recommendations? Money can easily be found by reducing the size of the staff in the mayor’s staff. Aldermen: Return to the effective staffing levels under Mayor Randy McClement and used the saved funding to implement the recommendations that you’ve signed onto.


" It is the responsibility of our state and local government and institutions to make sure that the needs of every resident of Frederick County are addressed."

No, it is not. It is the responsibility of the govt., at all levels, to ensure the basic mechanisms are in place, but it is not the responsibility of such to address the needs of every resident / citizen / person. Police, fire, public works, county health facilities. The responsibility rests squarely upon the individuals shoulders. The facilities are available, how, or when, you decide to utilize them is upon you.


Nope ... it's your individual responsibility to make sure you're ok's NOT the government's problem. Constitution, Amendments ... those things ... It's government's responsibility to uphold the Constitution and Amendments, and by that it mean they cannot keep you from protecting yourself and others. There is no inherent responsibility for the government (federal, state nor local) to protect you.


The facts presented are true and real. A significant % of our community live on the edge and this recession and isolation will be devastating. The undersigned's concerns are warranted but I suggest they have fallen short in their plea for help.

Everything they suggested is via the government. And they are valid recommendations. But the real question is: What are you going to do personally to help? Can you afford to pay someone to mow your lawn? Are you able to share food? This is an opportunity for "we as the people" to step forward. Maybe social media sites can help identify those in the most dire straits. And maybe groups of helping hands and angels can find ways to offer assistance. This is a time for us to let our lights shine.


Meanwhile, the County Council, on Tuesday night, voted 6-1 to increase the real estate transfer recordation tax by 16.4%...unbelievable!


We're looking through the same lens this morning jsk. When it is distilled down to survival, "we" are all that remains and we must gather together as one.



Alice Jones

Very well written, ole. Thank you.


Are you looking for a job, Jim?



Not looking for a job but i would like to help.. Hopefully, hopefully this may not be a long duration event. But if it is it could present huge problems for people on the edge. Today I lined up work for someone. Cleaning a shed and building a garden fence.That person who worked for an auction company found themselves out of a job and broke Certainly there must be ways to get money to folks outside government. People spoke of supporting local businesses. If a family is short of cash a restaurant meal donated from someone's favorite restaurant could help two ways. Not looking for a job, just a way to help.


JSK - Plus 10 and more - this is how we have to think.

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