Syrian Supper and Cultural Exchange

St. John’s Grace invites you to enjoy an evening of fellowship and an authentic Syrian meal prepared by Madiha and Fatima, Syrian refugees whose love of cooking was passed down from their mothers. Proceeds from the event will go to support Madiha’s and Fatima’s families.


Kabsa (rice and chicken)

Kibbeh (meat pies)

Yalanji (stuffed grape leaves)

Tabbouli (tabbouleh)

Knafeh Nabulsieh (cheese pastry)

Baklava (nut pastry)


Sunday, April 29, 2018 at 4 pm

St. John’s Grace Fellowship Hall:  St. John’s Grace United Church of Christ, 1000 S. Rolling Road, Catonsville, MD 21228


Adults: $25 donation, Children 12 and under: $5 donation

Please contact Laura Prinn ( for tickets and Leah Hayes for all other questions (


A. How are tickets to be obtained? Is the expectation to send an email to the person listed?

Please contact Laura Prinn (, 410-897-2534) for tickets.

B. How is payment for tickets? Cash or check or Credit Card?

Cash or check. 

C. With tickets do I get them beforehand or do I show-up and my name is crossed off on a list?

Once payment is received, Laura will mail the ticket to the buyer.

D. What if I want to volunteer?

We do not need any additional volunteers

E. Where does the money go? Does it ALL go to the Syrian families?

All proceeds go to the support the Syrian Families

F. What if I have a Food Allergy/Gluten Free/Vegetarian?

The yalanji and tabbouli are both made without meat so that should be safe. You also do not need to have everything on your plate. However, if you have specific questions please send an email to Leah.


Meeting Notes – March 17, 2018

**Note: Names and email addresses have been withheld from these minutes. Please contact Catonsville Indivisibles ( for contacts or further information on anything below**

1. Shoutouts/Data Update

  • Thanks to all those who helped organize the Gubernatorial Forum!! It can be viewed on You Tube (search for United for Maryland).

2. Large Group Discussion

Health care Update

HB660 – Establishing the Office of Health Care Coverage in the Maryland Department of Health to establish and carry out the HealthcareMaryland Program to provide benefits to State residents who do not receive federal benefits through Medicare/TRICARE. In the house.

HB902/SB1008 – Prohibiting conversion therapy for minors. In the house.

Environmental Update

-Forest Conservation Act (HB766 / SB610).  Passed the senate committee hearing (6 to 5) with “ Favorable with amendment”.  House committee has not yet reported out. 

-Ban on polystyrene, aka “styrofoam”  (HB0538 / SB0651) .  “No recommendation” from senate committee hearing.   House committee has not yet reported out. 

Good news:  Baltimore City Council has passed a bill to have a ban on polystyrene giving restaurants and food vendors 18-months to phase out styrofoam containers, not the 90 days of earlier failed bills. At the end of that time, a $1,000 fine will be levied on businesses that don’t switch to other types of containers. 

Unfavorable reports:

-Ban on Chlorpyrifos  (HB0116 / SB0500) .  Unfavorable report from house committee hearing. 

-Clean Energy Jobs Act (HB1453 / SB732).  Unfavorable report from house committee hearing. 

-100% Clean Energy Act (HB0878).  Unfavorable report from house committee hearing. 

-Regional Carbon Cost Collection Initiative (HB0939).  Unfavorable report from house committee hearing.

Windfarm offshore Distance (HB1135 / SB1058).  Unfavorable report from house committee hearing.

Passed initial readings:

-Offshore Drilling Liability Act (HB1456 / SB1128).  Second reading passed in the house.  Second reading passed with amendments in the senate.  Intent would be to establish that an offshore drilling activity is an ultrahazardous and abnormally dangerous activity, and that a person that causes a spill of oil or gas while engaged in an offshore drilling activity is strictly liable for certain damages.

-U.S. Climate Alliance (HB0003 / SB0138).  Third reading passed.  In the second chamber?

Still no news:

-Community Healthy Air Act (HB0026 / SB0133).  No report from either committee.

Bad news:

Columbia Gas succeeded in receiving a permit to build the pipeline under the Potomac.

Other Legislative Updates

HB0152/SB1048 (SARA- Secure and Accessible Registration Act For stream lined and automatic voter registration)- Still in House Committee/ Senate appears to have passed it. Members should call their house delegates if they are on the committee.
HB1461 (SAFE – Supporting All Families Everywhere) – Important bill that clarifies role of Maryland law enforcement agents regarding federal immigration law – Still in House Committee. Call your house delegates ASAP if they are on the committee.

HB0888/SB707 – Ban Bumpstocks | Passed in House; Passed in Senate Committee (probable pass in Senate). Good news!

HB1646/SB1036 – ‘RedFlag’ Law to remove guns from people who pose an immediate and dangerous threat | Passed in House. Good news!

HB1655/SB0287 – MD Net Neutrality | Still in House Committee; Still in Senate Committee

Logistics for March 24 event March for Our Lives – Contact us if you would like to try to meet up at the March.

Logistics for April 14 event at NRA HQ & March for Science – Transportation has been arranged from the train/metro station to this event. Contact us if you would like to participate with us.

Represent Maryland a group focused on getting money out of politics is having a Rally the last day of the Legislative session Tues. April 9th from 6p-8p at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis. They want to partner with us. Basically, our name goes on their material for the event and we are given a 4-minute time slot to speak on topics related to the issue. In exchange we promote the event through our social media channels. It was discussed that Catonsville Indivisibles does want to sponsor the event regardless of whether we have a speaker.

Summer events:  

      • Summer Potluck will be scheduled at Patapsco State Park for around the end of July
      • Organizing is ongoing (targeting a date of Aug 12th – anniversary of Charlottesville) to have an educational event or rally against racism/discrimination. Contact us if you would like to volunteer.

Endorsements: Should Catonsville Indivisibles endorse county/state candidates?

    • If so when? If not, should we send out a questionnaire for all County candidates?

Input was provided from several members that belong to groups that do endorse candidates (e.g. SW Dems, MD Progressives).  Primarily, the input from these members is that a defined process is necessary.  It was decided that, because it is a bit late now given the upcoming primaries, that we would decide at or by the next meeting (April 7).  We determined that we would send out a survey to determine if endorsements are something that people want to do. Keep an eye out for this survey. The process would be laid out similar to that proposed at:

Outreach Committee Update:

The outreach committee provided an update on the refugee group we are sponsoring. Their situation is improving with both parents now employed. Better paying jobs would be desirable, so a list of skills will be compiled to this end. The children are in school and are receiving tutoring, although more tutors are needed. A fundraiser will be held for the families on April 29 at St. Johns Church on Rolling Road, consisting of an authentic Syrian meal. Flier to be posted on facebook.

Voter Registration:

The group will be compiling a list of locations where we might register voters, and members will start to seek permission from these locations.  Once we have a list, we will put together a schedule (hopefully by the next meeting).  One idea is to target the end of church services as people are leaving, that way it would not be a big time commitment if we have 2 people signed up each week for about an hour of time.

3. Q&A with Matt Gresick, candidate for Baltimore County School Board. Matt’s website can be viewed at:

4. Next Steps/Events

April 7th:  Next Full Member Catonsville Indivisibles Meeting – 10 am. Speaker: Mark Weaver, a Progressive Candidate for Maryland District 12.

March 24:  March for Our Lives, Washington D.C: 12 pm, between 3rd and 12th Street

April 14:  NRA HQ Protest & March for Science

May 12th:  Full Member Catonsville Indivisibles Meeting – 10 am.

Support the SAFE ACT


The opposition is working EXTRA hard against the SAFE Act and spreading lies! FAIR, Campaign For Liberty, and Help Save Maryland are working TOGETHER on this! Last year the opposition had 3,000 petitions against the Trust Act (similar to the SAFE Act) and this year they want 5,000 petitions! See SAFE Act PDF Sheet or SAFE Act Word Sheet of this post.

We NEED everyone’s help especially written testimony which is really easy even if you are unable to go to the hearing.

What needs to be done This Weekend?

  1. Please send written testimony to either Bonnie Campos or Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez It is BEST to send this by 12 p.m. Monday, March 12th, 2018. If you cannot get this in by 12 p.m. please get this in by the end of the business day.
  2. Please also sign and send a Letter of Support to either Bonnie Campos: or Delegate Gutierrez:
  3. It is BEST to send this by 12 p.m. Monday, March 12th, 2018. If you cannot get this in by 12 p.m. please get this in by the end of the business day.

*Note you can scan or take a picture with your cell phone camera then email this.

*What needs to be done Tuesday, March 13th, 2018?

  1. Go to the hearing if you are able. You can give oral testimony if you like but if you do please see Hearing Witness Guidelines.

Hearing: Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 @ 1 p.m (please arrive BEFORE 1 p.m. to allow extra time especially with parking in Annapolis) House of Delegates, 6 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD 21401, House Judiciary Room # 100

*What to do between now and Tuesday?

  1. Please keep making calls, leaving voicemail messages (even after hours), and sending emails/faxes to the delegates including those on judiciary committees. You can contact your delegates and any other delegates even if you are not a constituent!   They are elected Maryland delegates and you are a Maryland r­­­esident and voter!
  • PLEASE contact members of the Judiciary Committee especially Vallario and Dumais but if you can please contact all of them!
  • Find your delegates and any other delegates!   Remember each delegate represents ALL Maryland residents through their votes!

*Here is a sample script for calls that can also be modified for an email:

Hi, I am a constituent of yours and I would like you to vote for the SAFE ACT. I want our police force focusing on the task of keeping our streets safe, and not participating in immigration enforcement or the creation of registries of Marylanders. I also want to support police by allowing them to reject any detainer notices that are not accompanied by a warrant since those detainers are illegal. Please give my input to the delegate.


Email this to either Bonnie Campos or Del. Gutierrez:

Dear Members of the MD House Judiciary Committee, Chairman Joseph Vallario, Jr, Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez, and Senator Roger Manno,

I am writing to support the Supporting All Families Everywhere -SAFE Act (HB1461).

I live in Maryland, a State where residents pride themselves on the a rich history of supporting and caring for others in our communities and for standing up for our civil rights. Maryland enjoys an ethnically diverse population, which contributes to the benefits that our schools and communities are influenced by many languages and cultures. I am proud to be a member of this community and honor the diversity it has to offer. However, given the recent events related to anti-immigrant behavior, our communities have suffered unrest and everyone including our immigrant neighbors have become increasingly fearful to participate in community events, attend school or church service, or seek important services for all residents.

I am glad to know that the SAFE Act will dawn clean lines between the responsibility of our local police and federal immigration (ICE). It will allow local law enforcement to focus on keeping our communities safe and not take on the role of ICE. This will allow me and my neighbors to feel safe without being stopped due to the color of our skin, our accent, or the clothes we wear solely for the purpose of questioning our immigration status. I want me and my neighbors to be able to call the police when a crime is committed and report it without the fear of becoming the target for ICE. We rely on the local enforcement to keep our communities safe but it also takes a true trusting partnership when local law enforcement can rely on the community to help to solve crimes.

Additionally, I also feel our tax dollars designated for local law enforcement should not be use for federal immigration, but for local law enforcement.

Please stand up for all the people who live in Maryland, pass laws to protect our communities and keep our local law enforcement doing the job we ask of them, to protect and serve. Please vote to pass the HB1461 SAFE Act.

Thank you,
__________________________________(Print Name)

B. Send in Testimony for the Hearing

The testimonial should be brief and the people reviewing these will go through these quickly.   We need AS MANY AS POSSIBLE to counter the opposition. Numbers really do count here!

Basically, you need the following.

  • Your name
  • Where you live
  • Say you support the SAFE Act
  • Add one or a few personal reasons you support the SAFE Act.

Some suggested points. You can add your own points or reword these if you like. The most important thing is to get this in by Monday, March 12th, 2018 preferably by 12 p.m. or by the end of the business day to: or Delegate Ana Gutierrez:

Suggested Points To Add
Feel free to:
• Reword
• Add your own points

*NOTE: These will be read very quickly so it’s best to keep it brief.

Please help us foster Safe and Trusting Communities! The SAFE Act:

  • – Clarifies the role of local law enforcement
  • – Reduces the fear that local law enforcement may also be acting as ICE agents
  • – This leads to all residents being more comfortable to interact with local police
  • – Allow local tax dollars to be used for local law enforcement
  • -I want our police force focusing on the task of keeping our streets safe, and not participating in immigration enforcement or the creation of registries of Marylanders.
  • -I also want to support police by allowing them to reject any detainer notices that are not accompanied by a warrant, since those detainers are illegal.


BILL NO: HB 1461
DATE:             Month, XX, XXXX
BILL TITLE: Criminal Procedure – Immigration – Supporting All Families Everywhere (SAFE Act)
COMMITTEE:            House Judiciary Committee
POSITION:     SUPPORT or OPPOSE (choose one)
       Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez

 To: The Honorable Joseph F. Vallario, Jr., Chair, House Judiciary Committee, and Committee Members

(Add your information about why you support or oppose the bill.)

In closing, [you / your organization] recommends a/n (UN)FAVORABLE report.

Close with your First and Last Name, Address (Street, City, State, Zip Code)

*This should be emailed to Delegate Gutierrez Ana Sol Gutierrez Gutierrez and cc’ed to your legislators. You can also email this to Bonnie Campos at


Attending in Person as a Witness

House Judiciary Committee (JUD)
Delegate Joseph F. Vallario, Chairman
Delegate Kathleen M. Dumais, Vice Chairman
Witness Guidelines and Committee FAQ’s

Witness Guidelines:

  • Anyone wishing to testify in person on any bill must sign-in on the electronic witness sign-up computers by 12:30 p.m. on the day of the hearing. The sign-up computers are located in the lobby outside the committee room.
  • Witnesses – please do not read your written testimony. Please limit your testimony to no more than three minutes.
  • Witnesses should form panels of four whenever possible so that they can go up together. Following testimony by a panel of four, committee members may ask questions.
  • Written testimony must be submitted no later than two hours prior to the scheduled start of the hearing (generally, 11:00 A.M.).
  • Written testimony must include the following on the front page: the bill number, the name of the individual or organization submitting the testimony, and their position (Support, Support with Amendments, Oppose, or Informational).
  • Thirty copies should be submitted to the committee clerk in the committee room. Electronic testimony – facsimile or email – is not accepted.
  • The order in which bills are listed on the schedule is not necessarily the order in which the bills will be heard.
  • FOOD AND DRINK ARE NOT PERMITTED in the audience area and cell phones should be turned off.

Testimony FAQ:

  • If I am testifying on a bill, is it necessary to have written testimony?

No. However, if you do have written testimony, please submit 30 copies to committee staff by 11:00 A.M. the day of the hearing so that it may be distributed.

  • May I submit written testimony prior to the day of the bill hearing?

Yes, early in-person submission of testimony is welcome. Please do not mail testimony.

  • Do I have to come in person to listen to a bill hearing?

Committee bill hearings are streamed live over the Internet

2018 Maryland SAFE Act FAQ                 

What is it?
The Maryland Supporting All Families Everywhere “SAFE” Act clarifies the parameters of State and local law enforcement participation in Federal US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) efforts.

How does it work?
The Maryland SAFE Act takes proven community police policies and codifies them into State law. Clarifies that the Federal government do their job, without the assistance of our local police and the local police does theirs.

Why is it important?
Having an unambiguous law like the SAFE Act allows local law enforcement to better protect the communities they serve as well as reinforce the implementation of the communities’ Constitutional rights. Not only will communities have a clearer understanding of their rights, but law enforcement will have clear awareness of their role in protecting and serving these communities. It is important to delineate local law enforcement’s roles and responsibilities in order to prevent the violation of certain inalienable rights and local police want to prevent harm(ing) locally-based, community-oriented policing.[1]

Who does the SAFE Act apply to?
The SAFE Act applies to all persons in Maryland, reinforcing their constitutional rights. According to the U.S. Constitution, the Supreme Court and legal scholars, Constitutional rights apply to every single person in the United States, regardless of status.[2]

Will this law cost more to taxpayers?
No, it actually costs more money to deputize and train local law enforcement to act as ICE agents. Additionally, it costs police departments money to provide additional training, equipment and overtime. There is a cost to detain people[3] and State tax dollars are used to settle lawsuits for violation of constitutional rights. However, the greatest cost to a community can be devastating when people are afraid to go to the police to report crimes.[4]

What are the Benefits?
Studies have shown that the whole community benefits when everyone feels included. Our community’s success depends on making sure everyone who’s a part of it feels welcome. We need to welcome everyone in order to create a thriving economy. Welcoming communities have a higher median household income on average and lower unemployment.[5]


[2] Plyler v. Doe (1982) – “The courts have held that once an alien enters this country the Fifth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment protect them from being deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. These protections extend to an alien “whose presence in this country is unlawful, involuntary, or transitory.”

[3] Maryland Pays High Costs for Federal Immigration Enforcement – Maryland Center on Economic Policy. Link to pdf.

[4] Insecure Communities Report – the University of Illinois at Chicago. Link to pdf.

[5] The Effects of Sanctuary Policies on Crime and the Economy – Center for American Progress. Link to report.

PostCards to Voters Templates

PostCard Templates

Virginia 4 Voters Template: Pdf template used to send to Virginia Voters.

Immigration PostCards: Pdf template of pro-immigration messages.

Environmental PostCards Pdf template of pro-environment messages.

back of postcardA generic Jpg image of a back of a postcard.

Will You Vote PostCard

Will You Vote PostCard HiRes

This postcard was sent to Vistaprint. We used a glossy front and kept the back blank. We made sure the back was not glossy so we could add stamps and a message.

Maryland pre-filed bills

Visit the Maryland General Assembly website. Marylanders, read our General Assembly’s Leadership welcome message. Peruse the General Assembly website and familiarize yourself with it. Review the list of any pre-filed bills for
each chamber for the upcoming 2018 General Assembly. Look up bills relating to issues of concern to you and your efforts and review carefully. Review any past filings of the bills and/or cross filings. Set goals to address.

Issue: The Maryland General Assembly Leadership, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, have issued a welcome letter in which they denote the composition of the General Assembly. Also, their note extends an invitation to become familiar with the website and the legislative process. As they state in their message to us, “As the presiding officers of the Maryland General Assembly, we value your input into the many critical issues before the legislature, many of which can affect our lives as Maryland citizens for many years to come.” Visiting now will provide a proactive jump start to any 2018 state efforts.

Significance of Action: The Maryland General Assembly convenes on January 10, 2018 and runs through April 9, 2018 for 90 days. Already, the Maryland State Senate has pre-filed 114 bills and the House has pre-filed 70 as of December 13, 2017.

As many as 2500 bills can be filed during the session. Because there are very specific guidelines and timelines for each bill’s processing, it is imperative to jump on the review process early to establish your support / opposition to any bills, assess the potential impact on our communities and state and plan efforts to respectfully express support/opposition.

How: To visit the Maryland General Assembly website, visit and bookmark:

To view the 2018 Maryland General Assembly’s Leadership message, visit:

To view the 2018 Maryland General Assembly’s House bills filed to date, visit:

To view the 2018 Maryland General Assembly’s Senate bills filed to date, visit:

Maryland 2018 Legislative Summit Information

The Maryland Legislative Coalition is proud to present its first Legislative Summit aimed at political advocates interested in gaining insight into critical bills being introduced during the 2018 Maryland legislative session. The Summit, sponsored by Maryland Now, is an initiative arranged by local grass root organizations to increase voter’s breadth and depth of knowledge on important issues affecting Marylanders, including women’s rights, racial justice, voter’s rights, climate change, clean water and education.

The Summit will begin with a morning training session, conducted by Maryland Working Families, that will enlighten the audience on the Maryland legislative process and discuss best practices for influencing our elected officials. The afternoon session will introduce over twenty NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) that will present brief overviews of their legislative priorities and the bills they plan to introduce or support during the 2018 legislative period. Time will be allotted for participants to network with legislators, NGO’s and each other to acquire more information on significant legislative issues. Participants can choose to attend either the morning or afternoon sessions, or both.

Join us, our legislators, the ACLU, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Common Cause Maryland, Maryland State Education Association and other local organizations on Saturday, December 3rd to network and discover more about the up and coming Maryland Legislative Session. You will leave with the necessary information required to effect change and be an advocate for important issues that concern you as a citizen. The Maryland Legislative Coalition consists of the following grass root organizations: Together We Will – Baltimore Area, Indivisible Towson, Catonsville Indivisibles, Indivisible Montgomery, UMBC Progressives, Together We Will -Delmarva and WISE.

The Summit is being held at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Campus at UMBC Engineering Building Lecture Hall on Sunday Dec 3rd from 10am to 6pm. Free parking is available. Snacks and water will be provided. Bring a lunch or eat on campus.

Seats are limited, tickets are $5.00 and the event is expected to sell out quickly, so register soon. To attend the Legislative Summit, register at:

For more information contact: the Coalition, email:

CI Meeting Minutes – November 17

*For more information on any of the below topics, please contact catonsville indivisibles to be connected to the appropriate committee lead:

1. Preamble/Welcome/Introductions

2. Speaker: John Olszewski
John Olszewski is a candidate for County Executive who spoke on making Baltimore County government more accessible and responsive. He is a Baltimore County native and attended Sparrows Point High School, Goucher College, and UMBC. From 2006-2015, he served in the Maryland House of Delegates. For more information on John Olszewski, please see his website at:

3. Large Group Discussion/Updates (40 min)
•  Update on Refugee Groups we are Sponsoring
We are currently sponsoring a refugee family from Syria. They will be moving into Catonsville in December. They are currently in need of some bigger items, including bunk beds, a queen bed and mattress, couch, and area rugs. They also need tutoring for the two kids (math and english) who are in first and third grade. The father also needs tutoring for english – a male tutor would be better initially. If interested in volunteering or donating please contact Catonsville Indivisibles to be linked with the outreach coordinator.
•  Earned Sick Leave – Healthy Working Families Act
Last legislative session the earned sick leave bill (HR1) passed the general assembly, but was vetoed by Hogan. It is a top priority to ove-ride his veto this January. Please contact your representatives to pressure them to support this bill, especially if in District 44B (contact Shirley Nathan Pulliam). Support this bill by sending postcards, phone banking, and signing a petition. A story sharing session on sick leave (whether you benefit from it or do not) will be held at 4200 Edmondson Avenue Suite 100 on December 5 at 7pm. If you cannot attend and want to share a story, get a petition, or volunteer, please contact:
•  Maryland Pre-Legislative Summit, December 3, UMBC
The pre-legislative summit will be held on December 3. Catonsville Indivisibles is a sponsoring organization. From 10 am – 12 pm, Maryland Working Families will have a workshop on best practices for interacting with representatives. From 1 pm there will be a number of sessions/tables to discuss priorities for the 2018 legislative agenda.
Tickets at:
A gubernatorial forum is also being planned for either January 13 or 20. It is a free event, but donations will be needed.
• P2P Program Update
Currently targeting hard democrats. Volunteers needed to build relationships by knocking on doors, updating databases, etc.
• Healthcare Committee Update
The tax reform bill now includes a provision for cutting the Obamacare individual mandates, which would cause the ACA to collapse. Contact your representatives to oppose this. There will be a December 5 trip to DC to visit the senate offices.
• Harris Billboard Update
We really need for someone in District 1 (Andy Harris’) district to take over the billboard, especially the fundraising component. A meeting will be held with Carroll County progressives to pitch it to them.
• Ideas for voter registration
Start thinking of dates and locations for voter registration. We need to step this up after January. We may also run another voter registration training if there is enough interest.
• December Potluck
The potluck will be at the current monthly meeting location on December 16 from 11 am to 2 pm. It will be informal and you can drop in at any time. Please bring a dish to share. There will be crafts for kids and other activities.
• January Meeting
This will be a meet and greet with Allison Galbraith. Please email if you have a topic you would like discussed.

4. Next Steps/Events
-Maryland Pre-Legislative Summit, December 3, UMBC

-December Potluck – Dec 16th, 11-2 pm – Bring a dish. Families & friends welcome! Crafts for kids!

-Full member meeting, January 27, 10-12 pm – Meet and Greet with Allison Galbraith, candidate for the first Congressional District.