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The Community’s Library:
PGCMLS Launches Strategic Framework 2021–2024

By Nicholas A. Brown
PGCMLS

Largo, Md. (November 16, 2020)—The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) is honored to serve all Prince George’s County residents by providing access to services, educational resources, and engaging programs that support community needs and a high quality of life. PGCMLS is proud to announce the launch of its Strategic Framework 2021–2024, which will guide the work of the Library over the next three years with a new mission, vision, values, and strategic focus areas. The framework provides a foundation for ongoing collaborations between PGCMLS staff, the Board of Library Trustees, and community members to strengthen the Library’s role as a responsive and trusted community-driven organization.

The Library’s new mission, vision, and values reflect the community’s heritage and a bold and aspirational approach to the future.

• Mission: We build relationships that support discovery by providing equal access to opportunities and experiences.

• Vision: We provide a collaborative foundation within the community for all Prince Georgians to create the world they want to see.

• Values: We are Prince George’s Proud and put community first by being welcoming, curious, accessible, kind, collaborative, and resilient.

Strategic Framework 2021–2024 is the result of an 18-month strategic planning process led by the PGCMLS staff strategic planning team, the PGCMLS Board of Library Trustees, Margaret Sullivan Studio, and Ashana Crichton of Arc Growth. “Our strategic planning process was highly collaborative and focused on gathering and analyzing community feedback to shape the future of the Library,” said Roberta Phillips, the Library’s chief executive officer. “I am grateful to and proud of all who participated in shaping the future of PGCMLS.”

Community input and feedback will be essential to setting implementation goals for the Strategic Framework over the next year. Special initiatives will focus on five strategic focus areas: inclusion, literacy and learning, personal achievement, creativity, and healthy living. These focus areas align with the Prince George’s County government’s “Proud Priorities” and Forward Task Force Report, which respond to the immediate and long-term goals for developing a stronger Prince George’s County.

“For many community members, the Library is the most frequent and visible point of contact with the County’s government, providing access not just to library resources, but also to many services supplied by other public and private sector organizations. This makes collaboration and innovation key to the Library’s efforts to unlock and expand our community’s potential,” said Brett Crawford, President of the Board of Library Trustees.

Community members may explore the Library’s new Strategic Framework Microsite to learn more about the Library’s path into the future. Feedback and suggestions are welcome and may be submitted to pr@pgcmls.info. A downloadable version of Strategic Framework 2021–2024, featuring artwork by Prince George’s County-based artist Jay Durrah, is available at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eRhHhGcbMcFW-i-fr7K5miexaTXoSurb/view.

The Library will host two virtual community conversations to introduce Strategic Framework 2021-2024 and answer any questions. Both events are open to the public. Visit pgcmls.info/events for more information.

• Thursday, December 3 at 4 p.m.: Community Conversation with Roberta Phillips (registration not required)

• Monday, January 25 at 7 p.m.: Strategic Framework Virtual Town Hall (registration required)

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Strong Attitudes Supporting Sistahs, Inc. Joins Women Offering Wealth to Host a December to Remember Christmas Giveaway for Families
Through partnership(s), sponsorship(s) and community member(s)we can successfully spread hope and joy this holiday season.

By JERRE’ SMITH
Strong Attitudes Supporting Sistahs, Inc.

TEMPLE HILLS, Md. (November 17, 2020)—Strong Attitudes Supporting Sistahs, Inc. is getting in the holiday spirit by partnering with Women Offering Wealth, Hope Toys & Laughter and Port Towns Church to host an amazing virtual Christmas event on December 19, 2020 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. It is our hope this year to gift the families in Prince George’s County, MD and the surrounding areas with Christmas Surprises including a personal message from Santa and Gifts for registered families from major Sponsors including Prince George’s County (MD) Chapter, The Links Incorporated Donna C. Graves, President.

Families can register for A December to Remember Christmas Giveaway via christmasgiveaway.

eventbrite.com. This year due to the pandemic we wanted to continue to spread holiday hope and joy for this upcoming holiday season while continuing to promote social distance. To reach our goal, we are asking our friends, partners, and businesses in the community to contribute to our efforts in the following ways:

• Adopting a Family (On registered list)

• Donation of Gift Cards

• Monetary Donations (Donation direct link will be provided on Flier)

• Virtual Volunteer (Please email: volunteer@womenofferingwealth.org)

• Businesses (with products and or services) offering coupons, free products, and services are appreciated

To learn more about our Christmas event, including how to become a sponsor or volunteer please contact 202-601-0333 or email womenofferingwealth@gmail.com

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Prince George’s Community College
African American Studies Institute Receives Grant for Black Culture Matters Virtual Series

By SONJI JOYNER
PGCC

LARGO, Md. (November 19, 2020)—Prince George’s Community College’s (PGCC) African American Studies Institute (AASI) received a $1,000 grant from the Maryland Humanities Council to support its groundbreaking virtual community series: Black Culture Matters conceived by newly appointed AASI Director Dr. Iyelli Ichile.

The four-part series examined ways in which people of African descent have understood and expressed their own humanity and affirmed cultural traditions, memories, and meaning-making with which they have resisted being thingified. Discussions offered historical insight followed by live question and answer sessions, which allowed the community to think about the ways in which expanded knowledge might inform the racially-charged present moment.

Since August 28, the Black Culture Matters lectures featured a diverse lineup of speakers and topics, which included “Celebrating While Black: From Juneteenth to Black August” featuring Dr. Karanji Keita Carroll; “Black Hair-atage, History and Healing” featuring Dr. Afiya Mangum-Mbillshaka; “Writing Freedom: Black Literature and Social Justice” featuring Dr. Tony Medina; and “Media, Music, and Memory” featuring Dr. Jared Bell.

“My vision for Black Culture Matters and for AASI was to provide meaningful educational experiences concerning people of African descent while upholding the imperatives of Africana Studies as both an academic discipline and a force for social transformation,” said Dr. Iyelli Ichile, director of AASI and History professor at PGCC. “I could not be prouder of the important work presented and discussed during our Black Culture Matters series. In partnership with Maryland Humanities Council, the series exceeded our goals of registering more than 4,000 worldwide online participants, including Australia,” she added.

The mission of the African American Studies Institute at Prince George’s Community College is to facilitate the critical study of the realities and possibilities of people of African descent—both in and beyond the Prince George’s County learning community. Anchored in the Division of the Humanities, English, and Social Sciences at PGCC, the AASI engages in digital outreach, educational programs, research, and community partnerships. The primary goal is to create spaces in which Black lifeways are affirmed, justice is a top priority, and healthy futures are envisioned.

 

Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities.

 

Named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance designated by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security (2015-2020), Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) provides high-quality education and training for the progressive and career-oriented residents of Prince George’s County. From new high school graduates and career seekers to more seasoned professionals and senior citizens looking to enhance their skillsets, PGCC is comprised of students who represent a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and goals. Serving nearly 35,000 individuals annually, the College is the first choice for higher education for residents of Prince George’s County. Collaborative partnerships, responsive degree and training programs, and a commitment to student success enables PGCC to address diverse education and workforce development demands. For more information, visit the college website at www.pgcc.edu.

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Hogan Details Further Efforts to Fight Pandemic Surge

By PHILIP VAN SLOOTEN
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (November 17, 2020)—”This virus is spiking out of control,” Gov. Larry Hogan, R, said during announcements Tuesday restricting visitations to hospitals and nursing homes and ordering 10 p.m. closing times for restaurants and bars, all in an effort to tackle an ongoing COVID-19 surge.

“We are very concerned that hospitals in western Maryland are already at capacity,” Hogan added, citing rising rates of positivity and hospitalizations, most significantly in rural areas.

In response, Hogan issued a new emergency order, effective Friday at 5 p.m., closing bars and restaurants at 10 p.m., limiting capacity for retail and religious spaces to 50%, prohibiting fans at racetracks and stadiums, and implementing new hospital surge management rules.

New surge rules include restricting hospital visitations to end-of-life care, obstetrics, guardians of minors, and support for people with disabilities, patient transfer from hospitals at or near capacity, guidance to avoid elective procedures that may require ventilation, ICU or nursing facility care.

Nursing home visits were also limited to compassionate care with visitors being required to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to their visit. This is in addition to mandatory twice-weekly testing for nursing home staff and mandatory weekly testing for residents.

These restrictions are in addition to previous indoor dining reductions from 75% to 50%, mandatory telework implementation for state employees and out-of-state travel advisories, all announced on Nov. 11.

Dr. Thomas Scalea, the physician-in-chief of the Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center, spoke further on the plan for hospitals near or at capacity to more easily transfer patients to available hospitals when necessary.

“Now a single phone call will give (providers) access to the appropriate level of critical care services,” Scalea said.

As of Tuesday [Nov. 17], the Maryland Department of Health reported nearly 170,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, over 1,000 hospitalizations and over 4,000 deaths.

Scalea and Hogan noted lessons learned during the first surge beginning in March that are now saving lives.

“I can’t remember learning this much, this fast about a disease. That doesn’t mean everybody lives though,” Scalea cautioned. “They’re not universally successful. We’d be really happy to (use these lessons) less often.”

Hogan also was cautiously optimistic about the state seeing fewer deaths from the disease than during the early stages of the pandemic.

However, he stated that while the first wave affected mostly suburban areas, this current surge is hitting western Maryland particularly hard, especially Allegany and Garrett counties.

“Certain people there had a false sense of security,” Hogan said, referring to the western counties where cases are spiking. “Maybe they weren’t being as careful and not wearing masks. Now they’re calling us, begging for help, and we’re sending strike teams and moving patients out of their crowded hospitals.”

He stated another problem is with contact tracing compliance. Many refuse to give information to tracers regarding possible COVID-19 exposure.

“A little more than half, if we contact them, they don’t want to participate,” Hogan said. “We have to get the word out for people to participate.”

But one area of critical success has been with the state’s electronic exposure notification system.

MD COVID Alert is a mobile phone app designed to assist contact tracing efforts and help limit the community spread of the disease by alerting users to possible virus exposure.

The app was launched Nov. 10, and Hogan stated almost a million Marylanders have already signed up for the system.

“The battle’s not getting any easier,” he said. “But we have more weapons and more soldiers on the field, and we’re in a better position to fight back.”

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