Education and Community Outreach

Human Rights Camp

The Montgomery County Office of Human Rights facilitates a “Human Rights Camp." The purpose of the camp is to alleviate hate that is fueled by fear and ignorance by interaction and education. The program is designed to bring together students from diverse racial, cultural religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds for a weekend experience in interracial and intercultural understanding. This is also an introduction to civil and human rights subjects to include fair housing, fair employment, public accommodations, voter's rights and bullying prevention. Students will also participate in a fair housing poster contest. The winner will receive a cash award and public recognition. For more information regarding camp objectives, open the Human Rights Camp Purpose and Objectives file.

Location and Registration Information

The camp takes place annually, in the fall, at the YMCA’s Camp Letts facility in Edgewater, Maryland (near Annapolis). Registration is opened to all fifth grade students who attend Montgomery County Elementary Schools. However, only 100 students (50 boys and 50 girls) are selected to participate in the three-day session.

Student Selection Criteria

The criteria for attending the camp is based upon students who have demonstrated the following types of actions, words, and activities; or have an interest in diversity, tolerance, or human rights:

  • Students who have consistently demonstrated small (and large) acts of kindness and respect for alienated or neglected students and/or community members or people who may be perceived as "different";
  • Students whose actions or words have broken barriers between groups, increased the representation of under-represented groups in activities, healed divisiveness among groups, and who otherwise acted responsibly to promote respect and bridge differences;
  • Students who have taken moral stances on issues that might otherwise have been neglected;
  • Students who have initiated or modified existing programs or projects, or taken action by themselves to respond to current school and community needs.

Teachers, counselors, and administrators also recommend students who have exhibited a need in diversity, tolerance, or bully aversion training.

Human Rights Hall of Fame

In March 2001, the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights inducted the first 20 honorees into the Human Rights Hall of Fame. Since March 2002, the induction ceremony is held biennially. The inductees are honored for having made great personal sacrifices and contributions to human and civil rights in Montgomery County, either as trailblazers of the past or as current foot soldiers in the struggle.

To learn more about the Human Rights Hall of Fame, please visit the Human Rights Hall of Fame web page.

Network of Neighbors

The Network of Neighbors program was founded in 1977 on the belief that the local community can play an important role in combating acts of hate and violence. These acts are committed against persons or institutions because of race, religion, ethnicity, disability or sexual orientation.

Once the office of Human Rights is notified about an incident, a member contacts the victim and listens to the complaint, conveys concern, and offers assistance. The member assists in whatever way possible. The Network member maintains confidentiality, unless permission is received from the victim to share the particulars.

Eighty residents of Montgomery County were active participants in the Network of Neighbors program. The Office of the Human Rights currently works with the Committee Against Hate/Violence to perform many of the functions of the Network of Neighbors. Residents interested in this work should contact the Office of Human Rights.

Partnership Fund for Victims of Hate/Violence

Since 1987, the Partnership Fund has provided partial compensation for property damage to victims of racial, ethnic, religion, sexual orientation and disability based hate/violence. Acts of prejudice and hate are traumatic for both the targeted individuals and the community as a whole. The Partnership Fund's goals are to demonstrate community support for the victims and ease the financial consequences of such violence. A comprehensive program of monitoring, community education, law enforcement, and victim assistance, the Partnership Fund for Victims of Hate/Violence serves as a model for communities elsewhere. The Partnership Fund is a sub-committee of the Committee Against Hate/Violence.

To learn more about the Partnership Fund, please visit the Partnership Fund for Victims of Hate/Violence web page.