Indivisible HoCoMD 2018 Annual Report

I  Introduction

The 2016 election mobilized progressive activists and groups throughout the country. The Indivisible Movement began in December 2016 when two Congressional staffers posted online a handbook to guide resistance to the Trump presidency. By February 2017, less than two months later, 3,800 local groups had formed, calling themselves Indivisible chapters. Several months later the Indivisible Movement formally began with this mission:tofuel a progressive grassroots network of local groups to resist the Trump Agenda. Now, Indivisible is a recognized national force with more than 6,000 groups nationwide, more than 5 million online Guide views, and over 500,000 actions. Indivisible chapters have been covered by news media, including CBS News and The Rachel Maddow Show, and recognized by politicians for their contribution to Democratic wins in local and state elections.

Indivisible HoCoMD started modestly with a house meeting in Columbia in January 2017 attended by 37 people.  Since then, we have grown to a functioning organization with more than 500 people on the  mailing list, 10 active Action Teams, a website, a Facebook page with public and private pages, Twitter account, and weekly e-mail calls to action. Our membership meetings draw prominent speakers including Senator Van Hollen, Congressmen Elijah Cummings, John Sarbanes, and Dutch Ruppersberger, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, and Indivisible co-founder Leah Greenberg. Indivisible HoCoMD members have joined national marches and local rallies, organized town halls, registered new voters, lobbied elected officials, and fought for progressive legislation at the local, state, and national level.


II  Status of Indivisible HoCoMD

Indivisible HoCo MD is reaching more people in the county and beyond.  Our mailing list has grown steadily from 181 in March 2017 to 510 in December 2018.

Beginning with 4 Action Teams in January 2017, Indivisible HoCoMD now has 10 active Action Teams. (See Appendix A for a list of Action Teams and Facilitators.)

  • Aging and People with Disabilities
  • Defend Democracy (formerly Conflicts of Interest)
  • Education
  • Economic Equity (new in 2019)
  • Energy and Transport (new in 2019)
  • Less Plastic Please
  • Health
  • Immigration
  • Red2Blue
  • Communications


Social Media Presence:

  • The Indivisible HoCoMD website was set up in March 2017. Our website changed its look and management in January 2018, adopting a new platform shared with other Indivisible groups nationwide. Throughout 2018, there have been 30,000 visits to the website, a dramatic increase since 2017. The two months with greatest number of visits were October (7,500) and November (6,200).


  • The Indivisible HoCoMD Facebook page was set up in February 2017. Currently, the private Facebook site has 217 members. Early in 2018, we had about 60 views per post. That dropped to 30 to 40 views per post in March/April with negative publicity for Facebook. Since the 2018 election, the private page is receiving about 3 views per post. The public Facebook page has had 4,900 post engagements for December 2018 and has reached about 17,000 in that month.


  • Indivisible HoCoMD set up a Twitter account (@indivisiblehoco) in March 2017. Currently, ourTwitter account has 745 followers. We sent out 2,448 tweets in 2018. For the month of December 2018, there were 58 tweets, about 2 per day, down from 4 in January 2017.  There is a 1.8% engagement rate, that is, someone else commenting on or retweeting a tweet.


  • Indivisible HoCoMD communicates actions to its members through weekly e-mail Updates and occasional Action Alerts. During 2018, we sent over 465,000 emails with an average open rate of 37%, well above the expected average of 22%, as estimated by MailChimp.Our emails are frequently forwarded, increasing our reach.


III  Major activities/accomplishments in 2018

Indivisible HoCoMD members have been very active in 2018, engaging in a variety of activities to promote a progressive agenda including community outreach, political activities, and lobbying with elected officials.

Education/community outreach

Town Halls: Indivisible Action Teams have hosted one town hall in June 2018, featuring Senator Chris Van Hollen. The meeting’s objective was to brief members on our successes and failures during the 2018 Maryland Legislative session and to recruit participants to work on local and state elections.

Community Presentations: Action Teams have worked to inform community members through meetings—many with guest speakers—and topic-specific presentations.

  • The Immigration Action Team has:
    • Prepared a PowerPoint presentation, Understanding the Immigration Debate, with national and Maryland information. In 2018, the Immigration Action Team has given 9 presentations to more than 400 people in a variety of venues including the League of Women Voters, churches, and several assisted living facilities.
    • Prepared a weekly Immigration Newsletter with a list of significant news and feature articles on immigration from a wide range of established and independent media outlets. These lists are e-mailed to 222 subscribers and posted on the Indivisible HoCoMD website (
    • Partnered with Howard County Community College to host a Diversity Film Festival: The Immigrant Experience,” February 26-March 2, 2018.


  • The Less Plastic Please Action gave the following:
    • Presentation to about 30 doctors and nurses at Kaiser Permanente in Columbia on the health hazards of plastics. As a result, the facility stopped providing Styrofoam cups and plastic coffee stirrers.
    • Presentations on Myths of Recycling, Environmental Justice, Fracking, and Elements in and Process of Making Plastics for Howard County College Sustainability Day to about 50 people.


  • The Health Action Team collaborated with the Maryland Health Exchange to educate community members and increase enrollment in the Affordable Care Act. Health Team members set up information tables in the lobbies of several branches of the Howard County Libraries at least 5 times during the enrollment period. The Team also posted information about the Health Exchange in libraries, grocery stores, and other businesses and community centers around Howard County.


2018 Election: Maryland and Howard County

  • IndivisibleHoCoMD members ran for the State Senate, Howard County Council, and the Howard County Democratic Central Committee. Three of five candidates won office at the county and state level, and two members won positions on the Democratic Central Committee.


  • IndivisibleHoCoMD endorsed the HoCoForward slate for the Howard County Democratic Central Committee, and all 16 members won.


  • The Red2Blue/Voting Rights team partnered with other Howard County community service groups on a highly successful voter registration/get out the vote effort for the June 2018 primary elections. Volunteers knocked on more than 1,180 doors and held a voter registration drive in the targeted precinct. In this precinct, voter turnout increased from 15% of all registered voters in the 2014 mid-term election to 33% of all registered voters in the 2018 mid-term primary election. In contrast, voter turn-out in all of Howard County increased by only 2.72 percentage points in the same time period.


  • Many Indivisible HoCo MD members worked on the 2018 mid-term elections for county and state candidates: canvassing, fundraising, phone banking, and writing postcards. We helped flip the following seats from Republican to Democratic:
    • two seats in the Howard County District 9, Maryland General Assembly,
    • Howard County Executive, and
    • Howard County Sheriff.


  • The Immigration and Education Action teams hosted candidates for the Maryland General Assembly, Howard County Council, and Board of Education at regularly scheduled team meetings to promote supportive policies and legislation.


  • The Immigration and Education Action Teams submitted questions on immigration to all candidates running for Howard County Council, Maryland General Assembly, and the Board of Education and posted responses on the Indivisible website.


  • The Education Team hosted a Board of Education candidate forum in September 2018 at the Miller Branch of the Howard County Public Library. All eight candidates attended as well as about 60 community members.


  • The Education team formally endorsed three candidates for the Board of Education race. Two of the three were elected.

Political Action:  Howard County and Maryland

  • The Health Action Team met with Senator Ben Cardin and State Senator Gail Bates to lobby for the Affordable Care Act.


  • The Immigration Action Team started holding demonstrations against Trump’s family separation policy every Friday night in June 2018 and continued until November.As many as 40 people joined the demonstrations weekly from at least 5 counties and including candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, Maryland general assembly, Orphans’ Court, Board of Education, HoCo Democratic Central Committee, and others. An estimated 68,000 commuters saw the signs every week.


  • The Immigration Action Team partnered with #OneHoward, FIRN (Foreign-born Information and Referral Network), and Saint John Evangelist Roman Catholic Church to implement a survey among parishioners attending three Spanish-language masses at St John’s  in July 2018. A total of 276 parishioners responded. Survey results show that about 20% of respondents have experienced discrimination and/or harassment because of their language/color/county of origin in the year before the survey. The survey results were sent to all candidates running for County Executive and County Council; the survey was mentioned in candidate debates.


  • The Immigration Action Team has had meetings with the Howard County Police Chief, Superintendent of Schools, and the Executive Director of Community, Parent and School Outreach to discuss the implications of the St John’s survey results about police and harassment in the school system.


  • The Immigration Action Team hosted a house party with ACLU Maryland for Courtney Watson and Katie Fry Hester (newly elected Maryland General Assembly delegate and senator for District 9) to lobby for immigration-friendly legislation.


  • The Aging and Disabilities Action Team testified at several local hearings: Howard County Executive Ball’s Budget Committee, the Howard County Council regarding Low-Income senior renter’s increasing rents, the County’s Annual Action Plan for housing, and the Howard County Housing Commission’s Public Meeting regarding the Public Housing Authority plan FY 2018 & 2019.


  • The Education Action Team members have been invited to join the Howard County Public School System’s Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Group.


  • An Immigration Action team member sat on the advisory committee to develop Howard County Public Schools System Policy 1070: Protections and Supports for Foreign-Born Students and Families.


  • The Education Team participated in the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) march:Rally to Fix the Fund.

Political Action: National

  • Indivisible Action Teams and individual members have participated in many national and state marches including the Women’s March, March for our Lives, and the Families Belong Together rally.


  • The Red2Blue Team partnered with Swing Left and Sister District to canvas for Democratic candidates in Virginia and Pennsylvania (PA-10).

Local impact-Howard County

Legislation:The Less Plastic Please Action Team has worked with Delegate Terri Hill to develop HB 419, currently in committee in the Maryland General Assembly, which will allow Howard County to charge a small fee for plastic bag use. The Team brought the bill to Delegate Hill and was instrumental in securing her sponsorship. To support this bill, the Less Plastic Please Action Team gathered more than 600 signatures, published two letters to the editor in  The Baltimore Sun
( and the Columbia Flyer( and testified at a Columbia Association board meeting, gaining their support. All board members signed onto a letter which was then sent to Howard County state delegates.


IV  2019 Planned Activities 

The overall goals for Indivisible HoCoMD for 2019 are to:

  • Drive legislative initiatives to create a fair and compassionate democracy
  • Work to defend and strengthen the institutions of democracy at all levels
  • Continue to build voter engagement in the electoral process


Specific Action Team plans for 2019 are listed below:

Aging and People with Disabilities

Mission:  Protect programs and promote legislation to maintain the dignity and quality of life of senior citizens and people with disabilities.

Activities for 2019

·       Propose legislation to establish a county funded Rental Assistance program

·       Propose legislation to extend rent late payment grace period

·       Establish a census to determine the number of Low-Income seniors in Howard County


Defend Democracy

Mission: Support ethical standards in government, equality, campaign finance reform, and voting rights.

Activities for 2019

·       Increase support for “For The People” (US House Resolution 1)

·       Ensure Maryland meets the “For The People” standards

·       Monitor the MD redistricting process

·       Organize town hall on election security

·       Collaborate with other grassroots organization

·       Develop rapid response system to mobilize members

Economic Equity

Mission: Work to enact policies and laws that restore fairness to economic transactions and build a local, state, and national economy that works for all people. Initially, the team plans to focus on three issues.

Activities for 2019

·       Ensure fair zoning laws and land-use policies in Howard County

·       Support Fight for Fifteen legislation

·       Support consumer protection and antimonopoly legislation



Mission: Inform the community about threats to public education from the current administration and identify action steps that promote respect, fairness, opportunity, and funding for all students.

Activities for 2019

·       March 11 – MSEA March for our Schools Rally in Annapolis

·       March 25 –  Join with Strong Schools Maryland for Lobby Night in Annapolis

·       In the works: public meeting at Howard County Community College on the future of education

Energy and Transportation


Mission: Through education, lobbying and mobilizing citizens, support local and national legislation to protect the environment, support green energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.


Activities for 2019


·       Pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2019 and other related statewide legislation

·       Work with Howard County legislators to implement the transition document on the environment

·       Track national climate change legislation such as Green New Deal and EV tax credit extension



Mission: Fight all federal, state, and county legislative attempts to repeal or dilute the Affordable Care Act, cut Medicaid, and defund Planned Parenthood.

Activities for 2019

·       Support Proposed Maryland Health Care Legislation:

o   Prescription Drug Advisory Board to cap the cost of high cost prescription drugs

o   Health Insurance Down Payment Plan


Mission: Make Howard County a safe and supportive environment for immigrants and refugees by raising public awareness of immigrants’ and refugees’ rights and concerns and promoting compassionate legislation at the local, state, and federal level.

Activities for 2019

·       Lobby for Trust Act bills in 2019 legislative session in collaboration with ACLU

·       Provide social support for refugees and asylum seekers

·       Continue community education:

o   public presentations

o   Gorman Bridge demonstrations

o   Immigration Newsletter

o   Collaborate with UUCC Social Justice Committee, Friends of Latin America, and Our Revolution Howard County to host a Central American film series

·       Plan a National Mall Pajama Project to highlight separated immigrant children

·       Collaborate with Saint John Evangelist Roman Catholic Church and PATH to establish Parish ID program

·       Work with Howard County Public School System, Howard County Police Department, FIRN and other groups to disseminate information about the police and school policies

Less Plastic Please

Mission: Serve as community organizers and force multipliers to strengthen the impact of other environmental advocacy and action groups and mobilize and empower citizens to advance environmental protection.

Activities for 2019


·       Pass Bill HoCo 4-19

·       Build support for a county level plastic bag fee

·       Presentations and tabling in green schools, Earth Forum, Greenfest, Fall fests

·       Continue to collect t-shirts to make reusable bags

·       Next bill: Continue to work to reduce single-use plastic



Mission: Support the election of liberal, progressive (Democratic) candidates at all levels of government.

Activities for 2019

·       Win special elections

·       Flip the Virginia State Legislature

·       Increase the Howard County voter base


Mission: Develop and maintain social media and communication infrastructure.

Activities for 2019

  • Continue to improve email, website, Facebook, and Twitter support
  • Expand to Instagram
  • Hold community educational series to share information, highlight the action teams, and attract new members