Howard Council to Consider Bill to Establish Racial Equity Task Force

Howard County SealHoward County Council Members Opel Jones and Christiana Rigby this week filed legislation that would establish the County’s first Racial Equity Task Force. The Racial Equity Task Force will be charged with recommending legislation to the Howard County Council to address racial disparities and inequities in Howard County.

“Discussing race is not an easy topic, but to make sure we are fostering an even level playing field, for residents of color, we must continue to strive for an equitable and inclusive county, that will advance racial equity and social justice,” said Council Member Jones.

If approved by the County Council, The Racial Equity Task Force is expected to begin its work in November 2020 and will meet through July 2021, delivering its final report in August 2021 to the County Council.

“Howard County is a diverse and multicultural community, and this is an opportunity to ensure that we have equitable and inclusive laws,” said Council Member Rigby. “The purpose of this Task Force is to create a foundation for the legislative branch to analyze systemic racial inequity and take direct actions to support racial equity in our community.”

According to a press release:

The task force will be comprised of subgroups exploring personal and public safety, land-use and housing policy, economic and workforce development, public health and environmental policy, education, and legislative processes. After a period of community feedback and response, the Task Force was assembled to include a diverse group of subject matter experts, community members, and youth representation on each subgroup.

“As leaders in Howard County, we must remain steadfast and progressive in removing obstacles that currently exist for our communities. This task force will elevate the voices of our community and establish actionable recommendations for the council to implement,” said Councilmember Jones.

Jones and Rigby encourage advocates and community members to receive updates by emailing the Councilmembers at ojones@howardcountymd.gov and crigby@howardcountymd.gov or by texting HOCOEQUITY to 22828.

The proposed legislation was pre-filed on August 27, 2020 and will be introduced at the Council’s legislative session on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Testimony will be accepted at the legislative public hearing on Monday, September 21, 2020.

Howard County residents may sign up to testify after September 8 by visiting https://apps.howardcountymd.gov/otestimony/. If you would like to submit written testimony, please email councilmail@howardcountymd.gov.

Visit the Howard County Council website for more information.

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