Howard Works to Contextualize Namesakes of Public Spaces

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball is moving forward with evaluating whether or not names of public facilities and spaces in the county should be changed after collecting community feedback.  

On May 12, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball signed an Executive Order creating a Public Facilities and Spaces Report Evaluation and Action Commission and named its members. The Commission will utilize the Public Spaces Commission Report released in 2021 to review and contextualize the history surrounding the namesakes for public facilities and spaces and recommend if names of public facilities and spaces in the county should be changed.

According to a county press release, that report, “reviews the history surrounding the namesake for public facilities and spaces to determine if the namesake participated in or encouraged the oppression of African Americans, indigenous Americans, and other individuals of color and contributed to the history of systemic racism and similar biases.”

County Executive Ball’s executive order tasks the commission with the following roles and responsibilities:

  1. Review the Public Spaces Commission Report;
  2. Complete and implement a strategic plan to obtain community feedback;
  3. Create a plan to review names, location, obtained from community feedback;
  4. Review public spaces that were not reviewed by the previous commission;
  5. Make recommendations based on the rubric created by the previous commission and evaluate and propose changes to the rubric as needed; and
  6. Make recommendations baed on community feedback.

“With the Public Spaces Commission report, we now can contextualize the many namesakes of our buildings, parks, and other county-owned spaces,” said County Executive ball. “We need to face our history, learn from it, and move forward by ensuring the namesakes of our facilities and spaces reflect today’s values. I’m grateful to the many Commission members who are tackling this difficult issue and look forward to its recommendations.

The executive order also appointed 19 people to the new commission.

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