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Seeking racial equity in Howard County

Council to vote on proposed task force
Posted at 3:53 PM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 22:25:04-04

COLUMBIA, Md. — The vision was for a planned city where people of every race, religion and tax bracket could work and live side-by-side, and Jim Rouse’s Columbia is still known as one of the most diverse and inclusionary in the country, but proponents of a racial equity task force say it’s far from perfect.

“Well, I think people get lost in thinking that those problems don’t exist here in Howard County and Columbia, because of the vision of Jim Rouse,” said Councilman Opel Jones. “You know, when you look at the murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others, people may say, ‘Those are very unfortunate instances, but they don’t happen here.’”

The proposed task force would look at personal and public safety, land-use and housing policy, public heath and environmental measures, as well as education and the legislative process.

“When we look around, we know that the government has had a hand in creating racial inequity through its policies,” said County Councilwoman Christiana Mercer Rigby. “and this is an opportunity for Howard County residents to come together, take a look at how we do things here and what we can do better---how we can close those gaps in racial inequity.”

With the council’s approved, the task force would begin meeting in November and would work through July before delivering its final report in August of next year.

The council passed the resolution to create the racial equity task force Monday night.

That task force would study racial disparities throughout the county and recommend legislative action to fix the problems. The resolution passed four votes to one.