Howard County Government issued the following press release on June 21st:

County Executive Ball Releases Office of Human Rights 2018 Annual Report

ELLICOTT CITY – Today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball released the 2018 Office of Human Rights (OHR) Annual Report. The OHR was established in 1975 to investigate complaints of discrimination and enforce the Howard County Human Rights Law. Their annual report covers caseload analysis, hate-bias incidents, outreach activities, the human rights commission, and MLK holiday commission. For the calendar year 2018, OHR investigated and issued 54 findings, closed 90 cases and took on 78 new cases. Investigators responded to an additional 215 inquiries which did not become cases. The full 2018 Annual Report can be found here.

“Addressing hate and protecting the rights of all are duties I take very seriously. I want to thank everyone in the Office of Human Rights for their diligence in this work,” said Ball. “Our Annual report reveals a Howard County that still has work to do in order to create a community that is safe for everyone. Moving forward, the Office of Human Rights will continue to be a leader in the community, a symbol of our values, and a force for positive change.”

The report documents 58 hate-bias incidents in 2018, defined as acts of prejudice, hate or violence directed because of race, religion, ethnic background or sexual orientation. These numbers represent an increase from the previous year. 

2018 also saw 61 reports of employment discrimination, 16 reports of housing discrimination, and 1 report of public accommodation discrimination. Cases included at least 32 complaints based on race, 22 based on disability, 16 based on gender, and 9 based on sexual orientation, among others. In 2018, the OHR reported closing 90 cases.

In April, Ball released the report of the Office of Human Rights (OHR) Review Committee, formed by Executive Order in February. That Review Committee Report can be found here.

Find out more about the Howard County Office of Human Rights here.

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On page 10 the report notes “A hate-bias incident (HBI) is an act of prejudice, hate or violence directed against individuals, groups or institutions because of race, religion, ethnic background or sexual orientation. HBIs are intended to cause harm and may result in physical injury, emotional injury or property damage.”

Here is a chart (from the report) of the number of HBI’s by month in 2016, 2017 and 2018:

The report did not provide totals per year (I have not clue why they do that…I have seen this in other reports as well) so I put the monthly numbers into Excel:

You can see that the number of HBI’s rose more than 24% from 2016 to 2017 and rose more than 40% from 2017 to 2018.

This is not the trend one would hope for…but I appreciate HoCoGov providing this information so we know what is happening in our communities.

One can hope that the noted “Outreach Activities & Professional Development” noted in the report can help swing this trend the other way in the future.

Be sure to give the report a read:  https://www.howardcountymd.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=iqLM-KCB3hc%3d&portalid=0

Scott E