Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced the launch of an Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Workgroup through Executive Order. The workgroup will provide an outlet to organize events and discussions to foster stronger relationships, advise the County on best practices to further support the AAPI community and policy initiatives, and work on emerging issues affecting the AAPI community. Video of the event can be found here.
“Diversity is a hallmark of Howard County, and our AAPI community serves a vital role in contributing to the cultural vibrancy that makes our County one of the most attractive locations to live, work, grow, and play in the country,” said Ball. “We have a responsibility to ensure that all our residents feel safe, respected, and treated with the dignity that we all deserve. Today we’re taking an important step towards a more inclusive community by launching our AAPI Workgroup.”
Howard County is home to nearly 60,000 residents who identify as Asian American or Pacific Islander. The AAPI Workgroup will be chaired by Maryland State Senator Clarence Lam, and have 18 members from the community. The workgroup will also host quarterly meetings that are open to the public and submit biannual reports to the County Executive on current and emerging issues impacting the Asian-American community.
“It is vital that we highlight and advocate for the issues facing our AAPI community,” said Maryland State Senator Clarence Lam, M.D. “I’m pleased to serve as Honorary Chair of this workgroup and look forward to conversations and community building in Howard County to create a more inclusive community.”
“I’m excited for the AAPI Workgroup to provide more opportunities and ease access for Asian Americans to get involved in all kinds of activities in Howard County, including more interactions with other communities,” said workgroup member Michael Zhao. “A thriving AAPI community will benefit the larger community as well. I also hope the Workgroup will help address the needs and challenges facing residents of Asian ancestry.”
“The AAPI workgroup will serve as a strong advocate of Asian American and Pacific Islander interests and affect positive change on all issues that enhance and advance the goals and aspirations of AAPI community,” said workgroup member Soo Park. “With community leaders like County Executive Calvin Ball, we strive to do this by supporting and promoting issues that impact the AAPI community, such as improving economic development that affect the AAPI community.”
“In the South Asian-American community, we are often under looked and underrepresented even in an affluent community like Howard County,” said workgroup member Samiyah Hira. “While we have come a long way in 20 years, we still have work ahead of us. By establishing this workgroup, members of our community are given an important role to help our community prosper. I’m excited to start this journey towards truly making Howard County a place where everyone, from my kids and future grandchildren to my friends and neighbors, can feel safe, valued, and heard.”