The following statement was posted by County Councilmember Deb Jung on Facebook:
The Racial Equity Taskforce is a citizen advisory group that was formed last fall through legislation introduced by Councilmembers Dr. Opel Jones and Christiana Rigby. Its purpose is to review six topics through a racial equity lens and issue recommendations for legislative action. District staff from Councilmembers Dr. Jones’ and Rigby’s offices have performed administrative duties for the taskforce since the meetings began in November. The three remaining Councilmembers (including myself) were each allowed to appoint two taskforce members out of 60 total members and have been permitted to view the meetings as members of the public.
On March 4, the Racial Equity Taskforce held a public hearing for the purpose of inviting Howard County residents to share their experiences about racial inequities with the taskforce. The last speaker of the evening expressed appalling anti-immigrant sentiments towards Chinese and Korean, as well as Latino, residents of Howard County. I found the speaker’s statements to be upsetting, hurtful, and patently untrue. It is understandable that the speaker’s words produced anxiety in the communities his words targeted, especially considering the recent physical attacks directed towards Asian residents throughout the country, as well as the recent burglaries of Asian businesses in Columbia on Lunar New Year Furthermore, observers were unsettled by Councilmember Dr. Jones’ staff member’s reaction after the speaker concluded. His reaction was perceived by some as support and approval of the speaker’s anti-Asian opinions. Councilmember Dr. Jones publicly stated that the speaker’s comments were counter to his staff member’s personal beliefs and to his office’s philosophy.
I understand that community members are hurt by this incident and are looking for acknowledgment of their pain. In fact, the Racial Equity Taskforce is working to address concerns just like this. Minority groups are often shut out of the decision-making process, subjected to negative assumptions and prejudices, and sometimes are verbally and physically targeted based on fear and misinformation. Perhaps we should follow Cynthia Choi’s lead who is with Stop AAPI Hate when she said, “Our work to address anti-Asian racism is inextricably tied to fighting anti-black racism. That’s gonna take all of us. It’s gonna take public education efforts, it’s gonna take racial solidarity efforts that really bring our communities together.”
I hope we can see this as a watershed moment and follow Choi’s advice to use this incident to educate the public and bring our community together. The Racial Equity Taskforce would be the perfect place to begin.
The text above was taken from my OCR program of the image below.
Here is the image shared on social media: