The Chinese American Parent Association of Howard County posted the following letter as a response to Councilman Opel Jones regarding the Racial Equity Task Force (RETF) Public Hearing on March 4th:
Dear Councilman Dr. Jones,
Thank you for your response! However, the evidence we uncovered is not as simple as you described.
This letter is to
1. demand you to publicly condemn the bigotry, hatred, and racist speech against Asian American minority groups and all immigrants.
(https://howardcounty.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?clip id=4554, starting at 1:11 mark)
2. respond to your Facebook post defending the racist action of your special assistant Mr. Michael Harris
3. bring your attention to ME Harris’ comments on the speech, “Thanks Bossman!”
First and foremost, it is deeply concerning that you did not directly and clearly denounce the bigotry, hatred, and racist speech occurred at the Racial Equity Task Force (RETF)
public hearing in any of your Facebook posts or letters related to this issue. This is completely unacceptable as an elected official serving the public. We demand you to immediately condemn the hate speech in the strongest form possible.
In the above referenced Facebook post, you stated:
These social media posts equated my staffer’s timekeeping process, which acknowledged a participant’s time is up and included a thumbs-up or a “thank you for sharing”, as agreement with what was said. His thumbs-up was also used to signify if a speaker could be heard If you refer to the video in full, not just one instance, you will see this happens several times for multiple speakers (timestamps 33:49, 40:51, 44:41, 47:54 55:03, 1:08:01).
We investigated the video at all six marks mentioned in your post We found the following:
40:51: Mr. Harris did not have a thumbs-up at this mark He told the speaker time was up.
44:41, 53:03, 1:08:01: The speakers asked whether they were able to be heard. Mr. Harris’ thumbs-up was to signify to the speaker that he/she could be heard.
33:49: The speaker finished her speech within the 3-minute time limit. Mr. Harris’
thumbs-up was obviously NOT for timekeeping purpose.
47:54: Mr. Harris reminded the speaker his time was up and the speaker stopped speaking right away. Then the video had a broken segment After a few seconds of pause, ME Harris had his thumbs-up. One can reasonably conclude that this thumbs-up
was an indication that he was ready for the next speaker.
After a careful review of these 6 video segments provided in your post, we concluded that none of the five thumbs-ups (no thump up at 4051, one of the 6 time marks you provided) were for timekeeping purpose.
In addition, we reviewed other parts of the public hearing. When the time limit was reached indicated by the sound of the timer he set up, Mr. Harris verbally communicated with the speaker by saying “time’s up” or ‘thank you for sharing”. He did NOT use a thumbs-up for timekeeping purpose during any of the speeches (11:50, 16:45, 22:45, 40:39, 44:15, 1:01:30).
Further, Mr. Harris stated “Thanks, Bossman” (1:15:17) after the speaker at issue finished his speech. This phrase is used to express one’s approval of a speech or an opinion. And it was the only time he used this phrase throughout the REFT public hearing. This, along with his thumbs-up, demonstrated Mrs. Harris was strongly in agreement with the hate speech against Chinese and Korean Americans, and all immigrants who live in Howard County.
We urge you to remove Mr. Michael Harris from your office in which he is not fit for after his racist action towards Asian Americans and immigrants. Racism, no matter who is practicing it, is evil. Silence or no action is complicity!
Thank you for your attention!
Chair, Board of Directors, CAPA-HC
All text above was obtained by OCR’ing the images in the post on March 8th (so hopefully there are no errors – here are the images utilized for the OCR translation):
Other articles from this blog on this topic:
Chinese American Parent Association of Howard County submits a letter concerning a recent Racial Equity Task Force meeting (Read Here) – original letter, video and response from Councilman Opel Jones
Howard County Councilmember Deb Jung statement on the recent anti-immigrant sentiments from a speaker in the RETF public forum on March 4th (Read Here)
Howard County Councilwoman Christiana Rigby statement regarding the bigoted and anti-immigrant testimony during the RETF Public Hearing on March 4th (Read Here)