Council President Nancy Navarro and County Executive Marc Elrich will host a Community Conversation on Racial Equity and Social Justice tonight, Wednesday, June 26 at 7:00 pm at BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, which is located at 12901 Town Commons Drive. The purpose of this discussion is to engage with residents on how county leaders can build a better and stronger Montgomery County that meets the needs of all residents through the creation of a new Racial Equity and Social Justice Policy.
Council President Navarro will introduce legislation this fall to create a Racial Equity and Social Justice Policy for county government that is shaped by the feedback received by community members. A similar meeting was held in Silver Spring on March 13, and more than 300 residents participated in the conversation.
“Our population is growing, both in numbers and diversity—this did not happen overnight,” said Council President Navarro. “Addressing issues of racial equity and social justice is a must if we seek to ensure the continued economic vitality of our county. While Montgomery County is known for embracing its diversity, disparities in education, employment opportunities, health care, and housing persist across races and ethnicities, income levels, genders and English language proficiency.
“Meaningful involvement from all communities in the county is essential to tackle issues related to equity, particularly for those who are most directly affected by the inequities. Community engagement is the most important factor to ultimately achieve the goals of the racial equity and social justice legislation that the Council will take up this fall. We look forward to engaging with our constituents throughout the process of this effort.”
“I am committed to leading our county efforts to examine our policies and practices through a racial equity lens,” said County Executive Elrich. “In partnership with communities and advocacy organizations, we are evaluating those impacts to be transparent in documenting whether, based on well-researched metrics, our policies are matching our words. My administration and I are focusing on social and economic justice initiatives to ensure that everyone can succeed regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic circumstances. It is critical that we understand and address the history and impact of slavery, racism, and discrimination on the African American community.”
Decisions are being made by local government without a full picture of how these decisions impact unrepresented communities experiencing inequities across the county. These decisions impact education, housing, health care, transportation, and more. Racial equity and social justice policy are needed so that county government decisions can be made through a racial equity lens.
Montgomery County leaders recognize that government at all levels has helped to create and maintain systematic racial inequality. These same leaders and community members have committed themselves to envision and operationalizing policies to institutionalize new models of governing that uses the lessons of the past to create a more equitable future.
Community members attending tonight’s community conversation at BlackRock Center for the Arts will be encouraged to discuss the following:
• Why does racial equity matter?
• Are you impacted by racial inequality?
• What changes do you want to see to promote racial equity and social justice?
Residents are encouraged to reserve their seat for the discussion on the Council’s Facebook page at MontgomeryCountyMdCouncil.
Community members and organizations can also host their own community conversations on racial equity with their friends, neighbors, and colleagues and report their findings using an online survey tool.
Photos courtesy Montgomery County.