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Black History Month Voices: Al Hutchinson | Commentary

During February, Maryland residents are commemorating Black History Month by studying and celebrating the past. Meanwhile, what’s being called the racial reckoning of 2020 is barely in the rearview mirror. Those recent events — Black people killed by police and marches demanding systemic change — are prompting some Baltimore-area residents to explore what needs to be done to ensure there is substantial progress toward achieving racial justice and equity.

The Baltimore Sun asked residents: What will it take to move the region ahead in 2021 and beyond? Specifically what do they want to change, and how will they help make those changes happen? Each week this month, we will share some of their comments about how they hope to move forward after a tumultuous 2020.

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The essays have been edited for clarity and length.

Al Hutchinson, 61, president & CEO, Visit Baltimore

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Al Hutchinson, Visit Baltimore's President & CEO says the unfortunate reality is that there are still destinations in the U.S. where Black people feel unwelcome. Credit: Allan Charles
Al Hutchinson, Visit Baltimore's President & CEO says the unfortunate reality is that there are still destinations in the U.S. where Black people feel unwelcome. Credit: Allan Charles (Allan Charles)

When speaking about travel in the United States, the unfortunate reality is that there are still destinations where Black people feel unwelcome or even unsafe while visiting. And with the tragedies of 2020 top of mind, consumers are choosing to spend their free time and hard-earned money in cities where they know leaders are contributing to the betterment of all people.

Baltimore’s population is predominantly Black, and Visit Baltimore is focused on working with local tourism, business and nonprofit leaders to foster progress in hospitality through robust diversity, equity and inclusion training.

When Black individuals from Baltimore and beyond feel seen and celebrated throughout the entire city, we can put Charm City on the map as one of the most inclusive destinations in America.

— Compiled by John-John Williams IV

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