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Howard’s new Asian-American and Pacific Islander Workgroup will advise on county policy initiatives

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball on Thursday announced the formation of an Asian-American and Pacific Islander Workgroup.

The group will advise the county on policy initiatives and issues that affect the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, according to Ball. The group will also organize events and discussions.

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“We have a responsibility to ensure that all our residents feel safe, respected and treated with the dignity that we all deserve,” Ball said in a statement. “Today we’re taking an important step toward a more inclusive community by launching our Asian American and Pacific Islander Workgroup.”

There are nearly 60,000 residents in Howard County who identify as Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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The group will have 18 members, in addition to state Sen. Clarence Lam, a physician who represents parts of Howard and Baltimore counties, who will serve as honorary chair.

“It is vital that we highlight and advocate for the issues facing our [Asian American and Pacific Islander] community,” Lam said in a statement. “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.”

The group will also host public quarterly meetings and give biannual reports to Ball on “current and emerging issues impacting the Asian American community.”

“In the South Asian American community, we are often under looked and underrepresented even in an affluent community like Howard County,” group member Samiyah Hira said in a statement.

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“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 toward 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.”

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