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Letter: Howard County elected leaders need to do better for Asian community | READER COMMENTARY

Leaders need to do better for Asian community

During May, it was gratifying to see the greater Howard County community come out to “Stop Asian Hate” rallies, including the two I attended at the Columbia lakefront and at the Bethel Korean Presbyterian Church in Ellicott City.

As Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month has passed, it is important for all of us to actively continue our efforts to end hatred, bigotry and violence toward members of the AAPI community.

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It is even more important for our elected leaders to set an example for others to follow. Fortunately, Gov. Larry Hogan has been a strong voice against harmful acts against our Asian American and Pacific Islander neighbors. Others, unfortunately, have not been helpful. For example, by calling COVID-19 the “China virus,” former President Donald Trump only further divided our nation.

Closer to home, our Howard County elected officials have failed to provide principled leadership. They refused to acknowledge and condemn the unacceptable conduct of a Howard County Council staff person who gave explicit approval to hateful testimony directed at Asian Americans during a Racial Equity Task Force hearing. Our leaders’ failure to criticize those close to them only leads to a greater lack of trust by Howard County citizens.

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Let us all commit to working together to stop all hatred, bigotry and violence against anyone based upon their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Allan Kittleman

The writer is a former Howard County executive

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