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Letters: Howard County has more work to do on school equity; and more from readers | READER COMMENTARY

As Howard County makes strides to be a progressive community and align with our constantly changing society, we continue to see a pattern of racial inequity in the workplace, in housing distribution and access, and in public health. This problem does not fall to our local leaders alone. Many of us, students and young adults in Howard County, would like to see a change in this county’s long-standing discriminatory practices towards minority groups, both explicit and implicit.

Students have a unique experience with racism and discrimination that affects us in the classroom, in our communities and in the workplace. Young voices are propelling motions for racial equality across the nation including in Howard County through petitions, protests and other forms of activism. Hundreds of students have testified to experiencing discrimination in Howard County schools. Examples include the aftermath of the school redistricting plan, racial profiling of students of color by school resource officers, the Eurocentric school curriculum, use of racial slurs by students and teachers, and so many more troubling accounts.

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Moreover, in both elementary and secondary schools in Howard County, 80% or more of the teaching staff is white. What message are we sending students of color when they have little to no representation in their schools?

As students pushing for an open dialogue about this county’s past and present discrimination toward minority groups, we need our leaders to provide renewed protections and equitable policies for marginalized minority groups. The Howard County Council has taken the first steps to accomplish this goal through its proposed Racial Equity Task Force under the direction of County Council members Christiana Mercer Rigby and Opel Jones.

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HoCo Students for Equity support this effort and are dedicated to the work ahead to create a more equitable Howard County.

Riley Macon

Laurel

The writer is the founder of HoCo Students for Equity.

One way to avoid plastic grocery bags

A letter in the Sept. 24 edition of the Howard County Times/Columbia Flier exhorted supermarkets to allow shoppers to resume using reusable grocery bags because they are, if anything, safer than plastic bags during the pandemic.

But if supermarkets continue to disallow bringing reusable bags, one simple solution that most supermarkets and grocery stores will not object to is to put your groceries back in the shopping cart at the checkout and let you take them out to your car to bag them yourself in the reusable bags that you carry in your car. We have been using this solution for months now (at least at Giant and Trader Joe’s).

Ani Thakar

Columbia

Columbus renaming hits Italian Americans

The destruction of the Christopher Columbus statue in Baltimore was not an act of a bunch of lawless protesters. It was aided and abetted by city officials who purposefully failed to oversee the demonstration. Then, instead of acting like this was vandalism and using city funds to repair the damage, they made independent people go retrieve the statue from the bottom of the harbor.

Now, they add renaming the holiday just a few weeks after these acts. This is not how people treat members of the community. The city needs to be sensitive to all of its members: Native Americans, Italian Americans, Polish Americans, Hatians, etc. We need to build bridges, not use cancel culture to denigrate communities. Yes, Native Americans were harmed by Columbus. And the right thing to do is to commemorate the people who have lost so much. In many ways we have, but not as a coherent message of respect.

We have place names all over the state that are Native American: Patapsco River, Wicomico County, etc. We should build on that to recognize the peoples who lived in this area for thousands of years before Columbus. But perhaps we might want to consider the timing of this. The city needs to do something to soften the sting of replacing a holiday recognizing someone so important to the Italian-American community. Perhaps spend a few of the city’s limited dollars on a contest to replace the statue with some new art that will recognize Italian-American’s contributions to this city.

Then, after this wrong has been corrected, the city should move forward renaming the holiday. Or, better yet, let the state do this.

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William Hettchen

Ellicott City

MSEA not in the best interest of children

Maryland State Education Association management has four purposes. They are to protect bad teachers, to stop charter schools, to donate money to Democrats and to lobby for more dollars for education to help line their own pockets.

I don’t see the word “children” in any of these. Very sad.

Lyle Rescott

Marriottsville

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