Inaugural address of Howard County Executive Calvin Ball at Howard High School on Monday, December 3, 2018.
Before he signed one piece of executive legislation and prior to his first full day in office, Calvin Ball already managed to meet with success as Howard County Executive (“Ball sworn in as Howard Executive, touts commitment to inclusion,” Dec. 3). His success traverses a single political win and reaches back to the collective campaign — albeit ancestrally — waged by those who overcame the seemingly impossible odds to be counted as a person, to be granted citizenship, to be considered eligible to provide service to a nation that once refused to extend to them a genuine space of hospitality. Through the countless hopes and prayers and sit-ins and marches, we arrive at a new horizon that has forged a better day.
The December 3 the inauguration of Mr. Ball as Howard County Executive brought to fruition in Maryland the hopes of African slaves, turned African American citizens who only longed to be counted, merely to be heard, and just to be tapped for service. As chairman of the Howard County Human Rights Commission, I wish to congratulate him on being the first African American to be elected as County Executive in our county's storied history.
With more than 12 years of experience on the Howard County Council representing District 2, Executive Ball has demonstrated that he possesses the appropriate skills to lead our county forward. Given our nation's present political climate in which we are witnessing a resurgence of racism and xenophobia, Mr. Ball exhibited great leadership, coupled with his fearless political adeptness, by introducing a proposal to make Howard County a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants. For him, this action was not the product of a political strategy, but rather an ethically driven action, doubtlessly informed by his reading of scripture such as the 25th Chapter of Matthew's Gospel where Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." In Executive Ball, we witness and welcome a transparent view of his American values. Therefore, just as we have seen him stand for the marginalized immigrant, I am fully confident that he will stand strong for the citizens of Howard County.
In conclusion, I believe that Howard County’s new horizon has already inspired a renewed hope that collectively, under Mr. Ball’s leadership, our citizenry will join together in order to advance toward the moral center by raising the best and the brightest ideas to propel Howard County onward. Again, congratulations Executive Ball. We wish you even greater success.
Rev. Robert A.F. Turner, Columbia
The writer is senior pastor at St. John Baptist Church.
NOTE: An earlier version of this letter incorrectly stated Rev. Turner’s full name. It has been corrected here.