Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Bend That Arc

To members of the County Council and to the County Executive,

I am writing to you in support of Council Bill 9 on the occasion of Martin Luther King, Jr's national day of celebration and remembrance. I just read these words, and I want to share them with you:

Dr. King assured us that the arc of moral universe bends toward justice, but only if we stand up and speak out for what is right.  (Rep. Mark Takano)

Someone added:

That arc doesn't bend itself

It is my responsibility to speak out because I believe in this legislation. And because I believe in #One Howard.  I believe that all in our county should be included, respected, and valued. All. 

But I have seen some of the most angry, racist, derogatory language containing the grossest generalizations from those who are fighting the designation of Howard County as a Sanctuary county. Their hateful and selfish language alone proves how much this legislation is needed.  I'm guessing these folks haven't signed the #OneHoward Pledge. Their accusations and slurs are the farthest thing from it.

The contrast between the lofty ideals of the pledge and the wholesale rejection and vilification of people who are living and struggling in our county could not be more stark. 
We cannot have it both ways. Either we are #OneHoward or we are not. We must lead in a way that respects all in our community.

Instead of rejecting this legislation out-of-hand, I urge the council to listen to community input and work to make CB-9 a worthy example of our county's shared goals and inclusiveness. I encourage the County Executive to work with them. 

Above all, I expect our County's leaders to respect this for the serious issue that it is, rather than deflect from its importance by suggesting this is an exercise in political gamesmanship. You have an opportunity to show empathy and wisdom and strength by creating legislation that will protect people who are already our neighbors, coworkers, friends, classmates of our children. They are Howard County, too.

Please don't let them down.

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