Saturday, January 15, 2022

Yesterday and Today

One year ago today I was writing about the installation of Dr. Denise Boston as Howard County’s first Equity and Restorative Practices manager.* Today I am wondering how her first year has been. The internet tells me that she moderated a virtual conversation about Cultural Competence and Implicit Bias in July, as a part of a series called Difficult Conversations About Race. She is a member of the Racial Equity Alliance, which, partnered with the Howard County Library to create the Equity Resource Collection at Central Branch.

Why don’t I know more? First off, Dr. Boston doesn’t appear to be the sort of person who wants to “see her name in the paper” all the time. Secondly, I’m not involved enough in the work of the Howard County Office of Human Rights and Equity to be adequately informed. And that is entirely on me. Reading Facebook posts and the occasional tweet is just not enough. If I want to know more, I need to be willing to learn more. 

Recent news stories I am thinking about:

A new director, Fred Campbell, has taken the lead at the Howard County Historical Society. In an article by Katie V. Jones in the Howard County Times, these sentences caught my eye:

A former college professor, Campbell said he hopes to lead more bus trips to focus on topics such as the National Road. He would also like to see more diverse groups featured in the museum.

“Our voices need to be broader,” Campbell said.

Naturally this put me in mind of Marlena Jareaux, the EC Black History Roundtable, and Howard County Lynching Truth and Reconciliation. I’ve written a bit about her/their work here. Will the transition to new leadership at the HCHS open the door to a more collegial/collaborative relationship in examing Howard County’s History? I certainly hope so. Howard County’s history is incomplete without a thorough examination of the lives and deaths of Black residents. The research will not always take us places we particularly want to go. All the more reason we should put aside our discomfort to go there.

This week Dr. Daria Willis began her term as President of Howard Community College. Here is her message to students. Dr. Willis is the first African American to lead HCC since its inception 51 ago. Of interest to me:

Dr. Willis earned her Ph.D. in history from Florida State University. She holds a master’s degree in history and a bachelor’s degree in history education from Florida A&M University, a historically Black college in Florida.

I imagine that many other of her abilities and professional achievements were highly influential in making her the top candidate for this position. And you can read about them on HCC’s website. In my own humble opinion, there couldn’t be a better time to add someone whose speciality is history,  especially history education to the academic community in Howard County. I look forward to seeing what she does at HCC and her involvement in the community.

In closing, I’d like to give yet another shoutout to this moving and award-winning song by Laurel Musician and Composer Alan Scott. I’m thinking it’s about time for a sing-in in the Senate.

John Lewis Lives

*The Equity and Restorative Practuces Unit is a Department of the Howard County Office of Human Rights and Equity.

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