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Kittleman announces #OneHoward initiative, community forum to promote diversity, inclusiveness in County

Kittleman announces #OneHoward initiative, community forum to promote diversity, inclusiveness in County

November 21, 2016            

Media Contacts:
Mark Miller, Administrator, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman today announced #OneHoward, an initiative designed to promote community dialogue and reinforce the county’s shared goals of diversity and inclusiveness.

The goal of #OneHoward, a series of community conversations and educational events, is to advance the shared values of County residents while addressing concerns of racism, intolerance and bigotry that surfaced recently, particularly on social media, Kittleman said.

#OneHoward will launch with a conversation with the community and will also include representatives from government agencies, such as county police, the sheriff’s office and schools. Leaders from various county and state organizations, religious groups and minority communities will also participate.

The first conversation is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Bain 50+ Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way in Columbia. 

“In the past several weeks, I have learned of instances of bigotry, racism and intolerance and this isn’t who we are in Howard County,” said Kittleman. “I’ve heard of students who are afraid to go to school and of residents who feel we aren’t living in a civil society. We are better than this.”

Kittleman, the son of a civil rights leader, said the first conversation will begin with brief messages from community leaders followed by an opportunity for residents to ask questions, raise concerns and offer suggestions for making the on-going #OneHoward initiative a success.

This first conversation will help shape the continuing dialogue, Kittleman said. A planned session to promote positive dialogue and respectful behavior among students while teaching them on the best and safest ways to use social media came from an idea at a recent town hall meeting in North Laurel.

“So many before us worked hard to put an end to injustice and discrimination,” said Kittleman. “It saddens me that we continue to witness insensitive actions and speech. We hope the message of #OneHoward will inspire others to be respectful and kind.”

Kittleman said #OneHoward will show everyone that the County “stands united against this disgraceful and troubling behavior and that Howard County must be a place where every person is valued and respected.”

Register for Saturday's forum.