ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today released a draft letter addressed to President Joe Biden urging him to use his position and influence to secure an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza War. This draft letter, which will be available for public input, calls for the release of all hostages and negotiation of a bilateral ceasefire to end hostilities. The draft letter can be read here.
In addition to preparing this draft letter, the County’s inaugural Interfaith Advisory Council will host a public listening session on Monday, February 26th at 6:00 p.m. at the Meadowbrook Athletic Complex. During this listening session, Howard County residents will have the opportunity to provide public input and make their voices heard regarding the ongoing conflict. The County appreciates the opportunity to hear from our community through this public forum.
We know our community has been hurting since the attacks on innocent people on October 7th. As we see increased pain, suffering, and turmoil in Palestine and Israel, we know many of our residents are also hurting right here at home. This is an opportunity for our residents to make their voices heard on this critical issue. We must do our part to call for peace now.
The letter calls for an immediate bilateral ceasefire and the release of all remaining Israeli hostages. It also strongly urges a global humanitarian surge of food, water, medical supplies and equipment to Gaza. Residents can send their thoughts and feedback regarding the letter to [email protected].
Howard County Executive Ball has taken several steps since the start of the war to combat religious intolerance locally. Just last month, Ball signed an executive order creating the first-ever Interfaith Advisory Council in the County. The Council, made up of faith leaders from a diverse array of religions, will meet to review and provide recommendations on best practices to address religious intolerance in the county.
In November 2023, Ball launched the Nonprofit and Faith-Based Security Grant Program. With $750,000 in grant funding available through American Rescue Plan Act funding, this one-time grant program was available to eligible nonprofit organizations and faith-based organizations located within Howard County. The grants supported costs associated with enhanced security operations and safety infrastructure for organizations experiencing heightened risk of hate crimes and threats of violence.