ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today signed an Executive Order creating a Public Facilities and Spaces Report Evaluation and Action Commission and named its members. The Commission will utilize the Public Spaces Commission Report released last year to recommend if names of public facilities and spaces in Howard County should be changed after collecting community feedback.
The Report reviews the history surrounding the namesake for public facilities and spaces to determine if the namesake participated in or encouraged the oppression of African Americans, indigenous Americans, and other individuals of color and contributed to the history of systemic racism and similar biases.
With the Public Spaces Commission report, we now can contextualize the many namesakes of our buildings, parks, and other county-owned spaces. We need to face our history, learn from it, and move forward by ensuring the namesakes of our facilities and spaces reflect today’s values. I’m grateful to the many Commission members who are tackling this difficult issue and look forward to its recommendations.
The Commission is tasked to:
- Review the Public Spaces Commission Report, issued on November 5, 2021;
- Complete and implement a strategic plan to obtain community feedback on the Report;
- Create a plan to review names, locations obtained from community feedback;
- Review public spaces that were not reviewed by the previous Commission;
- Make recommendations based on the rubric created by the previous Commission and evaluate and propose changes to the rubric, as needed; and
- Make recommendations based on community feedback.
The Commission will present its findings and recommendations to the County Executive by October 15, 2023. Marlena Jareaux and Wayne Davis will serve as co-chairs, and the following community members were appointed to the Commission:
- Claudia Allen
- Ani Begay Auld
- Zunaira Awan
- Dr. Denise Boston
- Towanda Brown
- Fred Campbell
- Debbie Costley
- Wayne Davis
- Kim Eggborn
- Margaret Goodlin
- Marlena Jareaux
- Allie Jessing
- Jean Lewis
- Diana Li
- Kelly Palich
- Falgun Patel
- Dhaval Shah
- Zana Watson
- John Milton Wesley
"As we reexamine the names on our public spaces and ensure they are aligned with our community values of inclusion and diversity, we look forward to the opportunity to engage with the community to ensure that all voices that want to be heard concerning who we are today are," said Co-Chair Marlena Jareaux.
"This is a critical initiative that will not only document the accurate, shared and local history for our and future generations, but will also provide the community with the opportunity to contribute history they are carrying, " said Co-Chair Wayne Davis.