Community Outreach Purpose
The Community Outreach Unit increases the presence of the Office of Human Rights & Equity within Howard County, Maryland by creating opportunities for residents to affirm their humanity while protecting that of their neighbor's. The Outreach Unit accomplishes this by providing trainings, presentations, listening sessions, and events to government agencies, organizations, and community members around racial equity, social justice, and human relations.
We invite you to join us at any of our virtual or in-person events as we celebrate the unique diversity of our County, educate residents on how our Office enforces the Human Rights Code, all while inspiring our community to promote diversity, equity, and justice in all human relations.
Community Outreach Pillars
- Cultural Awareness: We are committed to teaching and exemplifying cultural awareness in every initiative, event, webinar, or interaction. Through Cultural Intelligence Training, the Reading Human Rights Book Discussion Group, and our monthly cultural celebrations, the Community Outreach Unit dismantles cultural stereotypes, tackles implicit bias, and gives Howard County residents the tools they need to be culturally aware members of a diverse society. We believe cultural awareness is critical to the work we do as a neutral body serving Howard County and the Howard County Government. This commitment to cultural awareness ensures that all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or any other protected identity marker is not simply tolerated, but celebrated, represented, and protected here in the County.
- Transformative Communication: Effective community engagement requires transformative communication. We believe transformative communication consists of active and reflective listening, respectful dialogue, and the relaying of inspiring content. The Community Outreach Unit teaches and demonstrates this critical pillar in our community listening sessions, dialogues, trainings, and across various multi-media platforms. Our aim is to use communication tactics and media tools to create experiences that change how Howard County residents understand the diversity within themselves and that which exists in those around them.
- Servant-Minded Engagement: The Community Outreach Unit sees themselves as servants to all Howard County residents. Our dedication to humble servanthood will be felt in our speech, conduct, and professionalism. Most importantly, we are committed to uplifting and respecting the humanity of every person we encounter. As an extension of the Office of Human Rights & Equity we believe it important that every person, office, department, or organization experience servant-minded engagement that causes them to feel that their humanity was seen, heard, and honored.
Community Outreach Team
Claudia M. Allen, Outreach & Communications Manager
Claudia M. Allen is a Outreach & Communications Manager for the Howard County Office of Human Rights & Equity. Joining the office in July 2021, Claudia is passionate about how communications, public policy, and faith intersect to effect structural change, create equitable environments, and inspire transformed thinking. In her current role, Claudia has provided servant leadership by making innovative contributions to internal systems, production, various cultural events, and has initiated original programming, trainings, and webinars. During her tenure at OHRE Claudia has provided trainings and presentations for the Howard County Police Department, Howard County Housing Commission, Howard County Department of Children & Families, the Columbia Association, and the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) of Howard County.
Before joining Howard County Government, Claudia was a PhD student in the Department of English at the University of Maryland, College Park, and an Online Content Manager for a Black Christian Magazine. It was her passion for community engagement, social justice, and public policy that pushed her to resign as a professor of English literature and pursue a career in government. Claudia uses her teaching, facilitation, and research skills for OHRE when conducting Cultural Intelligence Trainings, facilitating community listening sessions, staffing community boards and commissions, and creating digital content. Such preparation has given Claudia the opportunity to lecture and speak on communications, social justice, and faith at universities, churches, and organizations like Yale Divinity School, University of Idaho, and the Andrews University Theological Seminary. During the pandemic her speaking notoriety grew and took her virtually to such countries as South Africa, Australia, and Ireland.
Claudia holds a Master of Arts degree in English from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Leadership from Andrews University. She is certified in "Promoting Racial Equity in the Workplace" by the Harvard Kennedy School of Executive Education. She also holds a certificate in Maryland's Open Meetings Act from the Institute for Governmental Service and Research, and a certificate in Theology and Racialized Policing from Sojourners, Howard University School of Divinity, and the Christian Community Development Association. Claudia's achievements include the Drum Major for Justice Award issued by Washington Adventist University, and the Heart and Soul Award issued by Michigan Campus Compact at Grand Valley State University.
Marla Moore, Community Outreach Coordinator
Marla Moore is an innovative Community Outreach Coordinator for the Howard County Office of Human Rights & Equity. Joining the office in September 2019, Marla is passionate about integrating the creative arts into activism and community engagement. In her current role, Marla has made immeasurable contributions through the editing and production of video content, facilitation of trainings and community dialogues like Humanity Matters and Bystander Intervention & Cultural Awareness training, the staffing of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission, and provides invaluable feedback improving our operating systems and digital impact.
Before joining Howard County Government, Marla was a charismatic and compassionate teacher. She served as a faculty member at Howard University, University of the District of Columbia, and Bowie State. Marla employs 25 years of teaching and curriculum development into producing dynamic festivals, multi-cultural workshops, retreats, and camps that offer training in creative writing, media making, art therapy, green living, and wellness for participants of all ages and experience levels.
Marla is passionate about international cultural exchange and the lack of available technological training for people in West Africa. This inspired her to found the NGO division of Shouting Fire Media in Conakry, Guinea, West Africa. As the Executive Director of this organization, Marla provides media production services to local businesses and emerging artists. In addition, Shouting Fire Media NGO facilitates innovative workshops that combine training with community activism and engagement.
Marla received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and a Master of Arts degree in Fine Art in Film from Howard University. She is certified in Maryland's Open Meetings Act Training from the Institute for Governmental Service and Research. Marla's achievements include the Paramount Pictures/Eddie Murphy Fellowship in Screenwriting, Maryland State Individual Artist Award in Screenwriting, Howard University Paul Robeson Award for Directing, and the Princess Grace Film Honorarium.
Holly Hoang, Community Outreach Coordinator
Holly Hoang (she/her/hers) is a Community Outreach Coordinator for the Howard County Office of Human Rights & Equity (OHRE). Joining the office in January 2023, Holly is passionate about grassroots activism and organizing, reimagined spaces of public education, meaningful outreach and servant-minded engagement, and how these three spheres intersect to work toward transformed and inspired thinking in communities. In her current role, Holly contributes to the OHRE's innovative and impactful programming by creating original seminars, facilitating trainings and workshops, staffing the Human Rights and Asian American & Pacific Islander Commissions, planning major county-wide cultural events, and creating digital content. In August 2023, she had the honor of presenting her original seminar, "Beyond Black & White: Exploring the Racialization of Asians, Jews, Hispanics, and Latinos in the U.S." at the 74th Annual International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies (IAOHRA) 2023 Conference.
Before joining Howard County Government, Holly served as an educator in the Howard County Public School System. During her time in public education, Holly advocated for educational equity by participating in the writing and development of countywide curriculum; facilitated professional development workshops for educators throughout the school system; and became a Board Member of the Asian American Educators of Howard County. Later, her passion for advocacy, social justice, and community engagement led her to transition from public education in pursuit of a career in government that would allow her to integrate her passions and commitment to human and civil rights with her experiences in teaching, facilitation, research, curriculum development, and project management.
Holly holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Oberlin College. She is certified in "Community Engagement: Collaborating for Change" by the University of Michigan and also holds a certificate in Maryland's Open Meetings Act Training from the Institute for Governmental Service and Research. Holly’s achievements include being named a 2017-2018 U.S. Fulbright Scholar, receiving Oberlin College’s George and Carrie G. Life Scholarship Prize, and being named a Finalist for Oberlin College’s Shansi Fellowship.
Community Engagement Opportunities
Join Howard County’s Office of Human Rights and Equity as we explore the resources and services that aim to honor and preserve the humanity of all people. This presentation focuses on giving the audience an understanding about the Office and how we serve Howard County residents. If you live, work, play, or worship here in Howard County and you'd like the OHRE Community Outreach Unit to come and share more about the work of our office be sure to click on the link below and fill out our Community Engagement Request Form.
Bystander Intervention & Cultural Awareness Training
The Howard County Office of Human Rights and Equity facilitates a quarterly certification in Bystander Intervention & Cultural Awareness. This is an excellent training that will help you learn how to protect and promote the humanity of those who are being targeted or harassed because of their race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender, or sexual orientation in your presence. If you're interested in earning this certificate for professional or personal reasons be sure to click on the link below and register for the next training.
Unleashing the Activist Within Training
The Office of Human Rights & Equity invites you to unleash your inner activist by joining us for this 3-hour interactive workshop exploring the history, culture, and tools of activism from 1950 into our present era.
Attendees leave with a definition of activism, they will do activities that will break their barriers toward engagement, learn tools that promote self-care, gain insights on how to collaborate and organize for greater impact, and brainstorm approaches to substantively engaging in the human or civil rights concerns that they are most passionate about.
If you are someone who wants to get involved in your local community making positive change that protects and promotes the human rights of all, join us for our newest training "Unleashing the Activist Within."
Cultural Implications & Diversity Training
This training, which can be customized to the particular needs of a given office, department, or organization, improves cultural awareness in self and others, provides understanding on the impact of lived experience on unconscious bias, and provides knowledge on the most recent cultural statistics for Howard County. If your office, department, or organization is based in Howard County and you would like this training click on the link below and fill out our Community Engagement Request Form.
Reading Human Rights Book Discussion Group
Reading Human Rights is a monthly book discussion group facilitated by the Howard County Office of Human Rights & Equity hosted in partnership with Howard County Library System. This initiative encourages literary exploration and community dialogue around a variety of human rights concerns including but not limited to: race/racism, displacement, religious bias, LGBTQ+ inclusion, and gender-based violence. More specifically, Reading Human Rights explores works of fiction and non-fiction to teach community members the various ways individuals, cultures, and communities celebrate their identities and combat injustice.
Make a Speaker Request
The Community Outreach Unit is committed to promoting human rights here in Howard County, Maryland. If you'd like someone from the Howard County Office of Human Rights & Equity to provide a customized training, presentation, or speech for your Howard County-based office, department, organization, or program click on the link below and fill out our Community Engagement Request Form. We'd love to come and speak on the importance of cultural awareness, help uproot unconscious bias, educate on the Human Rights Code and how we enforce it, and give you the tools you need to foster equitable diversity that celebrates difference and promotes a safe environment for all people.
OHRE TV is a media hub created and produced by the Community Outreach Unit. Click on the link below to watch cultural events, webinars, presentations, and more all featuring the work of the Howard County Office of Human Rights & Equity.