January 14, 2021

Media Contact: 

Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412 

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced Dr. Denise Boston as the County’s first Equity and Restorative Practices Manager. The position is a permanent role within the Office of Human Rights and Equity and will be responsible for identifying any practices or policies needed to ensure equity; recommend and implement training and competency-building; and develop strategic community partnerships. Through restorative practices, Dr. Boston will help our community in strengthening relationships and building social connections. Photos of the event can be found here. Video can be found here and below.

“Today, I’m pleased to announce Howard County’s new Equity and Restorative Practices Manager – Dr. Denise Boston,” said Ball. “Dr. Boston’s position was created specifically to identify practices or policies needed to ensure equity and develop strategic community partnerships centered around this work. Understanding the huge undertaking of this position, we ensured Dr. Boston would be able to make a long-term impact by establishing it in the Office of Human Rights and Equity. We have the opportunity to be a model for other jurisdictions and set a precedence of continued evolvement and growth.”

“Dr. Boston is an asset to the County’s continued plan to address inequities, discriminatory practices, and to ensure Howard County is an equitable and inclusive place to live and work,” said Yolanda Sonnier, Office of Human Rights and Equity Administrator. “As Dr. Boston develops the equity strategic plan, the participation of community members, groups and organizations are essential to the long-term success of the plan.”

Dr. Boston brings more than 20 years of experience in administration and leadership, assessment management, grant writing, and institutional strategic planning in reinforcing the values of social justice, equity, inclusion, belonging, and multicultural global diversity. She also has extensive experience teaching trauma informed care, expressive arts therapy, and cultural identity. Dr. Boston has been a visiting professor at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea and Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China.

“I was very impressed with Dr. Ball’s vision for Howard County where racial and socioeconomic equity will be given significant considerations when planning and developing policies and practices that impact public services, programs, and initiatives,” said Dr. Denise Boston, Equity and Restorative Practices Manager. “I am also excited to take on the Equity and Restorative Practices Manager position and looking forward to joining Yolanda Sonnier and the Office of Human Rights and Equity.”

Equity has been a consistent focus in Howard County. In 2018, the Local Children’s Board convened an Equity Committee charged with developing a baseline report using qualitative and quantitative data to tell the story of opportunity across race, ethnicity and income levels in Howard County. In 2019, the report was presented to County Executive Ball and concluded that racial and socioeconomic equity should be given significant considerations when planning and developing policies and practices that impact public services, programs and initiatives.  

“I commend County Executive Calvin Ball and his team for taking this important step to make Howard County a more inclusive, welcoming and equitable community,” said Danielle Duran Baron, Co-Chair of La Alianza Latina. “Much has been said about diversity and inclusion, but never has it been more critical to deliver services through an equity lens, as there is no true inclusion without equity.”

“This position is important because it highlights the County’s commitment to ensuring that everyone is able to thrive and have equal opportunity for housing, employment, healthcare, transportation, recreation, education, and civil rights,” said Kui Zhao, Human Rights Commission Member. 

About Dr. Denise Boston 

Dr. Denise Boston is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, but her parents were among the first families to settle in Columbia in the 1970s. Dr. Boston attended Wilde Lake High School when it was a circular open-spaced, self-paced experimental learning program and lived in the Harpers Choice and Oakland Mills Village Centers. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in counseling psychology from Walden University with a concentration in health disparities and public programming, as well as a Master of Arts in psychology and counseling from Goddard College. Her bachelor’s degree in drama is from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

She returns to Maryland after her ten-year tenure at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, California, where she was a professor in the School of Professional Psychology and Health and the inaugural Dean of Diversity and Inclusion. In both positions, Dr. Boston served as the university’s diversity, inclusion, and belonging strategist, and a significant achievement was her community building, her role as a mentor, and leadership to improve community-university partnerships. Dr. Boston currently is a member of the boards of Be Strong Families and Key of Life Academy. 

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