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Press Releases - County Council

Montgomery Council releases report on racial equity and social justice findings from community conversations

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Up to 1,000 Montgomery County stakeholders participated
in conversations across the County aimed at identifying
major drivers of inequity

ROCKVILLE, Md., Sept. 25, 2019—The Montgomery County Council yesterday released Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) Report 2019-16: Findings from 2019 Racial Equity and Social Justice Community Conversations, which identifies major themes and makes recommendations based on the outcome of the 2019 community conversation meetings. Between March and July of 2019, Council President Nancy Navarro, the Council and County Executive Marc Elrich held four community conversations, attended by more than 600 residents, which helped guide the creation of the recently-introduced Racial Equity and Social Justice Act. Approximately 400 other residents also participated in community meetings organized by various groups.

The report finds that participants identified both systemic racism and individual racism as drivers of racial inequity and injustice in Montgomery County. Four main policy areas emerged as the biggest challenges to achieving racial equity and social justice in Montgomery County: education, housing, criminal justice and employment.

The report makes the following recommendations for County action based on analysis of the feedback provided by stakeholders who participated in the conversations:

1. Sponsor more inclusive programs and conversations for adults and youth to increase awareness of racial equity and social justice needs in the County.
2. Solicit input from communities under-represented in the community conversations.
3. Provide racial equity training for all County and school system employees.
4. Require use of racial equity impact assessments and racial equity plans to inform government decision-making.
5. Improve access and outcomes for County services for residents across several specific policy areas, including education.

The Racial Equity and Social Justice Act, which was introduced by Council President Navarro and co-sponsored by all other Councilmembers, will institutionalize the norms of equity and social justice into the work of county government. A public hearing will be held on Oct. 29. Residents can sign up to testify here beginning on Sept. 30: https://montgomerycountymd.gov/COUNCIL/PHSignUp.html.

In addition to community outreach, Councilmember Navarro tasked the Council’s Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) to evaluate the impacts of racial inequity and to inform local leaders. OLO produced two reports prior to this one—Racial Equity in Government Decision-Making: Lessons from the Field and a Racial Equity Profile for Montgomery County These reports found ongoing and persistent disparities for people of color.

OLO Report 2019-16 can be viewed in its entirety here:
https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/OLO/Resources/Files/2019%20Reports/OLOReport2019-16.pdf .

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Release ID: 19-309
Media Contact: Elaine Bonner-Tompkins  240-777-7990