Md. equity and inclusion workgroup makes final recommendations, some hope to see more action taken
MARYLAND – The Maryland State Senate President’s Advisory Workgroup on Equity and Inclusion issued a final report after months of work. They focused on three key areas for Maryland’s marginalized communities.
Those issues include environmental justice, health disparities, and economic opportunity. “We’ve been studying a lot of these issues around the edges for years, and I believe all of us want to see something happen. We’d like to see change,” said State Senator Addie Eckardt.
State Sen. Eckardt says the group came up with 47 recommendations after working with experts and organizations in marginalized communities. “We tried as much as possible to engage folks from existing structures and organizations to be able to see what they thought,” said State Sen. Eckardt.
The state senator says many of those recommendations are designed to build upon and strengthen ideas and work that has been done in the past. “You want to make sure that if work has been done, whether it’s data collected or recommendations made, we don’t want to just throw that out,” said State Sen. Eckardt.
President of the Talbot County NAACP Richard Potter says the recommendations are a step in the right direction. “I think it’s very important for these workgroups to start taking place so that we can better understand the various communities that exist throughout the state of Maryland,” said Potter.
But Potter adds that he hopes to see what he calls intentional and deliberate action taken – to turn ideas into the law of the land. “When issues come up, they’re not likely to address it because we already have this on the books and we need to allow them to play out,” said Potter.
Potter also says he’s happy to see issues that are parts of the roots of institutionalized racism addressed. But he says he is curious as to why law enforcement accountability wasn’t included. “It is important. But where are we in the line of making sure that people of color, black and brown people, don’t get killed when they’re interacting with law enforcement and they’re unarmed,” said Potter.
State Sen. Eckardt says the Senate President’s Advisory Workgroup on Equity and Inclusion wanted to shed light on the other issues that marginalized communities. She says that’s because they all tie into systemic racism. “We usually deal with police reform with regard to equity, but there’s not a lot of addressing the other issues,” said State Sen. Eckardt.
Potter says he hopes Maryland’s House work group on law enforcement accountability will work together with the Senate’s workgroup to make it easier to pass meaningful, cohesive legislation that hits all the points. “With the house looking at police reform and then the senate looking at other areas, what is that going to look like?” said Potter.
State Senator Addie Eckardt says she plans to push for some of the recommendations made in the report to become law. She says she’ll be working on a couple of bills that stem from the recommendations during this legislation session. The next Maryland General Assembly legislative session starts Wednesday.