Communities of color, more significantly impacted by the COVID pandemic, seek to recover through a planned approach of effective legislation and wise governance.
While many ideas and adaptations are undertaken, we continue to convey that the fabric of the County is a diverse one, and that effective recovery requires equity minded, forward looking leadership. This year, we emphasize our joint legislative priorities under three principal areas.
Economic Recovery for All Segments of the Community
- Increase safety net services for food, healthcare and housing to achieve economic recovery. To reduce the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on minority communities, we need to ensure that food assistance and preventive healthcare is available to all without excessive paperwork and lengthy timelines; increase housing/rental assistance and extend policies, such as foreclosure moratoriums, to prevent home evictions and homelessness; and increase awareness and access to all available safety net services.
- Invest in infrastructure for affordable high-speed internet service and cellular coverage (e.g. 5G)throughout all areas of the County, as lack of access to high-speed internet is disproportionately impacting minority communities and small businesses. High-speed internet expansion ensures online access to telemedicine, opportunities, job training, education, and communication for telework, safety and contact tracing for communities of color.
- Promote Local Small Business and increase participation of woman and minority owned businesses bypublicly highlighting success stories; ensuring inclusiveness in outreach and procurement activities; and actively engaging their participation in developing legislation and in reviews of existing practices that may disproportionately impact the small business operator in favor of larger enterprises.
Closing Cultural, Racial and Economic Gap in Education and Skills Training Programs
- Provide quality education at all public schools by incentivizing top teachers to accept tours of duty at schools in poorer neighborhoods. Implement initiatives that result in a homogeneous quality of education; consider the recommendations of the Black and Brown Coalition for Education Equity and Excellence.
- Facilitate access to non-traditional career development programs, such as apprenticeships and Vocational/Technical Education certifications. We also want to retrain the existing workforce with adult skills training programs that are affordable, easy to find, and with simple, streamlined enrollment.
- Support Montgomery Moving Forward which promote early education and youth engagement with our diverse community.
Community Safety and Racial Justice
- Review police training, provide cultural sensitivity training, and fund community outreach and involvement programs. We need a police force that reflects the County’s diversity to competently communicate with the different segments of our community.