HCPSS Reflection on Recent Events

Dear HCPSS Community:

We would like to take a moment to address the recent events in our nation, state, and county. As we grapple with the social-emotional impacts of a pandemic that may have forever changed our daily lives, we have witnessed another senseless killing of an African American, George Floyd. It is important that we acknowledge this event, reflect on the hurt and pain we are feeling and resolve together to do our part to eradicate hate, condemn violence and stand up to acts of racism within our own community.

We are outraged that incidents like these continue to occur and as educators, we know that these incidents have a profound impact on our children. As recently as last week there have been incidents where our students have made or posted racially charged remarks on social media. Our entire community suffers when even one individual feels their sense of safety and belonging is compromised.

At this moment, the word pandemic holds so much more meaning. We are facing a pandemic of racism, hate, and bias that threatens the freedom, peace and well-being of every person in our nation. During the COVID–19 pandemic, we have seen members of our community discriminated against and scapegoated. Now, amidst dealing with the uncertainty of a post-COVID world, we once again are met with the harsh reality that some in our society do not value the lives of African Americans. Make no mistake about it, what is happening in Minneapolis is part of a systemic issue that we need to talk about and address. What we are seeing across America is more than just a reaction to one incident; it is a culmination of years of dismissal, frustration, and anger.

The great writer James Baldwin said it best, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” The best way for us to get through this is to face it head on and talk about it. We must create opportunities and spaces for people to share and heal together. We are asking staff, families, and community members to talk openly about what is happening and to encourage our young people and adults to talk through this. These conversations can be hard, but they are necessary. We encourage you to review resources that we have provided on the HCPSS website, including how to talk to children about traumatic events.

If you are unsure where to start, reach out to community and faith-based organizations that may be able to help, or contact our Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Dr. Kevin Gilbert at Kevin_Gilbert@hcpss.org.

As a school system, we will continue to invest in diversity, equity, and inclusion resources, in order to address the structural racism in a measured and intentional way. Collectively, the Board of Education and superintendent have made a commitment to invest in restorative justice practices, mental health supports, anti-bullying resources, anti-bias and microaggressions training, and professional learning for leaders to operationalize equity in every building and office. Now more than ever, our commitment must not waver. Our school system, however, cannot do this alone and it is incumbent upon every individual in our community to take the initiative and have the tough, uncomfortable conversations that are necessary to address incivility and hate.

To our students, we want to say that if you are feeling unsafe, please reach out to a trusted adult—whether it is a parent, guardian, relative, teacher or administrator. We may not be together in our school buildings right now to provide you support in person but know that all of us are here to help you, protect you, and take care of your well-being first and foremost.

We ask that together, we use the widespread hurt, pain, and anger as a catalyst to create the type of society we desire for each and every one of our students. We pledge to do everything within our authority to eradicate acts of violence, hatred, and racism in the Howard County Public School System and create an environment where every student feels a sense of safety, belonging and inclusion.


Mavis Ellis
Chair, Board of Education

Michael J. Martirano

walking while black

I attended the screening of “Walking while black” by  A.J.Ali at Howard High School , Sunday afternoon,3/26.

It reminded us so many accidents and tragedies happened during the last several years especially in the African American communities. Baltimore definitely was at the front.

As the documentary said, love should be the solution. Mutual understanding, community policing are solutions.

There will be no solution without respect, said by US congressman Elijah Cummings.

The panelists are:

African Americans in Howard County (AAIHC) 2016 Maryland General Election Community Political Forum

They don’t have a website. So I will use their facebook page here for further notice: https://www.facebook.com/AACRHoward/

More Final Details for this Saturday’s AAIHC Political Forum

– each candidate will be given 30 second for opening remarks;

– each candidate will be given 1:30 seconds for each response; rebuttal depending on available time

– Red Card will be held up indicating that candidate has 30 seconds remaining in response

(Note: Moderator, at certain “intervals” will allow questions from audience.)

(Note: AAIHC’s Questions will cover a broad range of questions including local, state, national and global issues.

African Americans in Howard County (AAIHC)
2016 Maryland General Election Community Political Forum
in Partnership with the
Columbia (MD) Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

St. John Baptist Church

9055 Tamar Drive

Columbia, MD 21045

Saturday, October 8, 2016


9:15am Forum Opening Remarks – Rev. Robert A. F. Turner, President

African American Coalition of Howard County
African Americans in Howard County
“The Racial Wealth Divide and the Millennial Generation,” Dedrick Muhammad Dunbar, Williams College

9:20am Housekeeping Remarks/GET-OUT-THE –VOTE

Yvonne Howell, Co-Chairperson, Political Awareness and Involvement Committee
Columbia (MD) Alumnae Chapter
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

9:25am Questioning of Candidates for Howard County School Board

  • Coombs, Kirsten
  • Cutroneo, Vicky
  • Delmont-Small, Christina
  • Ellis, Mavis
  • Miller, Robert Wayne
  • Siddiqui, Janet

10:25am Questioning of Candidates for President of the United States

  • Clinton, Hillary (D)
  • Trump, Donald J. (R)
  • Johnson, Gary (Libertarian)
  • Stein, Jill (Green)

11:00am Questioning of Candidates for Maryland Senator United States Senate

  • Van Hollen, Chris (D)
  • Szeliga, Kathy (R)
  • Flowers, Margaret (Green)

12:00am Questioning of Candidates for United States House of Representatives

Maryland District 2

  • Ruppersberger, Dutch, C. A. (D)
  • McDonough, Pat (R)
  • Kasprzak, S. Kristin (Libertarian)

Maryland District 3

  • Sarbanes, John (D)
  • Plaster, Mark (R)
  • Eze, Nnabu (Green)

Maryland District 7

  • Cummings, Elijah (D)
  • Vaughn, Corrogan R. (R)
  • Hoenig, Myles, B (Green)

1:15pm Closing Remarks/Forum Ends Jennings, Ken, Operations
Vice President, AACHC, AAIHC

Join AACHC in GET-OUT-THE-VOTE activities of local organizations
Locations will be announced

Everyone, please remember to sign in. All Candidates, please use
Candidate’s Sign-in Sheet, so you may be introduced.