Montgomery County is putting itself under the racial microscope

Montgomery County, Maryland, plans to put itself under the racial equity lens in 2020 through a new policy which will have every area of the county asking a lot of questions before making any new decisions.

“We’re asking for people to start looking at the balance of where programs are. Who do we serve?” said County Executive Marc Elrich, in a video release of how the Racial Equity & Social Justice Policy will be put into action. The policy was approved at the end of 2019.

“Our money and where it goes — does it represent the population of Montgomery County? Are we providing equitable recreation services? Are we providing equitable housing services? Do we make the same kind of transportation decisions for one neighborhood that we might make for another neighborhood?”

He said the hope is to make county staff look closely at the funding of their programs, making sure the distribution of programs in the county matches the population.

“I think it’s really important to do this,” Elrich said, “We need to make sure that everybody has the same opportunities. It’s not enough to say we don’t have segregated schools anymore. Schools actually have to be equally good in all places in Montgomery County.”

Elrich said when you have poverty, which is institutional and leads to people having the disadvantages that come out of poverty, you’ve got to be sure that you’re implementing programs that try to offset some of those disadvantages.

“I think it’s going to be groundbreaking for this county. There are only a few places in the country who have gotten into this deeply. It’s really meaningful work and I feel its one of the most important things that we’re going to be doing,” Elrich said.

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