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Human Relations Commission

The Human Relations Commission works to promote the fair and equal treatment of all Anne Arundel County residents and to counteract racism, discrimination, intolerance and hate/bias incidents in the County.

 
 

In the Spotlight

Working Together for Equality

Powers and Duties:
 
Pursuant to the authority granted to the Commission under Article 3, Title 5A, §3-5A-108 of the County Code and in furtherance of its mission, the Commission may:
  • Receive, mediate, and adjudicate complaints of discrimination in housing;
  • Initiate and investigate matters relating to discrimination in housing;
  • Provide mediation services;
  • Conduct public hearings;
  • Provide training and seminars in human relations;
  • Conduct educational programs;
  • Collect, research, assemble, analyze, and disseminate data and educational materials to assist in the elimination of discrimination;
  • Make recommendations to the County Executive, the County Council, and County departments and offices on matters involving human relations, including housing discrimination, prejudice, and intergroup relations;
  • Suggest proposed legislation to the County Executive or the County Council; and
  • Cooperate with federal, state, and local commissions, agencies, organizations, and groups.

County Executive Pittman Announces New Financial Protections 

  • Statement from the Human Relations Commission

    The members of the Anne Arundel County Human Relations Commission stand in solidarity against racism, bigotry, inequality, and the inhumane treatment of people at the hands of law enforcement. As the video of the brutal murder of Mr. George Floyd played over and over again on the various news outlets and social media platforms, our mission “…to promote the fair and equal treatment of all Anne Arundel County residents and to counteract racism, discrimination, intolerance, and hate/bias…” was very present and resonated more than ever. Once again, an unarmed Black man was killed by the very people who swore to serve and protect. What seemingly has become all too commonplace struck something deep within, not only across this country but throughout the world, as Mr. Floyd uttered his last words “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.

    For 400 years, Black people in America have suffocated under the oppression of a system that has, and continues to, view them as less than, not deserving of dignity and respect, for no other reason than the color of their skin. Black communities have suffered from systemic racism, a pandemic, that has manifested in poverty; health disparities; unfair housing; higher than average unemployment; under-employment; educational inequities; and unequal treatment by the criminal justice system, including law enforcement. The stress of not knowing if loved ones will return home at night or the fear of being pulled over just for “driving while Black,” too afraid to flinch or look the officer in the eyes, takes a toll on one’s mental health and has a lasting negative impact on one’s psyche. The effects on generations to come are immeasurable. The harms caused by systemic racism are deep and cannot be fully understood by those who have not experienced them.

    For more than a week, people from all walks of life, all races and ethnicities, and all socio-economic backgrounds have joined together in protest police brutality specifically and racism generally. The Human Relations Commission joins them in protest of the proliferation of hate and the pandemic of racism. We must work together to develop a vaccine because the band aids can no longer contain the puss of the effects of racism that has festered for centuries. We must build bridges and tear down walls. Those who have been elected or appointed to serve must be held accountable to serving all the people, fairly and equitably. There must be transparency if trust is to be effectuated. There must be honest communication where tough conversations are held. There must be follow-through with the implementation of programs and systems that result in real change.

    To that end, the Human Relations Commission calls on the Anne Arundel County Police Department to do the following:

    • Clearly define, and post on its website, the process for citizens to report alleged abuse and/or harassment and abuse of power by its officers’
    • Increase the number of citizens on the death review board, reflective of the demographics of the community, to investigate officer-involved deaths;
    • Provide training in micro-inequities and micro-aggressions for all officers; and,
    • Expedite the use of body-worn cameras for all officers.
    • Explore the use of Citizen Review Boards in other jurisdictions, gleaning best practices to determine how creating a board in Anne Arundel County can be accomplished.

    In addition, the Human Relations Commission calls on County Executive Pittman to do the following:

    • Expand the authority of the Commission to investigate and hold hearings on other forms of discrimination beyond housing discrimination;
    • Declare racism a public health emergency; and,
    • Sanction a racial attitude survey.
    • Work with the Anne Arundel County Police Department to implement Campaign Zero’s 8 Can’t Wait initiatives www.joincampaignzero.org and www.8cantwait.org :
      • Ban chokeholds and strangleholds (Allowing officers to choke or strangle civilians, in many cases where less lethal force could be used instead, results in the unnecessary death or serious injury of civilians.)
      • Require de-escalation (Require officers to de-escalate situations, where possible, by communication with subjects, maintaining distance, and otherwise eliminating the need to use force.)
      • Require warning before shooting (Require officers to give a verbal warning, when possible, before shooting at a civilian.)
      • Exhaust all other means before shooting (Require officers to exhaust all other reasonable means before resorting to deadly force.)
      • Duty to intervene (Require officers to intervene and stop excessive force used by other officers and report these incidents immediately to a supervisor.)
      • Ban shooting at moving vehicles (Restrict officers from shooting at moving vehicles, which is regarded as a particularly dangerous and ineffective tactic.)
      • Require use of force continuum (Develop a Force Continuum that limits the types of force and/or weapons that can be used to respond to specific types of resistance.)
      • Require comprehensive reporting (Require officers to report each time they use force or threaten to use force against civilians.)
    • We realize that the road before us is not an easy one, but it is necessary. We are committed to working collaboratively to bring to the forefront the long-term effects of racism and discrimination and to working toward lasting change so that Anne Arundel County will truly be the Best Place for All.

 

Meeting Information

The eleven-member commission meets on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at the Heritage Complex, 2660 Riva Road, Annapolis, MD 21401.

 
 

Human Relations Commission Meetings

Full Calendar