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.

County Civil Rights Bill

The County’s comprehensive civil rights bill, Bill No. 21-24, will take effect on June 8, 2024.  The law expands local anti-discrimination protections, and revises existing laws, accordingly.  It prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.   It further invests the Human Relations Commission with the authority to address complaints of discrimination in these areas.  Violations of the law can result in civil penalties of $5,000 per offense in public accommodations and employment, and up to $50,000 in housing.  If you have questions about the law, please contact the Anne Arundel County Office of Law or the Office of Equity & Human Rights.

Hate/Bias Portal

Hate Bias Incident Dashboard

The data provided on the dashboard is provided by the Anne Arundel County Police Department. The dashboard is updated biannually. For questions, contact ArundelStat@aacounty.org.

Community Warmline

The County Mental Health Agency provides services to those experiencing mental health or substance abuse emergencies. 

If you or someone you know are having an emergency, please contact the Community Warm Line at (410) 768-5522

The line is staffed 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

What is the Human Relations Commission

The Human Relations Commission is a part of Anne Arundel County government. It was created for the purpose of promoting and enhancing the ability of all  Anne Arundel County residents to pursue their lives free of discrimination. To accomplish this goal, the Human Relations Commission has been charged with the mandate to:

  • Enforce Anne Arundel County’s Fair Housing Law, and
  • Work towards the elimination of discrimination in Anne Arundel County.

To learn more about the Commission, please visit navigation links on the left side.

 

Meeting Information

The Human Relations Commission meets on the third Thursday of each month from 6:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Monthly Meetings are currently being held online via Zoom and/or Arundel TV.

Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://aacounty.zoom.us/j/84399088572?pwd=MzNRQnRaYXhVaUxTM0xUcE00V3EvZz09
Passcode: g9&PmdGd

If you have a question or concern regarding a HRC meeting or any other concern that you would like to bring to the attention of Anne Arundel County's Human Relations Commission, please contact the Human Relations Officer at (410) 222-1234, located at Heritage Complex, 2660 Riva Road, Annapolis, MD 21401.

Statements from the Commission

Greetings, County Executive Pittman & Chairman Smith,

Request For The County Executive And County Council To Issue An Apology For Slavery's Existence In
The County And Develop Reparations Legislation. As we are all aware, slavery existed in America from
1619 to 1865. Maryland was a slave state that fully participated in slavery and the slave trade. In the city
of Annapolis, there is a monument to Alex Haley and his ancestors who entered slavery through the port of Annapolis. It is time to recognize the ongoing impact of slavery on County residents and take action to address the harm that slavery did. 

The Anne Arundel Human Relations Commission respectfully requests that the County Executive and County Council issue an apology for the negative impact slavery had on those enslaved and their descendants. Furthermore, the Commission requests that the County Executive and County Council work together to develop Reparations legislation that would address the impacts of slavery on the descendants of slaves who are County residents. The Commission realizes that the County Executive and County Council may wish to create a Task Force to develop recommendations on what would constitute meaningful legislation. The Commission would welcome being part of this kind of effort.


Sincerely,

Eugene Peterson
Chair, Anne Arundel County Human Relations Commission

(June 29, 2023) The Anne Arundel County Human Relations Commission and the Annapolis Human Relations Commission roundly condemn the vandalism motivated by hate and bias that desecrated Fowler United Methodist and other Churches in Anne Arundel County. These kind of incidents are hate crimes that must be vigorously investigated by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. When identified the perpetrator or perpetrators of these actions should be vigorously prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Both Commissions call on all members of our community, especially civil rights activists and leaders, business leadership, religious leadership of all faiths and political leadership who are similarly appalled by these continuing hate fueled actions to join together in condemning these acts. We must make it clear that these heinous acts do not represent or reflect who we are. If we want Anne Arundel County to truly be the best place for all then hate crimes must be vigorously addressed and their perpetrators punished.

"The Anne Arundel Human Relations Commission and the Annapolis Human Relations Commission mourn for those in our beloved community that were deeply hurt by terrible hate inspired actions. Enough is enough! It's Past time to speak truth to power" (Eugene Peterson and Michael Keller Commission Chairs)

(May 1, 2023) The Anne Arundel County Human Relations Commission continues to be outraged by continuing hate based acts taken against Churches in Anne Arundel County. These kind of actions are hate crimes that must be vigorously investigated by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. When identified the perpetrator or perpetrators of these actions should be vigorously prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

The Commission calls on all members of our community, civil rights activists and leaders, business leadership, religious leadership of all faiths and political leadership who are similarly appalled by these continuing hate fueled actions to join together in condemning these acts. If we want Anne Arundel County to truly be the best place for all then hate crimes must be vigorously addressed and their perpetrators punished.

"As an individual I continue to morn for those in our beloved community that were deeply hurt by these terrible hate inspired actions. As Commission Chair I once again echo the feelings ofall Commissioners. Enough is enough! It's Past time to speak truth to power" (Eugene Peterson Commission Chair)

Once again we have seen another young African American die due to a senseless beating by
police officers. Tyre Nichols just wanted to get home; instead he died at the hands of those
sworn to protect him.
 
When George Floyd was murdered by the police we offered a number of concrete
steps (https://www.joincampaignzero.org/http://www.8cantwait.org/) that could be taken to help insure "the inhumane treatment of people at the hands of law enforcement" that resulted in the death of George Floyd never occur in Arundel County. In addition we continue to urge our elected officials to enact legislation that includes many of the reforms embodied in the Campaign Zero and 8 Can't Wait police initiatives:
 
  • 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.)
 
The Commission requests that a comprehensive background check, including a thorough psychological assessment to ascertain the applicant’s temperment and mental fitness to serve, be conducted on every applicant and that psychological assessments be conducted on incumbent officers every two years to determine their continued fitness for service.
 
While the Commission recognizes ²and supports any initiatives undertaken by the Anne Arundel County Police Department that incorporate the reforms described above, it nevertheless is the Commission’s position that passing legislation will help garner the public’s trust and confidence that every person who has an interaction with law enforcement in this County will be treated fairly and equitably, and without fear of imminent threat, danger, or death. We must ensure that what happened in the Floyd and Nichols cases, as well in numerous other cases around the country, never happens in Anne Arundel County. We must live up to our motto and ensure that Anne Arundel County truly is the Best Place for ALL.
 
In 2020 Baltimore County passed police reform legislation that incorporates many of the changes the Commission is calling to be enacted into law. We urge the County Council and the County Executive to take a look at what was done in Baltimore County and see if the same type of legislation can be enacted in Anne Arundel County.
 
We encourage all to continue to discuss meaningful police reforms. It is time to act. The Anne Arundel County Human Relations Commission is committed to working collaboratively with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in its important mission to serve and protect the citizenry in Anne Arundel County.

(July 14, 2022) The Anne Arundel County Human Relations Commission is outraged by the recent hate-based acts against churches in Anne Arundel County. These kinds of actions are hate crimes that must be vigorously investigated by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. When identified, the perpetrator(s) of these actions should be vigorously prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

The Commission calls on all members of our community, who are similarly appalled by these recent hate fueled actions, to join leaders in our County in condemning these acts. If we want Anne Arundel County to be the best place for all, then hate crimes must be vigorously addressed and their perpetrators punished.

"As an individual, I mourn for those in our beloved community that were deeply hurt by these terrible hate inspired actions. As Commission Chair, I echo the feelings of all Commissioners. Enough is enough!" (Eugene Peterson Commission, Chair)

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.

(April 29, 2021) The Board of Commissioners and Staff of the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights welcome the verdict in the trial into the responsibility for George Floyd’s death. We hope Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict brings Mr. Floyd’s family and friends a measure of peace. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It is our profound hope that the justice from this verdict will be a threat to injustice everywhere.
 
Illegal acts that infringe on the civil rights of our society should never be tolerated, especially by those in positions of public trust. Despite the wealth of evidence – the more than nine minutes of video recorded by bystanders, the testimony of officers against unnecessary force, and the testimony of medical professionals regarding the cause of death – it was uncertain that justice would be done. Sadly, justice and accountability under the law have not always been achieved.
 
This demonstrates there is much work needed to achieve true civil rights for our brothers and sisters of color. Bias and discrimination remain, on a systemic basis, across our society, including among members of law enforcement. As President Biden said in his April 20, 2021, remarks “systemic racism…is a stain our nation’s soul; the knee on the neck of justice for Black Americans; the profound fear and trauma, the pain, the exhaustion that Black and brown Americans experience every single day.” It is our further hope that this measure of accountability becomes a turning point in the work towards fixing the continued stain of systemic racism that led to Floyd’s death. We have a duty to work toward justice and equality for all people of color facing racism and discrimination.
 
The experiences people of color have due to systemic racism are not new, they are not unique, and they have not been hidden. The Black Lives Matter movement; the jarring murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd; and the resulting protests have forced America to acknowledge the disparities, bringing these discriminatory experiences into our collective conversations. We must move beyond awareness and talk, and start to take steps toward true equality.
 
As so aptly expressed by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” The verdict against the former officer’s illegal use of force perpetrated against George Floyd initiates an important step, but not the sole step, towards change. The Board hopes that the verdict is one step toward accountability, one step toward equality in the application of justice, one step toward addressing systemic racism and racial disparities. The proposed George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 is another potential step.
 
We look forward, not only as a Commission but also as a nation, to taking the next, overdue step and working toward creating an equitable place to live, work, and play for all.


Housing Accessibility Programs

Arundel Community Development Services is pleased to provide several resources that support Anne Arundel County residents living with disabilities, including two accessibility modification programs.  For more information, click on the links below.

 

What is Critical Race Theory

 


Anne Arundel County Police Department Presentation:

Threat Assessment The Changing Face of Hate