PATH Update — June 2020

Dear friend,

Since our founding in 2006, PATH has asked two crucial questions at every turn:

Who is being left out of Howard County systems?
How can we reimagine our common public life as more equitable and inclusive? 
 

The pandemic we now face has exposed the crumbling architecture of the societal safety nets that protect our most vulnerable neighbors. Recent events across the country have reminded us that our systems were not built for everyone. In this moment, we grieve, and we feel angry. 

Your donation today will help us continue asking these questions. 

Who is being left out of Howard County systems right now? 

And we hear the answers come back, as always: Black Americans, low-income Latinx/Hispanic families, undocumented immigrants and those deemed the Other, the elderly at risk, and working class people. 

Your neighbors.  

Over the last three months, PATH staff and leaders raised urgent equity issues with:

  • County Executive and staff, for increased language translations of official communications, particularly those related to COVID-19, recognizing that many of Howard County’s most vulnerable residents do not read English. 
  • Howard County Board of Education and HCPSS Staff, challenging education leaders to develop remediation efforts that strategically target students in the achievement gap, with a focus on technology accessequipment, and training to utilize computer-based learning tools. 
  • Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services, asking for a strategic, coordinated response to address food scarcity, and the effects of reduced public transportation. 
  • Howard County General Hospital, seeking that testing protocols be more widely shared, and for supporting resources to equip local clergy to serve their diverse congregations. 
  • Howard County Council, asking that the budget for FY 21 not abandon support of affordable housing development in Downtown Columbia, a commitment the Council made to PATH in 2016.

The work of PATH matters now, more than ever before. PATH has led the County fight toward broad-based equity, diversity, and inclusion since 2005. We see inequity starkly across the nation right now, and our area is no exception. Our public systems are not equitable and do not serve all Howard County residents.  

During this unprecedented crisis, will you help us keep asking the questions?

Your generous donation of any size today can help PATH keep our seat at important public tables. 

We will continue to demand equity in all Howard County systems, now and into the next crucial years, making sure that County budget reductions do not continue to impinge on equity in the region, and that systems continue to serve ALL of Howard County.

Will you be part of this transformation? Will you reimagine Howard County systems for your neighbors with us?

Thank you for acting together in this important time,

Rev. Paige Getty, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, PATH co-chair
Rev. Tyrone Jones, First Baptist Church of Guilford, PATH co-chair
Rev. Robert Turner, St. John Baptist Church, Strategy Team
Rev. Mary Ka Kanahan, St. John United Church, Strategy Team


P.S. On April 30, PATH submitted testimony to the Board of Education. Our statement closed with this admonition:

We ask you to be explicitly aware that choices you make, responses you design, are geared first to those with English language facility, technological access, and higher incomes and education levels. This is the dominant culture of Howard County and the implicit bias. It is perpetuating barriers, to both survival and the ability to thrive. The only way to address this is to continually ask: Who is being left out? Why? How might we design solutions with a breadth of access, and multiple points of entry? 

Will you join us in reimagining Howard County systems and designing new solutions?

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