The Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice in Montgomery County is devoted to comprehending and tackling the disparities experienced by communities of color and low-income communities. To do this, they provide training, technical assistance, and tools to all county departments and staff. Data can only partially help us understand these disparities, so it is essential to focus on the experiences lived by members of these communities. We must analyze history, systems, and institutions to understand how disproportionality exists in all sectors and subject areas.
Taking a systemic approach to our analysis is essential, as it allows us to move away from the myth that individual people are the problem. People are not the problem; it is the systems and institutions (including government) and the policies and practices that have created, perpetuated, and maintained them that lead to these results. Recently, Montgomery County election officials identified about 100 uncounted provisional ballots just before they were due to certify the results of the Democratic primary race between current county executive Marc Elrich and Potomac businessman David Blair. When auditing the elections, officials “were unable to resolve a discrepancy between the number of provisional ballots accepted and the number of ballots scanned”. This race was eventually won by Elrich by a mere 32 votes. In addition, a report by the inspector general of the Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission revealed that Casey Anderson, the former president of the County Planning Board, had an entire bar of alcoholic beverages in his office, which violated commission policy.
This was an important decision made by Montgomery County officials that had a direct impact on their policies. These are just some of the most critical political decisions made by Montgomery County officials recently. It is evident that they are devoted to understanding and addressing disparities experienced by communities of color and low-income communities. They are also committed to taking a systemic approach to their analysis in order to move away from the myth that individual people are the problem.