Columbia Association President/CEO Lakey Boyd has released an open letter to the Columbia community, urging people to take action toward making impactful and equitable changes.
In the message, Boyd references recent awards from Money magazine and WalletHub that name Columbia the Safest City in America, the no. 4 Best City for People with Disabilities (top city in Maryland) and no. 6 Best Place to Live (first in the state).
“All of these accolades are ones to be proud of and celebrated,” Boyd said. “But I do not believe these awards to be the full story of Columbia.”
Within two weeks of the latest recognition, CA’s partners at the Howard County Library System ― in collaboration with Morgan State University ― released Inequity Within: Issues of Inequity Across Communities. The report examines racial and ethnic disparities across the multiple systems of education, health, economics, housing and the legal system. The report goes on to say, “As one of the wealthiest, healthiest and most diverse communities in the state and the U.S., the perception or belief that racial inequity does not exist here can be a hindrance to advancing issues of equity within the county.”
“Both the accolades and the reality of inequities are true of Columbia today,” Boyd said. “In reflecting back to why Columbia was created, I hope you feel the responsibility and hear the call to connect, collaborate and take action to make impactful and equitable changes here.”
Boyd points out that evolution is built into the fabric of Columbia, and the community was created with clear intention and purpose. Still, she notes the need for widespread public input from all voices to improve CA and Columbia.
“I know I am not comfortable with Black, Hispanic, and Asian residents of Howard County consistently faring worse than White residents as is clearly laid out in the Inequity Within report. I know that I must be vigilant and connected to the community to ensure that I am able to find ways I can be part of impactful change, whether as a neighbor, parent, or worker,” Boyd said. “I commit to answering the call as the leader of CA. This organization is here to be a resource as you connect and engage with one another, to work toward that positive change in the future.
“Columbia’s founder James Rouse believed that ‘planning out from the needs of people produces a community.’ That is the kind of work we are doing more of at CA,” Boyd said. “I hope you can hear the urgent call to action and connection and leadership to improve our systems here.”
To access the full letter, visit www.columbiaassociation.org/blog/from-the-desk-of-the-president-doing-the-work-for-a-more-equitable-future.