Howard County Executive Calvin Ball marked the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month by announcing the newly formulated La Alianza Latina Workgroup (Latin Alliance) and recognizing Indigenous People’s Day in place of Columbus Day.
“Diversity is a hallmark of Howard County, and our Latino community serves a vital role in contributing to the cultural vibrancy that makes our County one of the most attractive locations to live, work and play in the country,” said Ball. “But for many of our new residents – and those who have lived in Howard County for years – certain services and programs seem out of reach. La Alianza Latina Workgroup will not only provide a seat at the table, but access to government to implement long-lasting change. Additionally, we’re pleased to take another step to rectify and recognize the impact of Native Americans and Indigenous people whose land we occupy today. Celebrating Indigenous People’s Day does not absolve us from our history, but we hope that it sets a tone and opens up discussions on the importance of restorative practices throughout our government and our community.”
La Alianza will be comprised of 16 Howard County residents, representing backgrounds throughout Central and South America. The workgroup will address many of the concerns and struggles of the Latino and immigrant community – such as how to access community resources, support for starting a business or buying a home, health disparities and outcomes, and ensuring there is adequate support for young Latinos in Howard County schools.
“La Alianza Latina will further the County’s commitment to equity and inclusion and will allow the Latino community to know their voices matter and are being heard. This workgroup will serve as the bridge between the Latino community and County Administration and the Office of Human Rights,” said Yolanda Sonnier, administrator, Office of Human Rights. “Indigenous People’s Day recognizes and affirms the legacy and contributions of Indigenous people here in Howard County and throughout this Country. This change will be an opportunity to also discuss history which will impact our future.”
For more information about the workgroup and/or to get into contact with them, email [email protected].
Ball also announced Howard County will officially observe Indigenous People’s Day in place of Columbus Day this year on Oct. 12 and on the same date moving forward.