LA PLATA, Md. (March 12, 2009)—The Blue Ribbon Commission on Diversity and Inter-Group Relations, recently presented a series of recommendations on how to address issues of cultural diversity and inter-race relations to the Charles County Commissioners.
The Commissioners established the Commission in May 2007 with mandates to identify current or potential problems in the community and to recommend possible solutions to those problems. The Commissions recommendations are based on survey data and public input gathered since its inception.
The six recommendations are:
1. Establish a Charles County Human Relations Commission as a resource for discrimination allegations.
2. Establish a Diversity Officer position within Charles County Government that would be responsible for completing a comprehensive assessment and assisting with developing County-wide diversity initiatives. The Diversity Officer would also assist in educating County residents and employers on diversity issues.
3. Increase publicity and broaden awareness of existing mediation services available in Charles County.
4. Develop a Know Thy Neighbor Campaign to provide guidance and resources for community organizations, homeowner associations, and houses of worship to build relations with neighbors and foster mutual respect.
5. Educate and provide diversity training to residents, youth, and employers on cultural competency by working with diversity experts such as human resources directors, religious officials, and area employers.
6. Increase publicity and broaden awareness of existing youth services available in Charles County.
Commissioner Vice President Edith J. Patterson said she was pleased with the recommendations.
Addressing the broad issues of diversity and race relations in an area with such rapidly evolving demographics is not an easy task, but the Blue Ribbon Commission has made stellar progress in a short period of time. The group is committed to finding ways to improve the health and vibrancy of Charles County, said Patterson in a statement.
Stated future goals of the Commission include continuing to work with the Commissioners to determine specific goals and needs that are to be accomplished in the coming year. The Commission will also seek to expand the dialogue that has been established with local organizations to determine the best approaches for working through the effects of hate crimes in the county.
Twenty-five individuals, appointed by the Commissioners, comprise the Commission. New members were appointed on March 10 to replace those whose terms are set to expire.
Retired Congressman Major Owens (D-NY) will continue to serve as an advisor to the group.