Don't omit Hispanics
From: Patricia Hatch
Thank you for Lan Nguyen's special report, "Tolerating Intolerance" (Howard County Sun, Sunday, April 19). You opened for examination a wide range of attitudes and experiences in race relations, especially among young people in Howard County.
Your statistical discussion defined the student minority population as "Blacks, Asians and American Indians," noting that that population increased from 17 percent in 1980 to more than 20 percent (close to 6,300 students) in 1990.
We wish that your otherwise excellent report had mentioned another rapidly growing minority population of Howard County: Hispanics.
U.S. Census Bureau statistics show that this population grew 149.2 percent in Howard County between 1980 and 1990, bringing the total to 3,600 persons. Howard County public school representatives told this office that the growth is seen predominantly at the elementary school level. The Howard County Health Department has many young Hispanic women coming to their clinics.
We understand how the omission might have occurred, as the term "Hispanic" incudes people who may describe their race as white, black or other. Nevertheless, for a more complete picture of the racial-ethnic complexity of Howard County, it would be useful to include this group, which is projected to represent 4.9 percent of the county population by the year 2000.
Our non-profit human service organization, FIRN (Foreign-born Information and Referral Network) provides job counseling and placement, volunteer tutors and interpreters, and information and referral for immigrants from every ethnic background. Last year we served 1,796 clients from 70 countries of origin. Many of our clients are from Mexico, Haiti, Vietnam, El Salvador, Korea, China, Russia, Taiwan, Jamaica, and Liberia, to name just a few. For more information on FIRN, call 992-1923.
We hope you will continue to print articles which encourage Howard countians to learn to appreciate the diversity among us, learn to live together in harmony, and stop tolerating intolerance.
This county is also fortunate to have a group known as Community-Building Howard County, which has for several years been bringing together people from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds for meetings aimed at appreciating and understanding each other. Community Building and the Howard Community College office of Continuing Education will be sponsoring several Prejudice Reduction and Conflict Resolution workshops in May and June. Your readers can call 964-4944 for more information.
(Patricia Hatz is the director and Barrie Klaits is assistant director of FIRN.)
William Waff endorsed
From: Carol Filipczak
An open letter to the County Council:
The board of directors of the HCCA [Howard County Citizen's Association] believes the appointees to the Howard County Board of Appeals should bring geographic balance to the board and should have demonstrated interest in countywide land use -- issues through participation in the public process.
Mr. William Waff has experience with and knowledge of countywide issues and, most importantly, represents the neglected southeastern part of the county.
Mr. Waff has served as vice president of HCCA and has demonstrated an interest in land-use issues by participating with a countywide perspective. He brings a practical, common-sense point of view to issues.
It is important that the Savage-North Laurel area be represented on the Board of Appeals. The southeastern area of the county has undergone substantial growth in the past few years and will continue to change in the near future.
Mr. Waff's experience in community activities, dating back to the Savage-North Laurel Master Plan Study Group and continuing with the Savage Community Association, provides background on the issues and familiarity with the area communities. This would add a valuable perspective to the Board of Appeals' deliberations. We urge the favorable consideration of Mr. William Waff for appointment to the Howard County Board of Appeals.
(Carol Filipczak is president of the Howard County Citizens Association.)
Praise for police
From: Daniel Schmidt
At a time when law enforcement agencies are coming under scrutiny, we'd like to offer public praise for the courtesy, professionalism and helpfulness of the Howard County Police Department.
On Saturday, May 2, our church sponsored the Countryside Classic 10K. This is the third year for this race, and, as with each previous outing, the local police were key to its success. They came early, carefully marked the course and made sure runners could compete safely. Comments from entrants after the race noted especially their efficiency.
Our thanks to the Howard County Police Department for their help and co-operation in making this community event possible.
(Daniel Schmidt is pastor of Countryside Fellowship Church.)
Lend a hand to recycling
From: Julia Stephens