Don't call lack of FiOS 'redlining'

May 05, 2010

Redlining is a strong word. For those of us who lived through times when African-Americans were denied opportunities, that word gets under our skin. This is why I see the careless use of it as misleading and irresponsible when discussing Verizon's FiOS not being in Baltimore City.

FiOS is in several Maryland towns where the population is largely diverse — such as Bowie, Capitol Heights, Dundalk, Essex, Glen Burnie, Milford Mills, Randallstown, Seat Pleasant and Woodlawn. In the limited number of urban centers where FiOS is available, several examples show extremely diverse populations in terms of race and socioeconomic conditions.

As president of the Greater Baltimore Urban League, I like many others also want FiOS in Baltimore City, but not so badly that I would attempt to damage the reputation of a company that for years has shown its commitment to Baltimore City in numerous ways. We should be, and must be, more constructive in working with Verizon to bring FiOS to Baltimore City.

J. Howard Henderson, Baltimore

The writer is president and chief executive officer of the Greater Baltimore Urban League Inc.

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