RESJAC Position Statement on Condemning Hate Speech

We, the Racial Equity and Social Justice Advisory Committee, condemn the hate speech directed at Councilmember Will Jawando during his recent meeting with Progressive Legacy. The particular terms hurled in this odious act of zoom-bombing are racist and have no place in Montgomery County. This disruption is yet another reminder of the work that remains in achieving full equity for all Montgomery County community members.

We are in full support of an investigation into this act of hate, and we also encourage proactive efforts to prevent this from happening again. Proactive measures such as robust moderation during virtual meetings, education about racism and ways community members can interrupt/disrupt hate speech if it appears in meetings, and transparency around how frequently these acts occur are some of the recommendations that can ensure all meeting attendees are treated with dignity and respect. In addition to greater vigilance, we must also remember that these issues require a systematic lens. Acts of racial aggression like these are acts of violence and we are committed to nonviolent civil discourse. Viewing any of these incidents in isolation prevents us from identifying patterns and attacking these issues at the root.

As a committee, we remain committed to partnering with Councilmember Jawando, the County Council, and community in safeguarding Montgomery County’s efforts to be an inclusive and welcoming place for community members of all backgrounds.