Continuing the fight for rights and opportunities

Like many of you, my last few days have been consumed by a wide range of emotions. I am saddened by the violence that is flaring up across the country. I am angry that people of color continue to be targeted for assault by a police force that should be protecting them. I am tired of the seemingly endless task of convincing people that communities of color are not able to operate with the same freedoms white communities have.

Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes.

Despite this negativity though, I believe strongly that we must not be driven by the evils that hound us, but by the hope those evils will be overcome, and that a brighter future is around the comer if we continue to fight.

I am so inspired by the positive voices for change I hear everyday here in Maryland and across the country. They truly are the inheritors of Dr. Martin Luther King’ s legacy                                                                      

As a representative for the cities of Cambridge and Salisbury, I cannot help but be reminded of the riots that rocked the city in 1967. Like the past few days, what began as peaceful protests for equality escalated into violent exchanges:. There are many similarities between those tumultuous summer months and today.

We must not forget the lessons our mothers and fathers learned. Violent retaliation only led to the destruction of both white- and black-owned homes and businesses. It was peaceful organizers such as Gloria Richardson who brought about lasting change in Cambridge, and I believe there is a Gloria out there today who will bring us one step closer.

As legislators, it is our responsibility to assist the organizers who are on the ground fighting for the rights and safety of our community. That is why on Saturday, May 31, House Speaker Adrienne Jones created the Police Accountability Workgroup, led by Vice Chairman of Judiciary Committee Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary. This group is poised to review policies and procedures related to the investigations of police misconduct, including Maryland’s Law Enforcement Bill of Rights statute.

I am pleased to be a part of this group and look forward to taking the experiences and suggestions of the citizens and law enforcement to the decision-making table with rne to create lasting change.

Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes represents District 37A in the Maryland General Assembly and is Speaker Pro Tempore of the House of Delegates.

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